Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, May 19, 2008

National Museum of Crime and Punishment

Washington D.C.’s newest tourist attraction is the National Museum of Crime and Punishment. Most of the exhibits are experiential; interactive. Visitors can simulate committing a crime. Or they can “be” a police officer on a high-speed chase.

They can “perform” an autopsy on a murder victim. Or they can be “sentenced” for their crime and simulate being inside a prison cell.

This hands-on interactive approach is supposed to attract Generation Y customers. A local tourism studies professor said: “Look at the younger generations — they’re all experience-oriented. If it’s not interactive, I can’t see it’s going to appeal to them.”

It’ll be interesting to see how accurate these “crime” and “punishment” features are. Maybe it’ll be just like those TV cop shows where the police ignore all the prostitutes and drug users because they’re looking for a murderer. Or maybe:

YOU have been convicted of having consensual sex with a girl who’s under eighteen. You are hereby sentenced to ten years in prison.

YOU have been found guilty of stealing billions of dollars from your customers and employees. Thousands of your employees have lost their pensions because of you. Now hold out your wrist — it’s going to get slapped.

YOU have just been pulled over for a minor traffic violation, and the arresting officer has found a small amount of marijuana in your glove compartment. Your car is being confiscated, but that won’t matter anyway since you’re going to jail for fifteen years.

Your company is manufacturing products which have caused immeasurable death and tragedy. Your punishment: next year’s bonus package will be even larger. Keep up the good work.

cross-posted at Bring It On!



Blogger Lew Scannon said...

The only two career options left in the future-cop or criminal.

May 19, 2008 at 7:16 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lew: True, as long as it's white collar crime.

May 19, 2008 at 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well we've got to capitalize on the "rehabilitation" complex somehow. Pretty soon, we'll have 5 out of 100 every American in prison so why not give a preview of what they might experience in the near future (2months).

Sidenote: I was arrested this weekend for not paying a $2 fare. I was surrounded by 6 white cops in less than a minute (i'm black) and i felt like i had just committed murder and was about to get a serious beating. Not a good feeling.

May 19, 2008 at 10:07 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Anonymous: Good point. Since so many of us have a chance of being jailed at some point, we might as well find out what it's like.

Sorry to hear about your arrest incident. Too bad you aren't a CEO who ripped off thousands of employees and customers. They would've rolled out the red carpet for you.

May 19, 2008 at 11:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always forget to sign but the
post above was mine.


May 20, 2008 at 12:44 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Tom, you should know better than to trust the French.

May 20, 2008 at 8:17 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Randal: What, the French? Those snail-eating wine-sipping pussies...

May 20, 2008 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Mile High Pixie said...

My fear about showing kids what it's like to be the "officer" is that it may encourage recreation of the Stanford Prison Experiment by Philip Zimbardo: http://www.prisonexp.org/

Hey kids! Want to feel superior to other creatures and treat fellow humans like they're paramecia? Be a prison guard for a few minutes!

May 20, 2008 at 6:35 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mile High Pixie: Yeah, I remember that study. It made sense too. It explains how prison guards and police officers can become dehumanized. Most of us have our inner Charles Graner that can be unleashed under certain circumstances.

May 20, 2008 at 6:55 PM  
Anonymous S,W, Anderson said...

I question the wisdom of giving youthful visitors to this thing options for committing a crime, doing an autopsy or being a prisoner.

The concern about the first should be obvious. The second is a ready-made treat for sick puppies. The third stokes what in some segments of society has become a prison-cool or even prison chic mentality, as if you're nobody until you've done hard time.

Tom, your rap on big-money white-collar criminals is too true to be funny. I've wondered if the infamous Dennis Kozlowski(sp?) (Tyco) had been disappeared by brand-X jet to a stinking cell in a central-Asian prison for an indefinite period, then allowed to come back and tell about his experience, if it would've had a sobering effect on CEO types just getting started with ripping off others for fun and obscene profit.

By the same token, I question the justice of sending so many of these characters to Club Fed, which appears to be more of a minor inconvenience, a time out, than serving time in prison.

May 20, 2008 at 9:47 PM  
Anonymous S,W, Anderson said...

Jo, I hope the six cops didn't start screaming "get on the ground" like madmen.

Six cops, over a $2 fare, and they had nothing more important to do. Incredible. Would I be right in guessing New York City?

May 20, 2008 at 9:52 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: True, it's hard to tell what the psychological effects of these exhibits will be, or how smart this whole thing is. It sounds interesting, but it could backfire for the reasons you were describing.

I agree that these corporate Enron-type thieves should be rendered to a 3rd world country for some nightmare prison experiences. I have no idea whether it would have any deterrent effect, but as long as our country is using this kind of treatment for any criminals, those crooked CEOs are the ones who deserve it the most.

May 20, 2008 at 10:36 PM  
Blogger anna said...

You outta see how crooked the justice system is down in bum fuck Alabama. Scarrrrry, man.

May 21, 2008 at 6:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes S,W, I live in NYC. I'm still in awe how fast they showed up and led me away to the station.


May 21, 2008 at 8:10 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Anna: I wouldn't doubt it. I'm sure the double standards are more blatant in the south and in rural areas.

May 21, 2008 at 10:59 AM  

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