B List: Crime is On Your Side, Yes It Is
Crime is perennially at the top of polls regarding what voters worry about the most. With the upsurge in terrorism, the advent of cyber-crime, and organized crime taking on a new international flavor, people are not only concerned about crime, but they seem to have new crimes to worry about all the time. But amongst all the darkness, there is a ray of light and hope: recently disclosed reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation reveal that while criminals are constantly on the prowl for new activities, some crimes have been so successfully prosecuted that they’ve made what the FBI is calling the ‘extinct crimes list’. Here are just a few.
1. REGICIDE. King-killing was already on the decline, with a mere eight in the entire 20th century; that trend has continued into the 21st, with only King Birenda of Nepal slipping through the cracks. Thanks to law enforcement vigilance, royalty has never been more safe.
2. IMPRESSMENT. As the pressing of American sailors into service of the British Royal Navy was a major factor in the tensions leading up to the War of 1812, the crime of forcing people to serve against their will in the armed forces may stand as the only one ever eliminated by a war.
3. SIMONY. Similarly, the buying and selling of indulgences, having been invented by the Catholic Church, remains the sole sin ever completely eradicated by the Catholic Church. Good lookin’ out, Popes.
4. HIGHWAY ROBBERY. Although largely eliminated in its armed-horseman-robbing-coachmen-of-their-goods variety, it remains a persistent problem in its paying-three-bucks-for-a-jumbo-Slim-Jim-at-a-Flying-V-station variety.
5. LÈSE MAJESTÉ. This crime disappeared completely along with the death of the last remaining public official with a sense of decency, somewhere around 1946.
6. RAPE. Though it’s still considered a problem in many Third World nations, our Republican Party is working hard to make sure it’s not a big deal here in America anymore.
7. SLAVE ABUSE. Similarly, by abolishing slavery, Abraham Lincoln single-handedly wiped out the grim perils of slave abuse, and turned it into worker abuse, which is punishable by a fine at worst. The re-emergence of slavery in the form of the sex trade doesn’t count because you can’t rape a whore.
8. MISPRISION, PRAMUNIRE FACIAS & CRIMINAL CONVERSION. All three of these were stricken from the criminal codes when, during a 1979 FBI conference, no one could adequately explain what any of them were.
9. DRESSING UP IN A BLACK CLOAK AND HAT, GROWING A HANDLEBAR MUSTACHE, AND TYING A YOUNG WOMAN TO TRAIN TRACKS. This is still technically illegal, but thanks largely to a shrinking dependence on commuter rail travel, it is almost never seen.
10. CHICKEN THEFT. Thanks to tireless efforts by the law enforcement community to get the word out that chickens are in great supply and that there is, consequently, no market whatsoever for black market chickens, chicken theft rates are down an astonishing 280,000% in this century.