I wrote part 1 because I feel that it requires a bit of thinking before I can actually write something that even remotely resembles analysis.
I had previously written a post about the death penalty, and the effectiveness of the punishments in the legal system. Somehow, this morning, I found myself thinking back to it, and since I was eating chicken at the time, a spark suddenly ignited the locomotive of my train of thought (yes, I'm bad at metaphors, I know, but at least I try).
Every Indonesian knows what happens to maling ayam, or chicken thieves, when the local villagers catch them. What occurs is vigilante justice at its finest, with the thieves usually being beaten to a pulp, or in some cases even burned alive.
One of the main shortcomings of the legal system, especially in developing countries, which characteristically lack discipline and structure in their governmental support systems, is that it is slow and generally incompetent, because it works under presumption of innocence, where it is the burden of the prosecutor to prove, without leaving a reasonable doubt, that the crime was indeed committed by the defendant. This requires the culprit to be caught (which is by no means a 100% certainty), the evidence to be collected (which is also not 100% successful), and the jury to be convinced (which is probably the hardest part). This leaves a lot of room for the culprits to escape the long arms of the law, and thus the deterrent effect that the legal system has on crime is very limited, especially considering all the other factors (for more detail, read my death penalty post which I linked to in the beginning of this post).
How, then, does the vigilante mentality of "beat first, ask questions later" which, more often than not, results in "kill first, ask questions later" affect crime? It would be an interesting subject to analyze, and would answer a lot of questions and provide a lot of insight into the incentives and disincentives governing crime.