Can you imagine a country where murder never occurs? It would be almost paradise if you take away all the other crimes such as robbery, rape, etc. Nevertheless, the absence of murder wouldn’t be because human beings have moved on from it, but it would be due to it being stopped before it even occurs. Sounds crazy right? Well that was the premise of the movie Minority Report (2002) where in the futuristic Washington D.C. the police have a system that allows them to stop murders before it happened by accurate predictions.
The flaw in the system aka the Precogs which alludes to our present day justice system is the fact that sometimes the predictions weren’t accurate. No one knew about this flaw, and it happened rarely, but it did occur. What happened was sometimes the wrong person would get arrested for the crime. It would usually be the victim of the crime rather the suspect. I want you to take in the fact that in the movie the people never committed premeditated murder. In other words, all the murders that the cops were stopping were committed on impulse, so a person gets upset on the spot and goes berserk. This is important because regardless of who the cops would arrest, either victim or suspect, they stopped a murder.
How this works is because for example if Ken is at a table with Susan, and for some reason she makes him mad. At that moment, Ken decides to kill Susan. It isn’t premeditated, he didn’t plan it out for week for he would have been instantly arrested after he thinks about the murder (for the police would be alerted). What would happen is Ken would pick up the knife and kill Susan on the spot because of his rage. However, the police come right before it happens and arrest Ken, preventing the murder from ever happening. But now in some cases, something different happens. The police accidentally get the names of the victims and suspects switched (it’s not the police fault, it’s the nature of the system), so when they arrive on the scene they arrest Susan instead of Ken.
Although the police would arrest Susan who wasn’t going to commit the murder anyways, a murder wouldn’t happen even if Ken (the would be murderer) is free. The reason for this is because it goes back to how none of the murders are premeditated. There aren’t any serial killers running around who do it for fun; all the murders are on impulse and rage. For that reason, since Susan isn’t in the room with Ken to make him mad, Ken doesn’t feel the need to commit the murder. He goes back to his daily life, never being provoked by Susan for she is in jail. It’s kind of like if a boy named Pete gets angry at a boy named David for stepping on his shoes at lunch. Angry Pete decides to rush over and fight David. However David disappears. Now since David is gone, Pete although is angry at David, can’t get into a fight because David is gone. In the case of Minority Report, it really doesn’t matter if they get the actually would be murderer, as long as they get someone, they’re job is done and a crime is prevented.
Does that sound familiar? Doesn’t matter if the right person is put away as long as someone is put away even if it is wasn’t the person who committed the crime, the job of the law enforcers are done. Some would argue that is the case for the U.S. justice system. In cases where people take plea deals, put the blame on their other friends for a lesser sentence, etc. In those cases it’s possible that the person who committed the crime isn’t put away or doesn’t get the sentence they deserve. It’s rather that someone else gets it. For example, if two friends are exchanging drugs and money, and they get caught. The friend with the drugs takes a plea deal and lies, saying that the friend with the money was the one who had the drugs. At the end, the friend who had the money gets a longer sentence while the friend with the drugs either gets a lesser sentence or many not even serve time. The prosecutors don’t care as long as they put someone away. Nevertheless, in this case, the person who gets away may still commit their crimes because it’s not Minority Report, it’s real life.