Poll: For what crime(s) would you turn in a loved one?

I voted yes on violent crimes like assault, kidnapping, murder, but no on treason and espionage partly because I don’t think the terms have much meaning in America any more. If treason is giving nukes to North Korea, well then yeah, we need to nip that in the bud, but if treason means violating one of the more obscure points of the Patriot Act, I probably do that a couple times a day.

Well, I’ve got my usual "if"s and "unless"es in play—y’know, like “I’d turn somebody in who beat up an old lady for fun; but someone tracking down and killing an escaped Nazi mass-murderer probably gets a pass.”

Likewise, even with treason and espionage—conceivably, there are a few hypothetical examples, if my country was really in the wrong (like if the friend was hiding Jews from the secret police. Something like that), that I could excuse; but for most instances, no, probably not.

I voted for domestic violence against child (I would assume that those would be our children, since I’m married with children), major assault, murder and serial murders.
The domestic violence against child offence would have to be a repeatable offence though, not just the one time. Unless the domestic violence was something really horrific like holding their face to a hot plate.

Honestly, treason and espionage don’t seem like a big deal to me. Suppose I am a citizen of country X engaged in a war against country Y. If someone in country Y is committing treason and giving me their secrets, they’re supposed to be a good guy, but if someone on my side does the same, they’re a criminal? Doesn’t make much sense really.

I would not turn in my wife or son for any crime, I realize how that makes me look but I’m going for honesty here.

For the rest of my family I would not even consider it for anything less than serial rapes or murders.

I voted for all of them, I’m a hard case.

I was not going to vote for parking violations, then it occured to me that many people abuse handicapped parking rules. Which should be a hanging offense.

Well, I think that as a citizen of X, assuming it is a free country worthy of your loyalty, you should be loyal to it. People can and do die as a result of treason and espionage: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Hanssen

I’m going to answer exactly semantically what you asked - about loved ones, not about relatives (which is a big difference) - and that I would never turn in a loved one because I can’t imagine a loved one committing a serious crime and not turning themselves in. By serious, I mean victim crimes, like murder, or even dangerous things, like drunk driving or spousal abuse. The people I love are generally good people who know the difference between right and wrong, and thus consciously don’t committ crimes, and if accidentally doing wrong, would own up to it.

Now, if we’re talking relatives instead, it would depend on the seriousness of the crime (murder vs. parking violation - although I have a hard time imaging any relative as murderer. Not because they’re all morally good, but because it’s not their style); the degree of relation (second cousin vs. sibling); and how much I like that person and consider them a generally good person (that is, do I need to turn them in because they will never get why their act was wrong, or just have a talk with them so they think straight?)

I’m from Germany.

I can’t relate to the Unabomber case because while some of my relatives have sociopathic attitudes and tendencies, outright crime is not their style. And the problem of the guilt of deskworkers is too big to pin on one person.

My mother once caught a feral cat and tried to drown it. It escaped. I was so angry that I immediately went to contact the rspca. She talked me out of it but I came very close. so for an other you could putt animal cruelty.

First of all, what country are YOU from and why do you want to know?

Depending on the circumstances, if a loved one wreaked murder and mayhem in our circle and I could follow their (even fractured) line of reasoning, I’d probably give them free room and board for the next forty years or so. (Some people are supremely unreasonable and can’t be contained in any other way and have to be stopped by whatever means.)

But you brought up the Unibomber, who hurt innocent people. THAT person would have to go down. People have their own issues, yeah, but you don’t take it out on society at large. Even if I loved someone, if I really thought they were “the person” doing harm to others, I’d be calling 911 and standing out in the street flagging the authorities into the right driveway.


Im Dutch, and checked the rape and DV boxes,
the Murder ones depends on who the victim is…
I might turn in someone for the other crimes if I thought that could stop them getting into more trouble…

I was raised that way too, and I do feel a preference for my country of origin. But I firmly believe that, in the not-too-far future, nationalism or patriotism will come to be seen as an old-fashioned idea.

However, traitors (obviously not Robert Hanssen) could be motivated by the desire to prevent other people from dying or to prevent injustice, e.g. Bradley Manning.

Everything listed in the poll is a crime, so espionage in this context would be spying on your country, and treason would mean betraying your country.

I said in post #8 that I’m from the U.S. I asked for people to identify their countries because I thought it might be interesting to see if there’s any pattern to responses from Dopers from different countries.

Family ties are more important to me than the social contract. I would never, ever turn in a loved one, unless I thought that by turning them in it would benefit them.

Of course, that’s reward enough for any deed.

But is there any cash that just happens to go along with that feeling as well? You know, just as a “We know you’re not doing this for the money, but take this honorarium just for our sake” little purse somewhere?

For the poll, I put rape (for which obviously there’s never an excuse) and domestic violence. Most others I’d have to take on a case-by-case basis, murder and theft for example both having lots of particulars that are important (such as “was it someone who needed killin’?” and “was it to keep from starving”). Also depends on how long ago it was and how much proof I had/how positive I was.

What if they were endangering others (including, but not necessarily, another loved one)?

I’m a bit surprised that only 83% of the respondents would turn someone in for child rape.

Really? If you knew a relative raped a kid you’d do nothing? That’s fucking sick. No wonder pedophiles can abuse family members for so long.

I checked almost all of them and voted before reading the OP. I would probably vote differently if I’d read the post first. My assumption was that I either witnessed these crimes personally, or my loved one had told me about it. I don’t believe either of those was the case for the Unabomber’s brother. He had no confession, no actual evidence at all, just the fact the the published manifesto sounded like some of his brother’s rantings about his obsession.

If that was all I had to go on, I don’t think I would turn in a loved one for anything, though I would probably be more alert to any other evidence that might pop up.

OTOH, I don’t have any close relatives who I believe are genuinely insane, and if I did it might change my thinking

Yup. I can somewhat understand people who say they wouldn’t want to turn in a loved one for most of the crimes on that list, even if I might depending on the context and specifics of the crime. But those who said they wouldn’t turn someone in for child rape or serial murder seriously boggle my mind.

Serial killer? Really? Your loved one could be killing multiple innocent people and most likely continue doing so in the future, and you wouldn’t do anything about it?

How sure are you about the crime in the first place? Did you walk in on while your loved one was raping a woman / molesting a child/ beating their spouse/ murdering (not only killing) somebody in cold blood/ etc.? And walking in on a situation can lead to misunderstanding because “it’s not what it looks like”. Videos can be edited to create false impressions.

In real life, things aren’t clear cut like on TV.

Or did you read something in the paper and think “that sounds like my loved one”?

Because I have a hard time imaging a loved one doing anything serious like that in full intention.

It’s so depressingly predictable that more would report “child rape” than “serial murders”.