Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Police Cause Crime

And the evidence can be found in the strangest of places….

Gilligan’s Island was a 1960s television comedy in the United States.  The show ran for three seasons; it had a fairly basic storyline:

The two-man crew of the charter boat S. S. Minnow and five passengers on a "three-hour tour" from Honolulu run into a tropical storm and are shipwrecked on an uncharted island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

The shipwrecked castaways want to leave the remote island, and various opportunities present themselves. They typically fail owing to some bumbling error committed by Gilligan [the first-mate of the S.S. Minnow] (with the exception of "The Big Gold Strike", where everyone except Gilligan is responsible for their failed escape). Sometimes this would result in his saving the others from some unforeseen flaw in their plan.

The castaways have made it through almost two-and-a-half seasons without government of any kind – they lived in a state of anarchy.  No president, no military, no police, no jails.  They managed their affairs as you might expect – amongst them.

With no one in command, they always found ways to work things out – even on the countless occasions that Gilligan cost them a chance at rescue, there were no calls for any significant punishment, imprisonment, three-strikes-you’re-out, or the death penalty.  Typical of the punishment doled out – Gilligan once had to write “SOS” 100 times. 

Despite numerous attacks by cannibals from neighboring islands, never once did they form a standing army.

Sadly, they decided this condition of peaceful anarchy had to end.

The castaways decide to establish law and order on the island, with the Skipper as the island Sheriff and Gilligan as his deputy.

More precisely, they already had law and order on the island; what they decided to do was to give a couple of their compatriots a badge (well, a starfish in this case). 

It seems a few of the castaways were playing with a gun, loaded with blanks.  When a shot rang out, a discussion was held between the Captain and one of the passengers – “the professor.”  The two of them decide that the firing of the blank was a sign – a sign that their island with all of seven inhabitants needed formal law and order.

Leave it to a captain (representing military order) and a professor (representing academia and the intellectual class) to come to, and agree to, such a decision.

In any case, they decide that Gilligan would be the deputy; just as in the real world, he takes his job a bit too seriously:

Unfortunately Deputy Gilligan takes his new responsibility too seriously, and, as a result, everyone ends up in jail...including, eventually, himself!

Well, that last detail never happens in the real world…but as to suddenly turning previously cordial and friendly compatriots into criminals?  This is what Gilligan the deputy, like his real world counterparts, does best.

Gilligan decides, one at a time, that each inhabitant of this previously self-governing community has violated some crime – actions that previously were either unnoticed or handled informally.  One by one, he throws them in jail (they never had need for a jail before, either – if you build it they will come).

All-in-all a humorous and cute portrayal of a real world nightmare – police causing crime.


  1. Oh I love this Gilligan's Island analogy. Making this one your Lions contribution- excellent!

  2. Your analogy is more a case that a Libertarian society would have no concept of crime except what those involved think it is. So if a group is beating someone up? Leave them be it's not your problem. Besides creating a law and order system would only makes things worse.

  3. Very nice, I'm sure that nearly all of us who read this like it. With the exception, of course, of Gil (ligan).