Their names are Bonnie & Clyde, and they Bonnie & Clyde When does a crime become an institution?

Often when stood at a cashpoints/ATMs in the dark with a sufficient number of people around me whom the media has at some point told me to fear, I find myself overly concerned with the possibility of a cashpoint mugging.

It dawns on me with odd clarity that it is just that- “A Cashpoint Mugging” of which I’m afraid, not someone opportunistically taking money from me, but the specific and intentional practice of that particular crime.

Nobody plans to rob a bank anymore, but rather, they “do a bank robbery”. Bank robberies are something which people have done in the past to attain wealth, success permitting, and everyone knows what they are. No-one looks at a bank and says “Fuck me, when you think about it there’s a lot of money in there. I should try and take it.” No. A bank robbery has become a specific and accepted cultural institution, like a crying child on a plane… or a hair in a sandwich.

Even a “crime spree” is an institution, something that exists in itself as a thing rather than as a way of describing a spree of crimes.

Let’s smash down the barriers of the established or expected order (starting with that awful “smash down the barriers” cliche) and try something new. Today’s Bonnie & Clyde wouldn’t rob banks or fart in elevators, they’d find some new, refreshing way to get their kicks, like stealing moments, counterfeiting motorways, or taking a shit in an almost-full tumble dryer.

In a world where the older, traditional crimes become boring and droll, maybe we can foster a hope they’ll all start to disappear as they become passe.

Nick
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