We have so much crime is that crime pays...

THE REASON

March 13, 1992

THE REASON we have so much crime is that crime pays, putting the lie to a maxim millions of us learned at home and at church. "How can you teach a 14- or 15-year-old the value of staying in school when he sees $5,000 a week being made on the street [in drug sales]," a frustrated Baltimore middle school principal asked last weekend.

According to the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis:

Only 17 percent of all murders culminate in a prison sentence.

Only 5 percent of all rapes lead to a prison term.

A convicted felon is imprisoned less than 3 percent of the time in cases of robbery, assault, burglary and auto theft.

* * *

GOOD Reading Department from August Hechscher's new biography of Woodrow Wilson:

"Much of a man's lifetime is spent in forming his character. He is made what he is as external forces interact with inherited qualities and accumulating experience.

"At some turning point the balance shifts: the individual, now come into his own, brings his character to bear upon the external world.

"When a man assumes high office this change-over can be dramatic. In writing of a president of the United States, a biographer comes a little uneasily to the moment where the preeminence of private life gives way to the public role. The inner man does not stop living and changing; but biography, which is primarily the portrait of this inner man, yields subtly to history."

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