The British parliament has come up with a spiffing new wheeze for the advancement of democracy and giving ear to the voice of the people in the electronic age, though perhaps not necessarily heeding that voice. If you want the politicians to discuss something that’s important to you and can get 100000 signatures on a petition on line they might consider it! It has to be approved first by a committee of MPs of course so obviously if it’s something they don’t like the sound of it will be junked. There has evidently already been a terrific response and, quite naturally the demands go from the positive to the ridiculous. Top of the list so far, (over seventy percent questioned), is evidently a return to the death penalty and continuing on the law and order theme someone suggests that prisoners should be fed a diet of bread and water – as they put it ‘like in the good old days.’ Why not bring back flogging while you’re about it, the treadmill and picking oakum?
One of the reasons given for originally getting rid of the death penalty was the fact that if there was a mistake, once the execution had taken place, it was too late to do anything about it. Today, as someone points out, with the advances in science, in particular the discovery of DNA, the likelihood of that happening seems pretty remote.
Did hanging ever discourage murder? With certain categories definitely not, especially those with psychiatric problems – serial killers, necrophiliacs, those with cannibalistic urges – the Mansons and Jeffrey Darmers of this world, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, and probably the most infamous of them all because he was never caught and nobody knows who he really was- Jack the Ripper. They will kill because they have to. Nor will the death penalty put off those determined to rid themselves of an encumbrance like a no longer wanted husband or a wife, or those who hope to gain something from the murder like an inheritance or claiming on insurance: Crippen, Haigh, Hanratty. So what would be the advantages of bringing back the death penalty? Well, firstly it might just make those street hoodlums and gang members only too eager to use their knives and guns, just a little more cautious and a number of innocent victims, especially it seems among teenagers these days, would be saved. Secondly, without appeal or reprieve, it is a definite and final punishment that means what it says. These days there seems to be a strange anomaly in the sentences courts hand out to killers. You will go to prison for life and serve a minimum of eleven years and you will be out in three. That is what a human being’s life is worth? Thirdly the prisons are grossly overcrowded and it would mean a few less to ease the situation and fourthly to be absolutely logical it would save the state an awful lot of money. Keeping a murderer in jail costs thousands of pounds a week.
Junior killers, eleven year old Mary Bell, Robert Thomson and Jon Venables, no matter how disgusting their crimes would of course be exempt from capital punishment.
I find this a fascinating subject and will no doubt return to it.
P.S. After writing this Blog we received the following e-mail from a friend in London. It isn’t to do with capital punishment but it is to do with the complete breakdown of law and order.
‘So upset with the local vandalism amid all this anarchy. Ealing Broadway very badly damaged last night. West Ealing effected. Money Shops, Jewellers, Mobile outlets, all trashed and everything stolen. Boots window smashed and all their perfumes stolen. Wilkinsons everything type store broken into, Specsavers and even the Pets Charity Shop. Kids as young as 10 and 11 out at 3 and 4 in the morning. These are not deprived kids. All have mobiles and, in most cases the very expensive Blackberry type and all on twiiter.
Too many children's rights. Ineffective policing due to interference over the past 20 years, too many Health & Safety rules, Political correctness, etc., etc., Hopefully, changes will be introduced to remedy all - but I suspect nothing strong enough will transpire. Anyway, all too close to home and hope won't get murdered in my bed tonight!’
Now I am going to appear to be the complete racist but I’m afraid that cannot be helped. Looking at the pictures of the riots in various London boroughs and elsewhere and from a phone conversation with a friend in Hackney who inadvertently got caught up in it, it would seem that any city with a large black and immigrant population may suffer the same phenomenon some time or other. Is there any way to stop it happening? Someone had better come up with an answer to what is sheer mob criminality.