Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Crime and Punishment
I’ve been wrestling with something for quite a long time now, readers, and it’s the issue of capital punishment. It’s a big old question: Should we reinstate the Death Penalty.
You read these stories in the Metro, like the one I read this morning, about horrific crimes. Three thugs broke their way into a young couple’s house in North London with a shotgun, forced the wife, who was seven months pregnant, to perform fellatio on them and then stole a load of their stuff.
For some reason this is extra bad because she was pregnant. I’m not sure if I understand why this is extra bad, unless it’s because the trauma could have harmed the baby. Otherwise I don’t think being forced to do that to somebody who’s broken into your home is any easier for you if you happen not to be pregnant.
Anyway, why should we keep these people alive in prison (assuming they get caught)? Do we really believe that they can be rehabilitated? Do we really think that five or six years in chokey will turn them into the kind of people that, when seized with the criminal urge will stop, take a breath and count to ten and then opt not to break into somebody’s house and rape them? Do they get lessons every day where somebody holds up cards with various scenarios on them, and they have to decide whether that scenario represents acceptable or unacceptable behaviour?
“Ok chaps, so on this card we have a man buying a newspaper in a shop. Is this acceptable or unacceptable?”
“Great, very good. Well done. That’s right, it’s acceptable; we’re off to a flying start. Now, what about this one… On this card we have three men forcing a woman to have sex with them. You can see that she’s crying, so we can assume she doesn’t want to do it, but they’re going to make her do it anyway. And they’ve got a knife, there. Do you see? So, is that acceptable or unacceptable?”
“Oh dear me, no. I’m afraid that’s unacceptable. What a shame, you were doing so well. Ok, we’ll pick it up again tomorrow.”
Say they don’t change their ways. Why spend so much money giving them somewhere to live, giving them food and water and encouraging them to associate with other people who seem unable to control their most aggressive, bestial urges? Why not, in fact, concede that taking these people out of the gene pool is the best thing we can do for society?
Why should they be able to wreak the kind of havoc they wreak and then end up cosseted by the system. Television, gymnasiums, basketball, rock hammers to make chess pieces, cushy jobs in the library, table tennis. I bloody love table tennis. That’s not a punishment, it’s a reward. They’re not prisons, they’re bloody holiday camps. It’s disgusting. Oh dear, i've done a rape, i'm going to have to go and live at bloody Center Parcs. Sentenced to water flumes every day for ten years.
No, I’m sick of it. Let’s line the buggers up, get them to dig a trench and shoot them in the face with machine guns until there's nothing left but the bloody stump of a neck, then get the next lot to fill the hole in and start all over again. An eye for an eye, that’s what I say. We’re too bloody soft in this country. We should put their heads on bridges to deter other criminals, like they did with Mel Gibson in that film about the Scotch. Rip their bloody entrails out and hand them to them in a bread basket, steaming in the frosty morning sunshine. Scum!
There are arguments against it, of course. Some people suggest that the state cannot outlaw the taking of a life, and then take a life itself. These people seem to have no problem, however, with the state outlawing the incarceration of one civilian by another civilian while at the same time incarcerating people itself with gay abandon. They also seem to have no problem with one country defending itself against another country in a situation of war, through the use of deadly force.
Other people say that it is simply inhumane to kill another person. How can it be inhumane, though, if humans are forever killing one another?
The most powerful argument against the death penalty, though, is that you could kill the wrong person. In the end, though, there’s no smoke without fire, is there. If you’re arrested and executed, then you’ve probably done something bad. Unless you’re Jean Charles de Menezes, of course. But let’s chalk that one up to experience. To err is human, after all.
The Chinese have a refreshingly practical nature to issues like this. Not only do they execute people with an enthusiasm that suggests they really enjoy it, they then harvest their organs. That strikes me as a really useful way to repay your debt to society. He knew a thing or two did that Chairman Mao. Mind you, I wear glasses sometimes, so I'm glad he's not my chairman. Nonetheless, change must come from the barrel of a gun!
Or maybe not. Perhaps I’m just in a bit of a bad mood today. I guess your head has to rule your heart when you’re making big policy decisions about issues like capital punishment. On balance, I think perhaps we’re right after all. The Death Penalty is probably wrong.
We could just break their legs, though.