Thursday, September 03, 2009

Compassion Rage

The Major has just been round to give me another earful.

"Why do we have to put up with it? Why should we let a bunch of pinko do-gooders put our lives at risk? We simply don't need these convicted cannibal killers on the loose!

Do you realise that this animal had already killed some poor girl with a hammer in 1993? So WTF was he ever released? Who ever thought that was a good idea? I mean most of us would have strung him up there and then, but no - he was packed off to hospital and was out and about in well under ten years. And then, guess what - he murdered two other people! And one of them he actually ate! Gah!"

"Well, Major, I'm sure your do-gooders were only doing their best."

"Best!?! WTF do we let convicted killers out at all? Even if these days we're not allowed to top them, they should never ever be allowed out to kill again! What is the point?"

"It's compassion, Major. Just like the Scots showed when they released that Libyan chap."

The Major snarled and turned a deeper shade of purple. "Are you trying to provoke me, Tyler? We should have handed that murdering bastard over to the yanks in the first place - they'd have sorted him out. No question of compassionate release then!

And what about those two young thugs torturing kiddies up in Doncaster? Torturing them! Do you realise those two were well known to the police, and they'd already done precisely the same thing before. But somehow the do-gooders thought it perfectly OK to leave them free to carry on terrorising the neighbourhood! It defies belief!"

"Ah yes, Major, but you have to remember that social workers aren't miracle workers. You have to expect the odd mistake here and there."

"Odd mistake? Odd mistake!!! Why??? Why take the risk? Why not just admit we have no idea how to reform these violent animals, and all we can sensibly do is to lock them away? Why not do that? At least the rest of us would then be safe."

"Hmmm.... yes... but then, you see, people would say we weren't compassionate."


As we've blogged many times, when it comes to criminals who are prepared to inflict violence on others, we need to follow the precautionary principle. Which says they get locked up for good.

Because we have no idea how to reform such people, or even how to manage them in the outside world. They need to be locked away.

And it's no good blaming the individual social workers, or the individual police officers, or any other individuals involved in making the wrong calls in particular cases. It is our criminal justice system that is at fault. It fails to follow the precautionary principle.

As for compassion, it is surely far more important to have compassion for the victims of violence than for the delicate sensibilities of our ruling elite.

Anyone who wants to hold a position of authority in our criminal justice system needs to understand and accept one very important point: his/her own personal craving to be seen as "compassionate" has to come behind the responsibilities to the rest of us. And if that doesn't suit, he/she needs to find another job.

PS While we're on the subject, BBC R5 has just carried an extraordinary interview with Detective Chief Inspector Mark Hooper, who heads the Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service for the Association of Chief Police Officers.

He had some official police advice for potential victims of vehicle theft. It seems that when you go to bed you should make sure that you leave your car keys somewhere visible and easily accessible.

Why? Because your local car thief may get irritated if he can't easily find them when he visits your home at 2am. He may come up to your bedroom and threaten you with a shooter or machete. Things could get awkward. Much better to let him take the car quietly and professionally while you sleep.

After due consideration, the Major and I would like to offer an alternative suggestion: we should toughen up the law so that anyone convicted of theft with violence is subjected to a hideous medieval punishment. Our initial thoughts include flaying alive and/or transportation to Helmand province. Although at a pinch I suppose we might settle for a twenty year jail sentence with no possibility of parole.

You see, we reckon we ought to stand up to criminals - not bend over backwards to make their lives easier.

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