As we've blogged many times, the Major and I do not believe our criminal "justice" system does nearly enough to deter violent crime. We believe it risks the safety of millions of innocent people who don't have the good fortune to live in Hampstead or the leafy glades of Surrey.
But for decades now, people like us have been over-ruled by those in charge of our affairs. First, they abolished the ultimate deterrent we don't blog any more, and then they watered down its replacement so far that its deterrent effect was completely undermined.
Frankly, we try not to blog this too often because it makes us so angry.
But here we go again, with another set of totally inadequate sentences imposed on two thugs responsible for the brutal murder of Michael Eccles:
"The 43-year-old father of five had popped down the road to buy a bottle of wine when he encountered Jordan Carroll and Carl Keatley, who had been drinking vodka all day. They attacked him, kicking, punching and stamping on him, and leaving him with a burst eye socket, 10 broken ribs and broken bones in his neck."
And the sentences?
Both got "life", but in Carroll's case that actually means a "minimum" sentence of just 11 years, while Keatley will be out and about again in 13 years.
Michael Eccles' family are very angry:
"We were promised a life sentence. The only people receiving a life sentence are the family.Who could possibly disagree?
These evil people have been found guilty of murder and shown no remorse at all. Until there are some serious consequences to their actions, the anti-social element will continue their reign of terror.
True justice should be an eye for an eye, and at the very least, life should mean life. These people should not be free to inflict evil ways upon society again."
Except for those in charge of criminal "justice" of course. The very same people who had allowed these two animals to remain on the streets even though they were both well known to police, one had 15 previous court appearances, and the other was out on bail in connection with an earlier attack.
Which brings us to another of this week's cases:
"A serial sex offender once described as "appallingly evil" was handed a life sentence for a second time on Friday.
David McMillan, 33, admitted trying to lure a 14-year-old girl to his flat - 12 years after he was jailed for breaking into the home of an elderly spinster and raping her."
But despite the fact that he's "appallingly evil", and despite the fact that this is his second life sentence, his minimum sentence has been set at just 18 months.
Yup. 18 months.
Ah, you say, maybe he's not absolutely appallingly evil. After all, he's not a murderer. Yet. And he didn't actually succeed in luring this 14-year-old to his flat.
The real point is that, these days, life sentences just don't do what it says on the tin. It is the maximum penalty the law can impose, and yet nobody believes it will amount to much more than what you'd get for putting the wrong stuff in your recycling bin.
As we've noted before, when capital punishment was abolished (against the wishes of 75% of us), we punters were promised a deal: henceforth, life would mean life. But these days, even for murder, "life" has actually come to mean an average of just 14 years. Our parole system releases convicted murderers sentenced to life imprisonment after an average of just 14 years.
It just isn't good enough.
Lives are being put at risk. Maybe not round your way, or down here in leafy Surrey, or next door to the Major. But out on those problem estates people need some protection. And if they don't get it from our mainstream politicos, they're going to look elsewhere.
PS There are places that make much wider use of life sentences. In California, one Enrique Gonzalez risks a life sentence, being "charged with aggravated mayhem after he tattooed a paw print onto his son’s hip". A life sentence for a tattoo? "Gonzalez is a member of a local gang called the Bulldogs, and the paw print is considered a symbol of membership." Ah, gangs. Although it still sounds a little harsh to British ears, and if you can get life for tattooing your son, WTF do you get for murder? Er... yes... that's right... that thing we don't blog any more. Although we might just mention that the California homicide rate trebled in the years following its abolition, and then more than halved again following reinstatement. But that's probably a pure coincidence, as many commenters have insisted before.