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Hang 'em and flog 'em!

Posted by Tim on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 | Permalink

I try not to get too involved in online/radio/tv debates - mainly because most the people taking part want to voice their opinions but aren't willing to listen to any opposing views. Ever now and again I come across one that bothers me, like this one from the BBC's "Have your say", about new sentencing rules for convicted murderers.

No one has anything new to say on the subject; it's just the same old clichés about bringing back capital punishment and stuff - which I am amazed so many people are in favour of. Personally I am 100% against capital punishment, mainly because there can never be 100% proof of guilt (but also because I feel that pretty much everyone deserves a second chance).

My response to the usual clichés then:
Bring back hanging!
Why specifically hanging? Does that mean public hanging? Why not burn people at the stake - that would be some spectacle.
Don't we want to punish criminals anymore? (taken from the Daily Mail!)
No. We want to reform them. And dangerous criminals need to be kept away from the rest of society, which is what prison is for.
Holiday camps for convicts!
Convicts may not get hard labour anymore, but I don't think anyone who has been in prison would liken it to a holiday camp. And you can walk out of a holiday camp at anytime - the lack of freedom is what makes being in prison a punishment.
When you take a life, you loose your right to life yourself.
So ... the government own the "right" to my life, and can take it away from me if I've done something bad?
Life should mean life (or "Lock 'em up and throw away the key!")
Unless someone is a danger to society, I don't think they should be locked up until they die. If you're going to do that, you might as well kill 'em and be done with it. Again, don't even the worst offenders deserve the chance to reform themselves?
Murder is murder, no matter which way you look at it!
No it isn't! Someone who assists the suicide of a terminally ill relative is hardly in the same league as someone who goes to a school and guns down loads of kids, is he?
If someone in your family was murdered, you'd want justice done.
If such a thing happened I'd hardly be able to think rationally about the subject, but I think I would at least admit that I wanted revenge rather than use the term justice. Frankly, people who have lost family members in this manner should not have any say in how the murderer is treated.
The law is the law!
Yeah ... and ...? I mean, eggs are eggs, a porcelain teapot is a porcelain teapot.
I'm never quite sure what point people are making when they say this - perhaps they are trying to say that the law must be obeyed no matter what. The problem is that the laws of the land were not written on stone tablets which were handed down by some god - they were created by people and are capable of - and often are - "wrong". There needs to be flexibility within the law to take into account individual circumstances.


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