After the last post, I might seem something approaching a hypocrite on this. After defending Fiona MacKeown, I might well be seen as attacking others in a similar position, in this case Helen Newlove, Linda Bowman and Kerry Nicol. The difference is that people like Fiona MacKeown and others such as Doreen Lawrence have not had justice served. All the other three have.
My question therefore is: what more can we possibly do for you? The state has bent over backwards, as it quite rightly should have done, found those that killed your relatives, and sentenced them to them to more or less the sentences that I think a majority would agree were the right ones. Sad, dreadful and unconscionable as it is, and my sympathies are with you, but how are we meant to stop an individual like Steven Wright, who showed no previous signs of being capable of killing the five prostitutes he did from doing so again? How are we meant to prevent those like Mark Dixie from living out their perverse fantasies unless we take incredibly harsh and some would say over the top action against others for offences such as his apparent masturbating in front of a woman? The crime that befell Helen Newlove's husband was the one that perhaps had the most chance of being prevented, but again, what sort of deterrent can be put in place that would have possibly stopped the gang that kicked him to death and made them think twice about what they were doing while they were drunk out of their skulls, and remember, when Swellings was old enough to buy alcohol legally? No, he probably shouldn't have been released on bail, but how can we possibly deny bail to all those accused of an assault? It would be a ridiculous use of state resources.
They've unveiled then their ten-point plan in the Sun for sorting out Broken Britain, and amazingly, it looks almost exactly the same as the Sun's prescribed diagnosis has for a long time (excepting capital punishment, which it claims to be against):
1 - Reintroduce the death penalty
2 - Set up compulsory DNA database
3 - Zero tolerance for minor crimes
4 - Repeal the Human Rights Act
5 - More bobbies on (blank) (presumably the beat?)
6 - Make parents responsible for their kids and restore discipline at home
7 - Victims' family's rights to be put above those of offenders with an end to ludicrous defences
8 - Juveniles to be named in court like adults
9 - Reserve plans to turn off street lights to save energy
10 - A crackdown on binge drinking
And what can I, or indeed anyone possibly say to this sort of mentality?:
LINDA: I’d love to watch Sally Anne’s killer get the death penalty. I want to see him suffer until he is squealing like a pig.
HELEN: I would be the one who puts the noose around the neck or presses the button for the lethal injection. And hangings should be public. People have stopped me and said they’re 100 per cent behind it.
This country is a terrifying place. No one is safe. I’m not ranting and raving. Come and sit here with us three and have the pain we’ve got.
Newlove is of course right. This is about pain. The natural reaction is to respond to pain inflicted upon you with pain towards the person that did so. The role of the government however cannot be to respond to pain inflicted upon individuals with state-sponsored pain, or at least not of the actual physical reality. Hangings should be made public? Has Newlove seen the photographs from Iran or Saudi Arabia of capital punishment being carried out in public? If it's meant to be for the deterrent purpose, then those grinning or celebrating the deaths of those condemned as they're killed certainly don't seem to be frightened by the prospect of the same happening to them if they were to commit a similarly heinous crime. Similarly silly statements are also made:
THE SUN:What do you see as the main cause of Broken Britain?
LINDA: The day the Government took discipline away from parents is the day this country went to pot.
When was that exactly? Perhaps we can pinpoint it so we can apportion blame to the right political party.
The most excruciating part is when the Sun asks them what it means to lose their loved ones in such a way. The grief, emotion and pain that is welled up inside these women at what has befallen them is not just real, it's visceral, terrifying even and incredibly powerful with it. The Sun knows this, and knows also that their anger cannot be answered by anyone, let alone a mere mortal such as a politician. I've said before that I was glad that Newlove was letting the hurt inside her out; that it was the best thing to do. Now I'm not so sure. It instead looks like the Sun is using these women for its own purposes, knowing full well that their pain will not be sated while they're still being asked for how it feels and when their hate is being directed not towards healing themselves and their families because of what has happened, but rather at not just their relatives' killers, but also British society as it is in their eyes at the moment. As patronising or cliched as it may sound, they need to come to terms with what has happened to them in their own time, in private, and then decide if they still feel the same way. The Sun is preventing them from doing so.
Labels: capital punishment, crime, feral kids will kill us all, Helen Newlove, Kerry Nicol, Linda Bowman, Scum-watch, Sun-watch