Friday, August 21, 2009
How to treat knife and gun criminals who maim and murder
Scotland has exercised compassion by releasing a convicted Libyan prisoner. Court evidence showed he was a terrorist and involved in blowing up a Pan Am plane over the country (Lockerbie) back in 1988, killing so many innocents (270).
What should we do when murderous criminals and aggressive types (who set about people with a knife or a gun - or bombs) are in prison and face a terminal illness? Let them rot in prison. It's a popular sentiment.
This Lockerbie bomber case seems to have opened a can of worms and much misery - and who knows if releasing someone in this manner could lead to more atrocities in the future. That's a real worry and security concern. But showing some compassion should be a good thing, I would have thought. It shows we're not 'in the gutter' like some criminal scum.
Here's a relevant excerpt of the Scottish Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill's release statement. Worth reflecting on and evaluating...
"In Scotland, we are a people who pride ourselves on our humanity. It is viewed as a defining characteristic of Scotland and the Scottish people.
"The perpetration of an atrocity and outrage cannot and should not be a basis for losing sight of who we are, the values we seek to uphold, and the faith and beliefs by which we seek to live.
"Mr Al Megrahi did not show his victims any comfort or compassion. They were not allowed to return to the bosom of their families to see out their lives, let alone their dying days. No compassion was shown by him to them.
"But that alone is not a reason for us to deny compassion to him and his family in his final days.
"Our justice system demands that judgment be imposed but compassion be available.
"Our beliefs dictate that justice be served, but mercy be shown.
"Compassion and mercy are about upholding the beliefs that we seek to live by, remaining true to our values as a people. No matter the severity of the provocation or the atrocity perpetrated.
"For these reasons - and these reasons alone - it is my decision that Mr Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, convicted in 2001 for the Lockerbie bombing, now terminally ill with prostate cancer, be released on compassionate grounds and allowed to return to Libya to die."
Posted by mark. chapman at Friday, August 21, 2009