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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."

1 comment:

  1. Liberal Realist25/09/2009, 07:04

    Unfortunately, these crime trends are consistent across the world. Testosterone for instance explains part of the difference in men committing more crime than women.

    East Asians (Chinese, Japanese ancestry) have lower testosterone levels on average than whites, who have lower levels than blacks.

    East Asians also have lower crime rates in the UK, US and other western countries than whites.

    Another factor may be low activity variant of MAO-A which can put someone at greater risk of aggressive behaviour - this varies in frequency amongst groups.

    Another factor sometimes cited is cognitive ability, for instance low iq puts someone at greater risk failing at school and dropping out. They are then more at risk of joining gangs etc. Groups differ in average iq, gestation periods and maturation rates, and average brain volume. This is probably due to both genetic and environmental factors.

    Rushton, J. P., & Jensen, A. R. (2005). Thirty years of research on differences in cognitive ability. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 11, 235-294.

    Rushton, JP, & Whitney, G. (2002). Cross-national variation in violent crime rates: Race, r–K theory, and income. Population and Environment, 23, 501−511 - (worldwide crime figures)


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