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SUPPORTING SCOTLAND’S HUMANITARIAN PENAL POLICY

by seamus breathnach Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009 at 9:55 AM
sbreathnach@eircom.net Dublin, ireland

A PLEA FOR COMPASSION : SUPPORTING SCOTLAND’S HUMANITARIAN PENAL POLICY WHY SCOTLAND’S Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, was right to release Locherbie bomber and allow him to return to Libya, and why Mr Mueller, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, the Lib Dems in Scotland and Gordan Brown in England are perfectly wrong.

A PLEA FOR COMPASSION :

SUPPORTING SCOTLAND’S HUMANITARIAN PENAL POLICY



WHY SCOTLAND’S Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, was right to release Locherbie bomber and allow him to return to Libya, and why Mr Mueller, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, the Lib Dems in Scotland and Gordan Brown in England are perfectly wrong.

Frankly, I am not concerned as to how Libya or Gadaffi receive the reprieved victim of Scottish commiseration. I believe such matters to be anterior the concern to hand and , to my mind should not concern anyone else unduly either. If there have been financial or commercial inducements involved, then such features would not doubt be unsavory, but in the public domain, I hardly think they can be denied. And in any event future cases -- not unlike the shenanigans and delays of Jack Straw -- may be avoided.

If I had any regrets or misgivings in supporting Mr Kenny MacAskill in his very ordinary response to a dying man, it is because he takes refuge behind what he considers are the concerns of what he regards the support of the Christian churches. This , of course, is not to say that his decision is not inspired by a secular view of history, rather than an appeal to any false notions of Christian propaganda. For far too long the Christian Churches have had no problem buring suspects or having them hanged, drawn and quartered when appropriate, or passing them over to the secular authorities to execute people on their behalf, as well as by supporting the secular state in hanging people for the past fifteen hundred years, but particularly throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century. Indeed, if the Catholic Church and the Papacy was half as inclined to campaign against the death penalty as it is against abortion, the US would be rid of it. At which stage, they might well realise that they need not kill people to deter criminals, or to feel secure in their Christianity.

That said, let me say that I support the Justice Secretary’s decision entirely, and on the following grounds.

China and the US are the primary people who still execute people. Year in , year out, their is no recourse to such a concept as compassion. One feels that this is probably due -- especially in America -- to the fact that they have missed out on an entire span of the religious wars, which, when conducted in Europe, invariably led to the hanging , drawing and quartering of Christians by Christians.

Before that the same Christians -- invariably Catholics -- burned Witches, Recusants, Heretics and Dissidents, including millions of Pagans, Huguenots, and Albigensian,and who have conducted their hateful campaign against socialists, anarchists, communists, homosexuals, etc..

Unfortuately, it is at this stage of the colonial spread of Catholic hate that the US was introduced to Christianity. And without recourse to the former centuries of butchery, are not quite aware on Death Row that people who have deep beliefs are apt to die with those beliefs, without in the slightest changing their minds. Indeed, it is part -- not of Christian history -- but of European secular history, to concede the impossibility and , indeed, the implausibility, and , indeed, the undesirability, of changing another’s religiously held beliefs by a death threat. Indeed, such behavior is considered by some as barbarous, futile and redundant.

Given that a man is going to die, then the civilized attitude is to allow them to die. What I hope Europe has leerned from its endless saints and martyrs is the simple fact, that the most human society can extract from any man is his life. That being the case, the game of punishment is over when a man is in imminent danger of death. Nothing remains for a punitive society but to look itself in the eye and behave accordingly.

It should be remembered by those of us who claim to teach our children the virtue of mercy, that it is two-edged. In reminding us of this fact, Scotland is our real criminological Alter Ego. As the bard put it long ago:

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

The Merchant Of Venice Act 4, scene 1, 180–187

It is disappointing to realise that these considerations form nothing of the penological repertoire of the US. Indeed, if there was less penetration of their society by an outdated notion of the Christian and avaricious churches, and more reflection upon European and , indeed, American history, they ,too, might see the wisdom of refusing to pursue every person who receives a capital sentence to death.

Moreover, when one considers those persons released as part of the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement -- as well as the role of those who played a part in having terrorists released, including Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and the responsive opposition parties -- how can the present American loby sustain such a black press against Scotland? How can Minister Gordon Browne remain silent on the current issue?

Scotland’s decision to release men in state of immenent death is to be supported, and one can only hope that it is supported by every sensible and humane person on earth as well as every criminological body in Scotland and the US.

Well done, Scotland! We want more of the same, not less!

Seamus Breathnach

www.irish-criminology.com

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