Murder! two lads who beat a man to death have been jailed for a minimum of twelve and a half years. What does this tell us about our society? Does it speak of life as being important? Or is life so cheap that twelve and six months jail can satisfy justice? Now I have been against the death penalty for the simple reason far too many folk were hanged in times past before their innocence was proved. Add to this the criminal is then brought face to face with their maker. The second death is not something to be treated lightly, even for a murderer! However it remains a singular fact that in the UK today far too many sentences appear lenient.
In Inverkeithing a while back,two neds beat a man to near death, set fire to him while alive, and walked away. One received a minimum of Fifteen years, the other twelve.
Was this justice?
Someone is murdered, for no good reason, and leaves behind a wife and children. Their family lose a breadwinner and loved one. Friends miss a friend, a business needs to replace a worker, the problems with housing, insurance and legal factors appear to stretch into infinity, and the repercussions of such an event are in the end incalculable. Is a dozen years in prison justice?
I suppose in some ways we should be glad these culprits have been caught and jailed. When serious crime occurs the police do appear to make every effort to solve the case and bring the offender before the courts. The police in this instance cannot be held responsible for the sentence given. However their responsibility lies with curtailing the many lesser crimes committed on our streets daily. Here they all to often fail, and fail spectacularly. Today a man has been in court for catching three youths, part of a gang of around thirty, who had been throwing paving slabs around his home. The police charged the man who confronted them with assault! After a year of trauma the case came to court and within thirty minutes he was cleared! The police inspector heading up the case claimed he had to operate 'within the law' and
take action. No action was taken against the three youths, nor it seems any of the other yobs! I wonder what the inspector thinks a policeman's role is in today's society? Whose side is he on?
Until the late eighties, when the compensation culture and political correctness began to emerge, the police confronted by such a situation would have sided with the householder, taken the youths aside and made it clear what would happen if they did not desist. Often this could be an excuse for thuggery, more often it was an excuse for old folks and others being free to walk the streets without worrying about ned's. Of course the parents share responsibility. As PC culture grew so did the selfish attitudes around us. There were many contributing factors to this. Thatcherism and the growth of greed played its part, but this was less because greed was new, it had always been there, the cultural cohesion decayed as alternative lifestyles came to the fore, societies recognised disciplines disappeared and we are left morally bankrupt because we are spiritually empty.
A society that does not know where it is going, has no unity, and no purpose leads to confusion over what is right and what is wrong. 'Each did what was right in his own eyes,' is a phrase from Israels history concerning a period when there was no one emphasising the law. We are in a similar time today. If we as a nation had a clearer understanding of right and wrong there would be no problem with justice. If judges 'in wrath remembered mercy' we would have better sentences on criminals, more treatment, mental, chemical or whatever, for those who require this, and a more stable society. We would have stable families, and that is the centre of society, and youths less undisciplined by their parents.
How sad those days have gone.