Worst crimes not by gun­fire

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS -

WITH RE­GARDS to re­cent sub­mis­sions by both Prof George Devenish (“Why the death penalty isn’t the so­lu­tion”, The Star Let­ters, Novem­ber 13) and Marzedt de Beer (“Im­pose harsher sen­tences”, Let­ters, Novem­ber 18), it is ap­par­ent that my point of con­tention is con­ve­niently be­ing avoided or dis­missed.

The death penalty is ad­vo­cated not for rea­sons of pun­ish­ment or ret­ri­bu­tion and is cer­tainly ques­tion­able as an ef­fec­tive de­ter­rent.

No, it is sim­ply ad­vo­cated as a “no al­ter­na­tive” means to the wel­come abo­li­tion or re­moval of the per­pe­tra­tors guilty of the most un­ac­cept­able and dis­gust­ing de­gree of sub­hu­man treat­ment of their vic­tims.

“Guns, am­mu­ni­tion and ex­plo­sives are the cat­a­lysts to vi­o­lent crime” – cer­tainly, no doubt, (hang ’em high I say) – but the gutchurn­ingly heinous crimes I am re­fer­ring to do not in­volve th­ese el­e­ments (or to a lesser de­gree).

The crimes against the most vul­ner­a­ble and help­less in our so­ci­ety, the very young and the aged, es­pe­cially the young, are what con­cerns us. They are not “gun crimes”, but much worse and de­stroy lives and our hu­man sen­si­bil­ity as to what con­sti­tutes a healthy and ro­bust so­ci­ety and is with­out doubt the per­ti­nent point to ex­act­ing cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment as a means to an end, and of course to as­suage our sense of grief, im­po­tence and deep anger.

To “im­pose harsher sen­tences” means what? To what pur­pose for the ra­bid psy­chopath? Hun­dred years’ hard labour and/or ther­apy at the tax­payer’s ex­pense in the vain hope of be­ing “born again” is just a cop out.

We can­not live with that and do not see why we should, not­with­stand­ing Prof Devenish’s ar­gu­ment to the con­trary.

There seems to be an in­tel­lec­tual con­fu­sion at large about ex­cus­able cause or rea­son for what goes on, usu­ally from the un­af­fected in­hab­i­tants of ivory tow­ers way above the barbed wire and sor­did re­al­ity be­low.

“The devil made me do it” is not an un­com­mon plea.

The support given to the worst crim­i­nals and the wel­fare thereof could even be seen as some­what in­hu­mane, a lit­tle un­kind and even bar­baric un­der the very “civil” penalty of dis­mal pro­longed in­car­cer­a­tion, and from my point of view, an in­sult to the vic­tims.

Also, the idea that the jus­tice sys­tem, as ex­acted at present, could mis­con­strue an “in­no­cent” as guilty is just ir­rel­e­vant hog­wash, as at present the very op­po­site seems to be the case.

We have had enough.

Miles Mick­le­burgh

Mba­bane, Swazi­land

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