The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #29850 Message #380920
Posted By: Gervase
23-Jan-01 - 08:50 PM
Thread Name: Steve Earle sees a friend killed
Subject: RE: Steve Earle sees a friend killed
Thank you for the link to give this a wider circulation, Kevin.
I read the piece in yesterday's Guardian, and what struck me as so powerful was the fact that it wasn't a polemic or a rant - just a disquisition on a "due process" that happened to involve a living, sentient human being. Yes, one that had committed crimes that no reasonable person could condone, but that is beside the point.
Thus, Spot, though you may be prepared the pull the handle/press the button etc, aren't you just a mite ashamed of your eagerness to do so? I can understand your feeling - I have been there myself when confronted with a man who had cynically murdered three children for sexual gratification - but I m very glad I did not have the opportunity to act on my own rage.
For surely it is a measure of a civilised society when it can rise above the knee-jerk and treat all its members, even the flawed, warped and downright shitty ones, with dispassionate humanity. The legal system should have no time for passion or emotion.
That's why we have a legal system. If the "due process" of the law were left to us, yes of course we'd lynch, maim and generally batter those whohurt us. But it is precisely because of that propensity that we who live in what we like to call civilised societies abrogate the responsibility for punishment to the state. If the state descends to the atavistic level of the individual, then it has no right to call itself civilised.
And that's not even getting onto the subject of miscarriages of justice. Guildford, Birmingham - do I have to go on...?