Category Archives: death penalty

Britain’s festival of disorder

Poor man! If only he had been given the opportunity of rehabilitation and repentance, perhaps he wouldn’t have taken the cyanide

In Britain, one of the effects of the abolition of the death penalty has been downward pressure on prison sentences. Your average British murderer, Dalrymple explains,

serves 15 years before release. His life sentence is for life only in the sense that, for the rest of his days, he may be recalled to prison if it is thought that he is misbehaving or breaking the conditions of his release.

In one per cent of cases,

a life sentence may mean permanent incarceration without possibility of release, though the European Court of Human Rights (that giver of lessons to the world) has ruled that such a sentence breaches fundamental human rights because it does not allow for the possibility of repentance or rehabilitation. It goes to show how lacking in realism, imagination and compassion the ECHR is.

Dalrymple points out that punishment has to be roughly proportional to the gravity of the crime, but

if murder attracts only 15 years’ imprisonment de facto, what sentences can be meted out to those who commit lesser, but still serious, crimes? Moreover, the charge of murder is often reduced to the lesser crime of manslaughter, in which sentences – as a consequence – are often derisory.

It is scarcely any wonder, he says, that Britain

has gone from being a well-ordered, non-violent, law-abiding society to being a society with the highest rate of violent crime in Western Europe.

He notes that

it was not inevitable that the abolition of the death penalty should have had this effect, if conviction for murder had carried a sentence of incarceration for life. But in order for this to have been the case, society as a whole, and the governing class in particular, including intellectuals, would have had to have sufficient faith in a moral authority to impose it. The abolition itself, in my view justified per se, was — in the manner in which it was carried out — a symptom in itself of the decline in that faith.

The governing class and intellectuals

believed only in their own moral authority to defy the ‘primitive’ wishes and apprehensions of the unlettered majority. They replaced the moral view of human existence by the sociological and psychological one, with all its explaining and explaining away.

Call this a mass execution? Don’t make me laugh

The London newspaper the Guardian, which Dalrymple points out is

the left-liberal mouthpiece of the pensée unique,

recently ran the headline ‘The Arkansas mass executions on Easter Monday must be stopped.’ Dalrymple comments:

The emotive words ‘mass execution’ conjure up in my mind considerably more than the eight executions the state planned to perform over the course of 11 days, two of which, as far as I am aware, had been carried out at the time the headline appeared. Che Guevara would have laughed at the idea that a mere eight people put to death, let alone two, constituted a mass execution. He would have taken the use of the word as further proof of the decadence of late capitalist society and its ripeness for overthrow.

Sad outcome to an everyday holdup

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 08.56.43Dalrymple reads about Jeffery Wood, who was sitting in a car outside a petrol station while an accomplice engaged in a routine robbery of a convenience store at a petrol station. The only hitch was that the attendant inside ended up being shot and killed.

One newspaper sums up the case as the robbery of a little store that went wrong. Dalrymple comments:

What would be a robbery that did not go wrong? Presumably one in which the robbers got away with the booty without anyone coming to physical harm. This shows how far we have come to accept the criminal’s point of view: one is peacefully robbing a store when the storekeeper turns stubborn and refuses to hand over the key to the safe — what a human tragedy follows!

Erdoğan is right to accuse the EU of insincerity

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 17.57.44The people who run the EU, writes Dalrymple,

cannot make up their minds which is more important to them: their desire to expand their empire and bring Turkey into their orbit, or their fear of a still-Moslem country that would be the largest in landmass and demographically in Europe.

What Brussels would really like

is to bring the secular, Westernised part of the population into Europe while leaving the ignorant Moslem peasantry where it is.

Rather convenient

How convenient

This is not possible,

hence the endless negotiations that never seem to lead anywhere. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s threat to reintroduce the death penalty therefore comes as a godsend, a pretext on which to end the negotiations on an apparent matter of principle. We in Europe can put up with anything except the death penalty.

Then

Then

Now

Now

Some hangings

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 09.27.27In the prison where he works, a hanging Dalrymple is called to attend turns out to have been a case of murder. The hanged man’s cellmate boasts

that he had intimidated the dead man into hanging himself. He had threatened to cut his throat in his sleep if he did not hang himself first, and the man, who was two weeks from his release, chose the rope—or rather, the bedsheet torn into strips, dampened and braided into a noose. The cellmate helped him up on to the chair and obligingly kicked it away from under him.

Another hanging is

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 09.38.22complicated by the fact that the dead man had on his chest a small puncture wound that penetrated to his heart, inflicted by the thrust of a ballpoint pen, which I had not until then considered a potentially lethal weapon. Even where there is a high illiteracy rate, the pen is as mighty as the sword.

There have been, Dalrymple writes,

many more hangings in my prison since the abolition of the death penalty than there ever were before.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 09.29.59Dalrymple is glad that it is not one of his duties to pronounce a man fit for execution.

The last doctor I met who had examined men for fitness for execution—in a former British colony—was an alcoholic, though I cannot positively say that he was driven to the bottle by a disturbed conscience.

Winson Green

Winson Green