Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Punishment For Rioters Is Not Unduly Harsh

The harsh sentences handed to people who have taken part in the riots that swept the country last week- such as the 6 months for stealing a water bottle and 4 years for setting up a Facebook page to encourage rioting*- are in the main justified.

The comparison with other offenders who have stolen greater amounts and received much lower sentences is misleading- the fact that the crimes were part of a much larger picture- nationwide riots- is a huge aggravating factor. Simply by participating in a small way they were spreading fear among millions of people and enabling more destructive criminals to commit their crimes in the ensuing chaos- crimes such as murder, rape and arson.

Riots create a situation where the strong prey upon the weak- they can destroy communities (see the decline of many of Northern cities in the USA, such as Detroit & Newark, after the race riots of the 1960s). They can lead to mass bloodshed.Therefore the legal system needs to punish them to the full extent of the law.

Last week the predators felt little fear of punishment as they looted without covering their faces and set up Facebook pages under their own names. Right now those predators who used chaos to terrorise their neighbours and enrich themselves with stolen goods are feeling some of the same fear that they inspired in others, as they know that if their mug is on a CCTV camera or stolen goods are traced to them they will lose their liberty. This is a very good thing in my view.

* I am assuming that the Facebook page was a serious attempt to incite a riot, not a woefully misconceived prank.


DWMF said...

In previous centuries, the British knew what to do with ransacking mobs. It seems to me that due to the discontinuance of corporal punishment in schools that modern children have no fear of authority, and are happy to run riot, safe in the knowledge that nobody will do anything that will hurt them. We need to revive the use of public flogging, available as a punishment in a magistrate's court. British society appears to have regressed back to the 18th century, so we need to apply 18th century measures.

These young people have a choice to behave decently or to be disruptive and destructive. Flooding them with funds and special attention is rewarding bad behaviour. They need to learn that doing wrong hurts people. This is most efficiently done by hurting them.

These rioters (young or older) show that British society has regressed to the 18th century. The systematic removal of rules over the decades has given life all the structure of a giant blancmange.

The mob has lost its fear of authority. We must re-instil that fear.

Step 1: Reintroduce corporal punishment in schools.

Step 2: Bring back flogging for criminals above school age.

Step 3: Bring back hanging for murder.

Step 4: Bring back hard labour and remove all comforts in prison.

This is how the Victorians made the British civilised. It looks like we need to start all over again.

Ross said...

In rpevious centuries ransacking mobs were more frequent and more deadly though- the Gordon riots for example- so I am not convinced they had the answers.