29 December 2009 (Tuesday) - The News

(I *know* I’m in a minority with this one. Sorry to those of my loyal readers who disagree!)

The news today bears the sad tale of Akmal Shaikh, a British citizen who was executed in China this morning. This would seem to have touched a nerve with many people here in the UK, and (as always) I would seem to be in the minority.

I’m sorry, but unlike certain other prosecutions I could mention, this entire case has no grey areas at all. The chap was caught red-handed trying to bring a quarter of a million quid’s worth of heroin into China. He’s guilty. The Chinese take a firm line on drugs, and any student of history would know why. The drugs he was smuggling would ultimately cause misery for so many people. The world would be a better place without it, and without those smuggling the drugs.

There are those who oppose the death penalty on principle, claiming that killing the guilty is wrong, regardless of what the criminal has done. “Two wrongs don’t make a right”, or so I’m told. I can’t see the logic in this argument. It presupposes the death penalty is wrong. It is not. If one or two villains get strung up, publicly and without mercy, then potential miscreants will think twice about spoiling this world for everyone else.

From my own personal experience, a native Chinese person living in the UK (an ex-colleague) often told me he felt far safer back at home. England was a dangerous place. China was a safer place to be because they had far harsher punishments and a death penalty to deter the scum element. And so (or so he told me) crime of all sorts was far less common as a result.

In many ways it’s an extension of the corporal punishment in schools argument. When I was a lad, if you put your foot out of line, you got caned. One child had a sore bum for a day, and a thousand kids behaved themselves indefinitely. But how many canings took place? I can remember one during my six years at Hastings Academy for Budding Geniuses. That was all that was needed. There was order in the school. But look at the state of schools nowadays, thanks to the liberal policies of the last twenty years which have given the brats the right to do whatever they want to. I’ve blogged endlessly (in the past) about the anarchy in today’s classrooms. I’m sure that if my children had more to worry about from their teachers than moralising or a day’s suspension, then their exam results would have been somewhat better.

Whilst I sympathise with the philosophy that perhaps we shouldn’t bring ourselves down to the level of the scum, there is overwhelming evidence that lax law enforcement is actively encouraging lawlessness. Clemency on the part of society is taken as weakness by those who would exploit that society.

There is also the argument that the chap in question should be let off on the grounds of mental instability. There’s a knotty problem. The latest statistics show that one in four of us will have a mental illness at some point in our lives. Does this mean that at any given time a quarter of the population can’t tell right from wrong and therefore should be considered to be beyond the law?

I would pull the lever myself. I really would. And in doing so would be protecting my children, my family, my friends, and making a better world for humanity at large….


  1. I think I'll join your minority, people have to face up to the guy was caught smuggling drugs in a country who has the death penalty for drug smuggling.

    What gets me is the hypocrisy of our politicians, they demand that Chinese politicans should intervene in their legal system due to this guy's supposed mental illness but will not intervene in our legal system to free the chap who brain damaged the buggler who had held him and his wife and family at knife point due judicial independance.

  2. I'm in your minority too matey!

  3. I think its the others who are in the minority.
    Its just that they are more vocal about their oppinions.
    I'm with you on this one too.
    And so the minority grows.