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“If ever there was a case for capital punishment, it is the case of the murder of Lee Rigby”.
That’s the view of a friend of mine who feels that Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale should be executed without delay. The reason he believes this is simply because they are so very obviously the killers. They also present themselves as irredeemable, and completely without remorse. Would it not, he argues, be expedient (and cheaper) to kill them?
It’s an attractive argument – simple, seemingly effective and why the hell should we pay for their upkeep? The trouble is that even though we know they did it, if served with a death sentence they would surely appeal. They’ll appeal the whole life tariff they’ve been served with anyway, so why should they not appeal a death sentence? Even though we know it was them, they will still have been given opportunity to present any mitigating factors, mental illness, extreme distress etc. These factors will surely come up at appeal, and would be an obvious starting point in an appeal over the death sentence.
It is simply not enough to know that they committed the murder. In Kansas, the average death penalty case costs $1.26 million, whereas the equivalent whole-life case comes in at $740,000. These figures don’t include board and lodgings, which are very substantial in either type of case. More people were sentenced to death in the USA between 2009 and 2012 than were executed. For each death row inmate there will be ongoing legal costs and the expense of a Category A prison bed. The average time an inmate spends on death row has been steadily increasing since 1984 and is currently at nearly fifteen years. So the death penalty is neither quick nor cheap.
But would it deter potential criminals? Does the death penalty send out a warning, effectively keeping the rest of us safer? Murder rates in death penalty states compared with non-death penalty states are consistently higher. The above chart shows that in states with the death penalty more murders occur than in states without – in 2005 it was nearly one and a half times higher.
I’m not sure about you, but my preference would be to live in a state without. Let’s face it, if the death penalty were an effective deterrent, it would only have been used once. So death for Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale would be expensive, slow and have no deterrent effect.
“I cannot support a system which, in its administration, has proven so fraught with error and has come so close to the ultimate nightmare, the state’s taking of innocent life… Until I can be sure that everyone sentenced to death in Illinois is truly guilty, until I can be sure with moral certainty that no innocent man or woman is facing a lethal injection, no one will meet that fate.” –Governor George Ryan of Illinois, January 2000, declaring a moratorium on executions in his state, after the 13th Illinois death row inmate had been released from prison due to wrongful conviction.
Every year in America, men are released from death row because they were wrongfully convicted. In 2003 ten walked away, innocent. The two Michael’s clearly had blood on their hands, let’s just keep ours clean.
I have an uncanny, yet regrettable, ability to spot fledgling businesses which are doomed to fail. It goes like this: ‘Why have they put a [insert business type] there?! -I give it 12 months’. Lo and behold 13 months later the shop will be empty.
So it comes as a pleasant treat when I spot the reverse. A business that is so right, so well placed that I cannot conceive of it failing.
I’ve spotted one such business in Totnes, it’s a gym operating out of an industrial unit on the trading estate – not an auspicious location, yet everyday at 9am there is a bunch of folks ready to start working out. The best bit is that the customers spend a great deal of time running around the trading estate, not even IN the gym. They run up and down the road, again and again, all day. Customers are still running at 7pm.
Here is a business with premises too small for the amount of customers they attract, presumably taking money to encourage people to run around outside.
Hats off to the Fitness Factory, you’re doin’ it right!
A friend of mine has a dog. The dog has just bitten a kid on the face. This is every parents nightmare but I bet there are a good number of dog owners who fear this too. If my friend keeps her dog she will join the ranks of dog owners who must actively shout ahead. Step Back! He’s not very friendly!
As a dog owning parent this issue touches me. As a dog breeder this subject makes me angry.
This was a classic case. Tired dog, kid in its face. One might be tempted to shout at the kid, but this would never solve the problem.
A good litter is one that has been exposed to humans in all their forms, unexpected, frequent, normal, fun. A sudden tug on the tail means a treat, instantly. Loud music means more fun, and guess what? It’s normal! Shouting is normal. Physical boisterousness is normal and gets rewards.
A good litter will have been kept good and clean, they’ll have had their jabs. Much more than this, each pup will have been handled by hundreds of people. You want a pup from a busy house. That means children picking them, poking them, prodding them and brushing their hair. Our house was an open house as soon as possible after the birth of a litter, gentle company at first, accelerating to full-on play.
The reason I did this is because in the first 12 weeks dogs are learning the rules of life. They can learn bite inhibition at any time, but this is the golden window where little dogs can grasp the facts quickly. It’s a really simple game, any game in fact, but as soon as the pup bites too hard the game ends and the human walks away and attends another pup. It worries me that so many people leave their pups with breeders who keep them in sheds, or even in family homes, but without much human interaction.
Don’t get me wrong, my dog can be a little shit just like anyone’s. It’s just that when she next meets a baby it won’t be the first time, and the last time was awesome.
My friend has some difficult decisions ahead. The parent and child, the victims, have difficulty too. No one wins.
I just wish all pups were socialised from (almost) birth.
Graham Walker joins me again, primarily because I find his attitude to life so inspiring. This time he talks about the bladder cancer treatment he is going through.
Alison can trace her sons problems right back to when he started using cannabis at age thirteen. Greg started using cannabis to treat Crones disease age 22. In this program they both put forward their case that cannabis is not completely safe, but whilst Alison believes in the current illegal status of the drug, Greg argues that it should be sold openly to adults who want and/or need it.
A number of organisation were mentioned during the programme, including NORML and ISCD, of which Professor David Nutt is a leading figure. The Home Office offer confidential advice about drugs at their FRANK website and helpline.