We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
Bound by ethics, twisted by compassion
Justice Secretary of Scotland Kenny MacAskill:
“… the perpetuation of an atrocity cannot and should not be a basis for losing sight of who we are … Mr. Al-Megrahi now faces a sentence imposed by a higher power. It’s one that no court … could revoke or overrule. It is terminal, final and irrevocable. He is going to die.”
Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi is the convicted terrorist responsible for exploding a bomb on a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. 270 people were killed. His was the sole conviction in a case that paralyzed and terrified the world community. Mr. Al-Megrahi was released after serving only eight years of his life sentence. The Scottish government felt it necessary to release him on compassionate grounds. Mr. Al-Megrahi has cancer, and it was deemed appropriate to allow this man to live out the rest of his days with family, in the seclusion of his home back in Libya. Are you outraged yet? I am. I am completely baffled and incensed.
Let me unequivocally say that I believe in compassion. I believe that all of us have an inherent feeling toward righting wrongs done to our fellow man or woman, and meting out humane justice when necessary. I also believe in ethics. I believe that we should recognize certain rules of conduct and apply them for certain human actions. The society of man has moral principles and laws that should be obeyed. We need ethics to keep our society from crashing into the abyss and to prevent complete anarchy. Scotland and Great Britain, in my estimation, have made a grave error in judgment and divine presumptuousness. Here are two reasons for my opinion:
1. If Al-Megrahi’s sentence was a death sentence, it was fairly safe to assume that he would die in prison. I would imagine that there are no allowances or variations on how he should die. It could have been old age. It could have been prison food, or too much sunlight. It could have been by a crudely-made sharp object lodged into the base of his skull. Or, it could have been his cancer. His conviction on 270 counts of mass murder made his sentence what it was. Compassion aside, he deserved his fate. I do not know how Kenny MacAskill arrived at his decision. I don’t know what ordained light shined brightly in his mind, giving him the authority from on high to pardon this man. Perhaps this “sentence from a higher power,” as MacAskill put it, was God’s retribution. I am too insignificant to say, but I’m sure the victims of Al-Megrahi’s ruthlessness wished to the heavens that they had such divine intervention. Then maybe their loved ones would be alive today.
2. Speaking of the victims’ families, how must they be taking this news? Not well, I assure you. I wonder if Scottish and British authorities spoke to the families about this decision? I can’t help but wonder where the compassion was for the families and victims of this tragedy? Surely Mr. MacAskill believes proper deference should have been paid to those still reeling from losing their family. This decision, however, does not reflect that in the slightest.
This decision has sparked clear outrage throughout the world, a clear example of how cohesive and necessary our ethical code is. We must live by these rules, lest we be cast into the fiery pits of madness. Compassion should have its place, but never at the expense of our ethics, and never at the expense of a just society. Al-Megrahi should die in prison.
Update: Maybe there is another reason for his release.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
Grandpa was a quiet and gentle man. Grandma did most of the talking. He was over six feet tall and she was a little over five feet, feisty and independent. They obviously had agreed that he would make the big decisions and she would make all the small ones. All of the decisions were small. I was four years old when my brother and I were sent to live with Grandma and Grandpa, whom I called Papa, during World War II. My father was away, not at war because he had failed the medical, working on the railroad tracks and bridges. Read on →
Grandpa was not a storyteller. It was only later, when Grandma wasn’t around, that he told me a few stories about his life and parents. He never talked about the hard times during the Great Depression, but he said enough to encourage me in later life to research his family history. When he died all of Grandma’s and Grandpa’s personal things, letters and photographs were given to my older cousin because she was the only granddaughter. By the time I became interested in our family history everything had been thrown away except some old photographs. I started the long and frust Read on →
Responding to criticism that its soft drinks contribute to epidemic obesity in America, and that it hooks kids on the sugary sodas like Bill Cosby giving away Quaalude Jell-O shots to kindergarteners, and that it has funded research to confuse Americans about how horrible soft drinks are for human health, the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. said it is thinking doing something – but probably not. “Sure, we could recall all 600 billion soft drinks Americans drink on an average day, and you could make the case that these sugar-packed sodas contribute to the nation’s appalling weight gain, in the same way you could Read on →
For ten years I’ve lived in the Shenandoah Valley, enjoying it so much that when my son whom I came from England to live near, moved to Kansas, I chose to stay here. I’m keenly aware of this vast beautiful country extending from Virginia to California (twice visited) in the west and Montana in the north and I’ve another son and family in Arizona, but there are so many places in America I yearn to explore. When I told Virginian friends “I’m going on holiday to Kansas,” they mostly said “Huh.” I think it’s something to do with the fact that Kansas hasn’ Read on →