I was going to write about the constant debate and general frustration about what should be done with paedophiles (if Mike doesnâ€™t adjust for American spellings, sorry â€“then again â€œpervertâ€ is spelled the same in both countries).
When I started drafting my piece for Mikeâ€™s blog about how to either deal with or reduce CSA two months ago, a 73 year old convicted paedophile had been murdered (See the end of the first article listed below for the short summary). As I got halfway through my rough draft, British police reported that a 52 year old offender who had been given a ludicrously light sentence in the past (four months â€“ UK judges are out to lunch unless you rob a bank), was murdered, after having already been burnt out of one home.
There were two predictable reactions. Reaction no.1 â€“ â€œGoodâ€. Reaction no.2 is what I call the â€œMarvel Comic Mentalityâ€ â€“ â€œYouâ€™re just as bad as the paedophile if you condone his murderâ€. I see these as two different extremes. Whilst survivors, unless they are extremely Christian and more forgiving than I, may gravitate towards the first reaction, neither extreme caters to victims, survivors, or those taking the journey between the two poles. It would be hardest on the natural children of any offender if their parent had been murdered, whether they themselves had been abused or not. This is another hidden dimension of taking the law into oneâ€™s own hands to kill an offender. In all three of these cases I can call them offenders because of their convictions. If an attack was carried out on someone who hadnâ€™t been convicted then that would cross my personal moral line. Vigilantes would lose my sympathy without the proof that can be put into the public domain by a criminal conviction.
Vigilantism isnâ€™t new, child molesters do get murdered, except that in the US and UK we leave prisoners to exact the death penalty for us behind bars whilst politicians, usually left wingers, sit around and prefer to believe the country is civilised. Sometimes itâ€™s not even about child abuse â€“ I could remember two cases of automotive deaths from drunken or reckless driving which have seen the killer drivers jailed for the full 10 years, now raised to 14. A driving victimâ€™s family would be lucky to receive half that sentence levied to the offender. One UK Law Lord with influence over sentencing policy had a son in jail in America. Being the UK, this wasnâ€™t seen as any kind of conflict of interest whatsoever as the sentences get lower and lower and sometimes a life sentence is handed out with less than ten years to serve, with the principle that they get two strikes and theyâ€™re out if they re-re-offend â€“ an insult to the first victim.
Thanks for bearing with my short history lesson/rant regarding the last 15 years of the British justice system. Suffice to say, trials are quick to roll around in the UK but the sentence is frequently derisory â€“ in a child abuse case, they may decline to prosecute at all. In America, it tends to be the opposite, a trial might take 18 months-2yrs to happen but depending on the state, the sentence could be permanent to terminal depending on the severity of the crime.
However, even across the pond with Meganâ€™s/Jessicaâ€™s laws, thereâ€™s no uniform way that sex offenders are treated nationwide. There have been attacks on signposted and notified offendersâ€™ properties as well as restrictions on movement in the wake of the â€œChild Name Lawsâ€ but American readers will have to let me know if any offender has actually been assassinated as a result of public notification and registration.
Iâ€™m happy to be corrected but I believe that simply because American sentences might be longer when convictions do happen, it makes the likelihood of revenge murders lower (prison aside). Itâ€™s also more likely to be an uncounselled grown-up victim taking revenge in many cases, or a close relative, rather than in these last two English cases, two thrown-together mobs. Thereâ€™s the other dimension of a shooting death being a little quick and that guns are still reasonably hard to obtain in England. That may explain the degree of violence involved in this latest case.
I just wish the people who wag their fingers and say â€œ[Murdering an abuser/revenge] is not the answerâ€, actually had time for a grown-up victim of child abuse of any description. Thereâ€™s a whole army of people out there crying crocodile tears about British Baby P because of his blond hair and blue eyes â€“ had this photogenic baby, killed by the adults in his home over an 18 month period and missed by 60 social workersâ€™ visits, survived to adulthood, they wouldnâ€™t have given a damn about him, or about helping him try to come to terms with his past.
If the abusers get to feel the same fear and menace and threat of violence, abuse and death to the same degree as they once subjected their victims to, then frankly a few more violent parents and/or paedophiles might think twice and if they cannot control themselves or their urges, will ultimately pay with their lives. At the present moment, until the British justice system balances punishment with rehabilitation, a few more English paedophiles will get murdered. As a survivor in transition, Iâ€™m zen about the issue, I wouldnâ€™t personally risk a prison cell for my abuser and I was helped by never seeing him again but Iâ€™m also not willing to condemn those that dish out instant justice either. Maybe thereâ€™s a little repressed envy coming through that they did anything to gain revenge rather than staying lost in their own heads.
Anyone who disagrees with taking the law into their own hands needs to get off their backsides and petition the government and judiciary for meaningful sentencing, which might keep vigilantes at bay.
See the UK Daily Mail Website for the article which inspired this piece, at the following link:
and the Baby P references: See
(and other links in right hand column)