Why treat other criminals differently to kiddie fiddlers?

It is a general rule of societies in the ‘civilised’ world to despise and ostracise paedophiles. We want them castrated, branded, not living among us, and really, I suppose, we want them dead. If we can’t have them dead, we at least want them locked up and the key thrown away.

To me, this is perfectly acceptable treatment for somebody who has ruined another human’s life. The bit I don’t understand is why our desire to treat offenders against humanity in this way stops with those into child pornography and child abuse. Why aren’t we doing this with everybody?

I don’t mean to distract from the living hell that an abused child carries with them into adulthood and for the rest of their life, but surely a person who holds another captive and tortures and punches them about in order to get them to hand over their old age pension, or those who have murdered, should equally be cast out from our society. Some might argue that taking a life is a far worse sentence for a victim than sexually abusing them. Yet we don’t want to inflict the castration, branding, exclusion from living among us, or death on anybody but the paedophile.

Am I alone in not getting this?

I’m all for an ‘offenders’ register, and ‘offenders’ who have comitted crimes in which there were victims being treated the same as the paedophiles. This is what all offenders deserve instead of almost gaining kudos and notoriety as if they’d effectively done nothing but a cool thing.

Only when we treat all criminals with the same disdain and disgust that we treat paedophiles with will we actually start to make our homes and daily lives safer and cast this evil from us.

4 comments

  1. It is a criminal offence to broadcast a pirate radio service, present on it or supply it. Those who provide alternatives are no different.

    Do you hold that we should view these criminals with the same contempt as sex offenders?

    Or are some criminals less criminal than others?

    Have you ever been involved in any criminal activity (regardless of whether you have been arrested and punished for the crime)?

    The law in some cases is challenged because of poor legislation. Despite that the law remains the law, and in your view we should hold any one who crosses that line with the same disdain.

    So put very simply, have you ever done anything that could be viewed by a court of law as a criminal offence, or do you know anyone that has and do you have this absolute disdain for them?

    I think we should be told.

    Frankie – DJ
    London Community Radio Project

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  2. Well!

    I would say that Frankie ( DJ ) has quite missed the point. There are small crimes and great big crimes. At the lower end, like parking on a double yellow or straying over the 30mph limit one might say that no penalty is justified.
    Chris England's question was whether a major crime is even more appalling if it includes elements of child abuse.
    I have some first hand info, since I know a murderer. He started writing to me because of his interest in pirate radio, but now writes about anything and everything. He had a friend who presumnably was homopohobic. This person befriended a homosexual and later said that he wanted to know' what it was like to think like a homosexual'. The two men ( the chap I know and his co defendant ) took the homosexual to a remote place and beat him to death.
    Now, my man says that he did not do the murder, but that he was present. The courts did not agree and both men got 15 years.
    When writing to me the chap says that from his cell window he can see the Nonces in the Nonce Wing of the prison. He has contempt for them.
    The point is that he and his pal ended a persons life, whereas the sex offenders may only have damaged the life of the person they offended against. It is strange heirarchy altogether.
    I think that the law of the land says that having served the due punishment, the offender is released and is considered as an equal to any other person. Due to the possibuiity of re-offending, a sex criminal may go on a register for ever. But is there a register for murderers, violent criminals etc ?
    If you accidentally shoot a young woman in some gand land revenge that has gone wrong you are a ' soldier ' and your community closes ranks around you. If some mental quirk causes you to sexually molest a young woman you are reviled for ever.
    Both crimes are utterly reprehensible, but while one is disgusting, the other has street cred.
    Surely that cannot be right.

    Peter Moore.

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  3. I never thought I would see this site discussing Jurisprudence – legal philosophy – but it's an interesting subject with the added bonus that there is no correct answer to any of these posed questions. To put in my own t'uppence worth and to cause more discussion or indeed argument I would suggest the following:-

    When the law deals with 'transgressors' and in particular those who commit serious crimes against other people .. ie murder, rape, paedophilia et al. it should be dealing with a) Punishment and b) rehabilitation. Nothing else. Of course there will be cries for hanging or flogging and sometimes for both. Internet chat forums are full of people trying to outdo each other with ever more outlandish punishments for offenders. Retribution is neither punishment or rehabilitation, it's pandying to the mob mentality. In any society there will be those whose behaviour is so far beyond what is tolerable that the criminal justice system needs to ensure that society is protected from them and indeed that they are protected from society.Sometimes that will mean whole life terms of imprisonment. So be it.

    When we come to discuss much more mundane offences (and by mundane I mean the things that most of us do from time to time .. speeding being an obvious example) then most of us are a bit more gung ho. If we are caught then most of us will pay the penalty and try not to be caught again. It does not necessarily prevent us from committing the same offence again. The only reason it is enforceable is that most people = the overwhelming majority = either abide by the law or accept the punishment when caught not obeying it. The only reason such law is enforceable is that the vast majority of people assent to it.

    What happens when a Government makes a law that the majority of affected people decide to ignore or deliberately flout? The imposition of the community charge in 1991 would be an example. In these instances the enforcement and the obeyance of law separate … I am of the view that what I consider to be contemptible law will be treated with contempt. In fact i would go as far as saying that there is almost a duty on people to withdraw their consent to abide by a contemptible law. When I do so – am I a criminal? … I would contend that I would be more criminal not to oppose a draconian or manifestly unfair piece of legislation….

    No easy answers – no correct answers either …

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  4. My point was based on this comment by Christopher

    “Only when we treat all criminals with the same disdain and disgust that we treat paedophiles with will we actually start to make our homes and daily lives safer and cast this evil from us”.

    Put another way who decides what is a serious crime and what is not?

    For example I drive my car at 33mph in a 30mph zone and a child walks out in front of me without looking, my stopping distance is higher enough, that the impact kills the child (this is based on the speed awareness course that you can offend rather than get 3 points on your licence in some cases).

    For any parent of such a child I potentially would be the biggest criminal on earth.

    I fully agree that serious personal crimes (rape, murder, child abuse and many more) are hideous and those responsible should never become heroes or cult figures amongst there peer group.

    My point hopefully put better this time is that not all criminals (by current legislation) should be held with disdain. Yet what many people would consider as a trivial criminal offence is quite capable of ruining many peoples lives when all goes wrong.

    I respect both Peter Moores and smithys comments but where do you draw the line?

    Frankie

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