Too much emphasis on the rights of criminals

Several years ago in Brisbane I witnessed a couple of thieves escaping from a house they had burgled. It happened very early in the morning. I awoke at 4 a.m to the sound of scrambling outside our building. Two young men had laden their pockets with stolen goods which were weighing them down. They were trying to make their way along the boardwalk of the Brisbane River. So I phoned the police.

I gave the police a description of the two men and very soon they were caught trying to get away. The man in the house next door had been woken by one thief in his bedroom.

The police asked me to write a report and a few months later I was invited by the police to make a victim impact report at the trial. How did their actions affect me? They were trying to make these hoods realise what harm they had caused. I declined the invitation. What happened to those thieves did not interest me one bit.

I laughed at the excuse the thieves had given for burgling. They needed the money to pay rent! You may be interested to learn that in Australia it is quite possible for a tenant to remain in his rented property for months without paying rent. It takes many court orders by the landlord to evict non-paying tenants. In fact, there are some families who live for free in other people’s properties by moving from one to another without real estate agents checking on their past non-payment. This is because non-paying tenants are viewed as victims in Australia. There is rarely any sympathy for the landlord who may be depending on the rent for his retirement income.

That is not to say that there aren’t any landlords from Hell out there, but it is definitely not true that every non-paying tenant is some kind of victim of society. I know for a fact that landlords are happy to accept lower rents just to secure a reliable tenant “who pays on time”.

So much for the excuse these two thieves had given. My sympathies are with the neighbour who had woken to the noise of a thief next to his bed.

If I had one wish for 2010 it’s that perpetrators of crime should be regarded as criminals and that the people they hurt should have genuinely equal rights under the law. The past twenty years have seen a harmful shift towards calling everybody a victim with more emphasis on calling the criminal a victim of something or other. His parents didn’t love him. They didn’t give him a Nintendo for his birthday. They made him take out the garbage… blah blah.

The result of all this “abuse” may well have produced a naughty and maladjusted crim, but it ain’t necessarily so. There are many people on this planet who have had it tough and they don’t resort to crime. Some of them benefit from their harsh experiences and become stronger, successful human beings.

I realise that all this political correctness and euphemisms such as the use of the terms “militants” and “freedom fighters” to describe terrorists are the result of society trying to make amends for issues in the past. Perhaps we were too harsh on criminals in the past, particularly in the Nineteenth Century, but we now have gone too far the other way.

Let’s face it, if Hitler were brought to trial today he would be offered the best defence lawyers for free. He would be described as mummy’s darling who never got over the beatings that daddy gave him. He would be described as a failed artist who had to resort to being a rent boy to support himself and he would be given rehab treatment to make himself feel less guilty about having an incestuous relationship with his niece who then killed herself.

Well, no wonder he went and murdered so many millions, poor baby!

It’s also time that we stopped including the suicide bomber among the dead after an attack. He or she should not be counted as part of the tally because it is offensive to his victims to be lumped together with their villainous murderer. I feel very strongly about this point.

So why am I writing about this topic today? Well, last night another lone Indian student was attacked on his way to work. He died as a result of this attack. If and when they catch the culprit who did this, I hope he won’t just get community service for a couple of weeks.

p.s This is what the Indian victim’s flatmate said about the attackers.

“If they find someone alone they just beat [them] because they know nothing is going to happen after that.

“What will happen? Police will not do anything, they will just take them to the jail or just let them sit there, they will give them food and all facilities so they’re not scared of anything.”

See what I mean?

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