Opinion · Politics

Should Ian Brady Be Allowed to Die?

This week, we’ve been hearing on the news about Ian Brady and how he’s appealing to be allowed to return to a mainstream prison, so that he’s no longer force-fed by tube and can resume his hunger strike. For those of you who don’t know (and I’d be surprised if there were many) Ian Brady, along with his then-partner Myra Hindley, committed a series of kidnap-murders during a two and a half year period in the late 1960′s. The killings, known as the Moors murders, due to the locations of the graves that two of the victims were found in, were five children, aged between 10 and 17, 4 of whom were sexually assaulted.

Brady has been described as a sadist and a sexual psychopath and, even during recent times, has shown little or no remorse for what he’s done, refusing to reveal the location of his fourth victim, Keith Bennett. He’s described his actions as an ‘existential experience’ and has mocked the criminal justice system by claiming that he’s used ‘method acting’ to maintain an insanity plea.

In 1999, he went on hunger strike, deciding that he no longer wants to be alive and claims it’s his right to be allowed to die. He’s quoted as saying “Myra gets the potentially fatal brain condition, whilst I have to fight simply to die. I have had enough. I want nothing, my objective is to die and release myself from this once and for all. So you see my death strike is rational and pragmatic. I’m only sorry I didn’t do it decades ago, and I’m eager to leave this cesspit in a coffin.“

So, readers, do you believe he should be allowed to die?

I wrote recently about the Woolwich murders and about how I’d seen and heard many people saying that the two attackers should face the death penalty for what they did. Yet, here’s Ian Brady asking for death and we’re force feeding him to keep him alive. How does that sit with you?

On principal, I don’t agree with the death penalty. I understand the arguments for it; the reduction of costs, the removal of risk of recidivism, the message to other criminals. However, we don’t have the death penalty, so this in itself is a different issue.

I, personally, think Ian Brady should be made to live out every miserable second of the rest of his life, even if it means force feeding him. My reasons are these:

1. Brady’s victims weren’t allowed to choose the terms of their own deaths. Their young lives were callously taken and their families left to endure the agony.

2. When Brady committed those crimes and was convicted, his liberty was taken away, therefore he’s not at liberty to make the decision to end his life when a judge has ruled that he be punished.

3. Allowing a violent criminal to decide when to end his life, when we ban legitimate euthanasia for people who’ve suffered long and painful illnesses would make an absolute mockery of everyone who’s suffered on their deathbed, unable to consciously decide when enough is enough.

(If you want to read about people who should have been given the right to die, read up on Terri Schiavofollow, or read about Robert Latimerfollow, a man imprisoned for euthanising his severely disabled daughter)

Given the fact that Brady has been witnessed eating soup and toast while on his supposed hunger strike, all of this strikes me as his last desperate attempt to whip up a media-circus around himself, giving him the attention that he thinks he deserves. The man is the embodiment of pure evil and shouldn’t be allowed a release from suffering, given that it’s not even a fraction of the suffering he’s inflicted on others. He should be left in a room with no means of entertainment or means to kill himself, made to live in purgatory for the rest of his days.

The picture below is a portrait of each of his five victims. These are the names and faces that we should be remembering. Not those of their killers.

 Capture1

 John Kilbride – Lesley Ann Downey – Keith Bennett – Pauline Reade – Edward Evans

Opinion · Personal · Politics

The Death Penalty – What’s Your View?

Capital punishment was abolished in the United Kingdom in part because of the case of Timothy Evans, an innocent man who was hanged in 1950.

There’s been a lot of talk about the death penalty floating about in the last few months, due to some horrible world events being beamed at us through the news. The Boston Bombers, the Woolwich murderers, the start of the April Jones murder trial. I’ve seen a lot of slogans and pictures on Facebook that suggest that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes should be put to death (which is a moot point in all but the case of the Boston Bombers, because although Massachusetts isn’t a death penalty state, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is being charged for Federal crimes which carry the death penalty regardless of where they are committed) but I wonder if the people calling for death and baying for more blood have really thought it through?

Firstly, could you say without a shadow of a doubt, that you could be the person to administer the lethal injection, flip the switch on an electric chair or gas chamber? Sure, you don’t have to, you aren’t the executioner, but surely if you call for death you should have the courage of your convictions? Could you look a human being in the eye with 100% certainty of their guilt and send them to their grave? I’m not sure I could.

Secondly, I struggle massively with the thought of how flawed our legal system can be. I have huge respect for police officers who enforce our laws and criminal lawyers who do their best to secure convictions, but there have been cases of innocent men and women being incarcerated. Imagine if we’d excuted Barry George, the man wrongly convicted of killing Jill Dando, who spent SEVEN years in prison before evidence proved him innocent? And what about Timothy Evans, a man whose wrongful hanging was the very reason that Capital Punishment was abolished in the UK?

Another thing that bothers me is this; I firmly believe that execution is still based on religious doctrine, the concept that a person will meet their judgement in the afterlife and spend eternity burning in hell. This is simply not an idea I subscribe to, so from my point of view, killing a criminal is releasing them from life and therefore the consequences of their actions.

I’m not saying that the system of incarceration is perfect; it puts a huge strain on governments, the rate of recidivism is ridiculously high with most crimes and, if the media is anything to go by, prison is less of a punishment these days with gyms, libraries and access to video games. But I’m not sure that I agree with the death penalty either.

From a very personal place, a real hot button for me is the issue of paedophilia. I recall a few years ago watching a Louis Theroux documentary based in a maximum security prison in the USA which contained some of the most dangerous sex offenders in the country and they were running a programme of rehabilitation which claimed to be able to ‘cure’ people of paedophilia and used voluntary castration as a means of removing urges. I firmly, strongly, wholly believe that there is NOTHING that can be done to cure a paedophile, so if these people are to remain a persistent danger to children, what’s the point of allowing them to remain on the planet? But, again, could you be the one to flick the switch?

I’d be curious to hear your opinions on this; it’s one of those subjects that I go back and forth on and never seem to come to any sort of conclusion about and I don’t know if I ever will, but I’d love to know where you stand on the issue.