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anthony-matthews
28th February 2012

Crime and retribution: there is one less bicycle in Beijing.

 This, if you happen to be reading, bicycle thief, is all about you. Why do we try to rehabilitate offenders? We do it because the criminal is a victim as well; it is not his fault he is forced to steal from his neighbour to scratch a living in this harsh and brutal world. He […]
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 This, if you happen to be reading, bicycle thief, is all about you. Why do we try to rehabilitate offenders? We do it because the criminal is a victim as well; it is not his fault he is forced to steal from his neighbour to scratch a living in this harsh and brutal world. He is but a product of his environment and a ghostly agent tracing out his own life.

Well I disagree. He is a criminal, a vagrant, a hater, a rogue and a defiler of the laws of the land. He doesn’t deserve to be wrapped in cotton wool and told that he really hurt peoples’ feelings.  I recently had my bicycle stolen and – as you may be able to tell – my heart retched with pure hatred and anger, knowing that another human being has stolen an incredibly important possession of mine; and that, if caught, he will be treated as more of a victim than me and be rehabilitated.

 And what is this strange obsession with rehabilitation?  Is that not a wicked and depraved idea unto itself; the idea that you can, through some mechanical system, change the very fabric of somebody’s brain? Change their very soul to what the state demands? It is depraved. Punishment is a much more humane system than rehabilitation, you need only read ‘A Clockwork Orange’ to understand what the ultimate aim of such a rehabilitant system really is.

Alas, we need punishment, not rehab, for these people. The idea that such people are sick is a lie. They are simply evil people who are prepared to suppress those instincts you and I would not dare ignore: empathy, compassion and a sense of solidarity with our fellow creatures. Why is it that their warped sense of morality makes them such victims? How is it Victorian to suggest that people who commit crimes are bad people? And why did they steal my fucking bicycle?

Punishment need not be the cat-o’-nine-tails or the birch; we have prisons to reprimand people with in the modern world. All I ask is a reasonable loss of liberty and time for criminals, I don’t think that six months for stealing a bicycle is excessive. We need prisons because the criminal and I are different in one very important respect; I am not a criminal. I am not the kind of person to hunt this criminal down and viciously beat them, steal from them or destroy their property. We need prisons and punishment for the state to enact its retribution against the offender.

But there are of course a great number of other issues; the police themselves are rather pathetic (not the individuals but the way in which they are organised) in their pointless visit after the crime. The disinterest heard when on the phone to head office and the unending sense that ‘petty’ theft is simply a matter of fact, that I should feel bad for hating the criminal and that it was somehow my fault; had I not only had a thicker chain on my bike or put it in a less obvious place.

So, yes, I do hate Criminals. I think they are evil and deserving of punishment.

Disagree? Tweet us @mancuniondebate or email [email protected]


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