Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Some good news

Child-killer Clifford Olson will continue to be a guest of the Attorney-General, after his application for parole was denied this morning. Under Canadian law, Olson can make a case for parole every 2 years. His initial strategy was to say he knew where other bodies were buried; now, bizarrely, he's claiming to have some knowlege about 9/11. Well, then he should write a book, and an extended prison sentence is the perfect venue for such endeavours.

Cases like Olson's really challenge my views on capital punishment. One reason I'm against it is that it's purely revenge, and as such, it compromises our humanity somewhat: there's no deterrence value. For some, revenge is enough. Hell, if any of Olson's victims were related to me, I'd likely be looking for a little revenge too, and I'd probably be okay with compromising my humanity to get it. It's human nature to want to strike back at someone who's hurt you.

But the other reason I'm against captial punishment is that it's a slippery slope. If Olson's crimes got him a lethal injection rather than life in prison, what about the next guy down the line whose crimes weren't as heinous as Olson's, who got 10 years in prison. Does he now get life? And the guy after him, who got 5 years, is this now upped to 10? If it dominoes all the way down to the kid who gets caught with a gram of pot, it could be the difference between probation and actual jail time. Which would have major psychological repercussions for the kid, and may even put him on the road to becoming an actual criminal.

Clifford Olson is a slimy piece of shit. It makes me cringe when he gets his name in the news every couple of years. His biennial parole hearings are no doubt traumatic for the families of his victims, and my heart goes out to them. But to paraphrase Dr. H.S. Thompson, "Even a werewolf has a right to a parole hearing". The fact that even this slimiest of scumbags has rights under Canadian law, and Canadian law sees fit to keep him right where he is, is evidence that the system is working.