The Good. The Bad. The Asinine.

You Are a Dancing Bear

Judging from recent comments on television and the internet, it would seem that I was the only person in the country who had not met and fallen in love with Thomas Kelly prior to his tragic death. That alone could explain the level of outrage at the criminal court daring to hand out a proportionate and just sentence.

Or is there, perhaps, another reason? Could it have something to do with the fact that the nation’s media picked it up and was able to find enough elements of ‘human interest’ to keep the ball in the air for long enough that the story sticks in our minds?

That might explain why nobody seems to give a shit about the man who was shot a week after, or the rather nice man who was beaten senseless and left in a coma the week before. Or the thousands who are assaulted, some fatally, every year.

It can’t just be that we remember who he is. There must be something else going on here, to explain why we’re all so outraged at the criminal justice system so arrogantly daring to simply do its job in spite of all our feelings.

I have an idea. I believe it might have something to do with the fact that mass media, over a couple of hundred years of operation, has discovered that there is nothing the middle class punter enjoys more than a little bit of self-righteous indignation. So, on the principle of giving the public what they want, they ensure that we are outraged by just verdicts, lenient verdicts, heavy verdicts, illegible street signs, the war in Afghanistan, anti-war protesters, or whatever else they think we’re incapable of perfectly understanding.

FACT: The criminal justice system has no remit to pander to public opinion. It’s only job is to deliver justice as defined by the law, without fear or favour, and without regard to pressure from any source, political or otherwise.

FACT: The sentence handed down in a criminal court has everything to do with the court’s assessment of the defendant’s culpability and almost nothing to do with the value of life.

FACT: What happened to Thomas Kelly was a tragic waste of life. Joining in with a media driven three ring circus, however, simply cheapens his memory.

FACT: If you are outraged at the Loveridge sentence and cannot claim to understand how the criminal justice system works or even what it is for – you are a dancing bear.

Category: Asinine


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