Thursday, November 10, 2005

*A Low Blow*

A.K.A. why we also need contratarian views in the media and why reading the ST is bad for my health.

Ms. Laurel Teo wrote what in my view was a very shameful article in the manner in which it insinuates that the activists against the death penalty are inconsistent in what they want as well as being opportunistic in the use of the Nguyen trafficking case because well "it won't take long for either for people to ask if it is too convenient that in championing Nguyen, the activists have found tremendous resonance in many Australians."

Bollocks. I know the people involved in this campaign and I know for a fact that the very hardworking organiser was doing this way before this case even became an issue on our shores. In fact, in an earlier email I had recommanded (and I'm not arrogant enough to think that I'm the only person with this idea) that we should take things a step at a time and focus on crimes like trafficking where there is no direct causal link with death (unlike murder) and not simply call for the outright abolition of the death penalty. Not least because of the ostensible tremendous public support as a from of retribution.

I am seriously very offended at the spurious argumentation that she offers. She effectively conceeds that she agrees with the arguments against the death penalty for drug trafficking (the lack of general or special deterrence) but simply brushes them aside and starts talking about the so-called inconsistency in the actions of the activist, particularly when she claims that Think Centre's desire to abolish the death penalty is inconsistent with the lack of noise over the other murder cases.

So is it necessarily inconsistent? One can easily argue that the death penalty is immoral and yet decide to take a more logical stance then campaign against murder cases knowing that it is doomed to failure. As she says so herself, "How popular would they be with the average Singaporean if they condemn the conviction of Anthony Ler as a gross act of injustice." I hope it is simply sloppy writing on her part and not a gross lie of a statement she makes. No one claims that Anthony Ler suffered a miscarriage of justice. *screams* IT IS NOT THE CONVICTION BUT THE SENTENCING WE HAVE PROBLEMS WITH. Bah humbug. And sorry, just because the average Singaporean thinks we should torture rapist doesn't mean that it is not a gross violation of human decency.

But more importantly, I am pretty certain that the anti-death penalty campaign wasn't as loud because of the lack of media attention locally much less overseas. Not to mention, the current organiser seems to be very very active in getting the word out.

But what is even more problematic is that she doesn't realise her argumentation leads her down to a merry path of nonsense. When you claim that there are some in their (Australian) society who have faltered on the consistency front, the operative word here is SOME. But even more fundamentally, of course people want vengence and vindictiveness, they want the punishment to be cruel, inhumane and unusual which is precisely why we do not give rights to victims in these circumstances.

More important Terrorism cannot cannot cannot be compared to drug trafficking or murder because the death penalty can easily be considered killing as part of a war. We can support war while opposing the death penalty just as we can support self-defence while opposing state-sanctioned murder. I've no idea what she fuzzy notion of terrorism is much less know if she has any principled stand on anything else. So unless she wishes to make the stand that we are in a legitimate WAR (as opposed to a idoimatic expression) against such such drug traffickers and murderers and people who think bad things about the President (yes, read the penal code, the literal wording is simply just thinking of harm agains the President...ha! You're thinking about it already aren't you?), she really needs to go back to her word processor.



At 11:09 PM, Anonymous rrrrrrrm said...

Rest assured there are such letter writers in other countries. And you are not the only person I know who is fed up with the paper.


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