Compassion For A Mass Killer?

Scotland’s release of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the man convicted of killing 270 people in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, is an interesting story.  The stated reason for the release is that al-Megrahi, who is 57, has terminal prostate cancer, and he was released on “compassionate grounds.”  As a result, al-Megrahi served only 10 years of a life sentence.  After his release he flew home to Libya, where he received a hero’s welcome.

The reaction to the release has been swift and, not surprisingly, harshly critical.  I must confess I cannot accept the justification for the release.  Doesn’t “life” mean, in fact, “life”?  What difference does it make whether Al-Megrahi lived to a ripe old age before dying in a dank Scottish prison cell, or died in that same dank cell at an earlier age, due to prostate cancer?  The whole idea of a life sentence, in this case, was to deprive a-Megrahi of his freedom forever because he deprived 270 innocent people of their lives.

One of the ongoing debates after 9/11 is whether terrorists should be dealt with by the military, through the criminal justice system, or in some other fashion.  al-Megrahi’s release after serving only 10 years seems to make a mockery of the argument that the criminal justice system is the right means to determine and impose the punishment of terrorists.  Scotland gave al-Megrahi compassion that he did not deserve and that he never showed to the people he killed.  The relatives of the people he killed, and other civilized nations that are working desperately to thwart terrorism, have every right to be outraged.
Thever Lockerbie, Scotland, is carrying out the Lockerbie bombing that killed hundreds of people, is an interesting one.

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4 thoughts on “Compassion For A Mass Killer?

  1. i completely don’t agree with you. i have written a post about it on my blog if you are interested in a different point of view.
    my primary question would be ‘to what end keep him to die alone?’ who is being punished – his family? and is it not just for revenge that we like the idea of him dying in a ‘dank’ prison cell? (i am sure prison cells in scotland are warm and dry but it is hoped by many that they are mouldy and cold)
    justice is not about revenge; or it is not supposed to be. by letting him go home to die are we not proving that ‘civilized’ state of being we claim as why we are better than others?

    and this does not even raise the question of the very dodgy trial and his possible, if not probably, innocence.

    i say let the man go home and die – even the worst of the worst are loved by their mothers and families. let us not punish them too in our need for revenge.

    but thats just my slightly hippy opinion.

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  2. First of all, this is not subject matter to be twittered, tweept, twirped or text messaged on an IPhone. This is a very discerning look into an errant move against the concensus about terrorism that the vast majority of people hold dear.
    Suppose you were walking down the street and for no reason a terrorist blast ripped off your leg and an arm, and that was it for the rest of your life- would y0u want the perpetrater to go free, because he had a terminal disease?? Ridiculous.
    Think about what you are really saying; that random acts of unspeakable violence are O.K. with you.
    Sweetheart II Publishers

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  3. as it hapens i lost a brother to a random act of violence and i have no desire for the murderers family to have to suffer the death of their child. prison is enough – i voted against her being sent to her death. and yes – i would agree ot her being freed to die. i have nothing against her family and do not seek to punish them any more.

    in addition, i would rather you not call my opinion ridiculous!

    what you are saying is that to ‘make right’ the random act of violence, we must perpetrate a completely non random, well thought out and malicious act of violence against even more people

    you are entitled to that opinion – i just disagree with it

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  4. Pingback: The Lockerbie Bomber, Oil, And Justice « Webner House

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