Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Australian Drug Smugglers and British Soccer Fans

In recent weeks, Australia has been tuned to its TV sets on a matter that involved two Australian men being executed in Indonesia for drug smuggling. There are several issues here.

One is that death is too harsh a penalty for drug smuggling, and that more humane treatment is necessary. Another is that these men made Australia look bad in a foreign country.

When English soccer fans made asses of themselves during the 1998 World Cup in France, the English sports minister called them a bunch of drunken brain-dead louts. He wasn't trying to excuse their behavior; he made it clear that the English government did not support it. The Australian government must make clear that it does not support these people's behavior. Then it must say that the punishment given out to them was inhumane, and that the contemporary world deserves better.

Among people commenting on this matter, one – an Australian – stated that his compassion resources were already highly taxed by people undergoing severe oppression, and that he had none left for the men who went into a foreign country and broke its laws. Certainly people who break a law in a foreign country make their home country look bad. That does not merit capital punishment; it merits recognition that it is a wrong thing to do.

So there you have it. Death punishment is too harsh for the crime committed; but these people are clearly in the wrong. They should have been extradited to Australia and tried there. And if that had been the case, the Australians would have been able to tell these people just what they think of them and how much of an embarrassment to Australia they have been.


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