When Compassion Goes Too Far

My faith as a Christian dictates certain things. Things like respect, honesty, love and compassion are among them. There are other things that my faith teaches, things that not many people realize are also a part of it.

Such as justice. We are not to take our own justice, much as we’d like to sometimes. The New Testament specifically says that Christians are to obey the law; it also says that the moral law (separate from the ancient ceremonial law of Leviticus), simplified in the Ten Commandments, is to be upheld staunchly. Yes, God commands us to forgive, but the short-term consequences cannot be ignored, lest humanity fall into complete anarchy.

Today, a Scottish judge upheld his promise to release Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi from a British prison on “compassionate grounds.” It’s a uniquely British law: a convicted criminal can be released on compassionate grounds if they’re terminally ill or very, very old. I would applaud the concept were it not for the victims who are being left behind by it–and the criminals who now bank on it. Oh, and Al-Megrahi’s crime.

Al-Megrahi is the only man who has ever been convicted for his part in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

On December 21, 1988, the quiet town of Lockerbie was shattered in the middle of the night when the Clipper Maid of the Seas–the Boeing 747-121 that was designated as Pan Am 103–blew up and disintegrated over the town. All 259 souls on board the plane along with 11 Scots on the ground were killed in the tragedy. The investigation turned up something mind-numbing.

A hard-shell brown Samsonite suitcase packed with a mishmash of odd clothes (including BabyGro infant jumpers, tartan trousers and Slalom and Yorkie-brand herringbone clothes) was the culprit. With the very strange assemblage of clothing was a Toshiba Bombeat radio/cassette player stereo packed with Semtex-H and a Mebo timer (among other things, including detonators). The clothing and an umbrella were traced to a store in Malta. The bomb, once recreated, sent a chill down the spines of investigators. A practically identical device had been seized just two months before in Germany during the arrest of several Jihadists.

The evidence against Al-Megrahi and his co-conspirator, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, was overwhelming yet it took nearly ten years to come to any conclusion about whether they were the bombers. Libya willingly turned the two over under a laundry list of stipulations, among them that they’d never be interrogated and that there would be no jury–only a panel of three Scottish judges. It wasn’t until May of 2000 that they were finally brought to trial.

Fhimah was unanimously found not guilty. Al-Megrahi, however, was equally as unanimously found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

Not long after, a movement began in Great Britain. Claims were made that Al-Megrahi had been unfairly tried and that he was innocent. A contingent of Brits have latched onto this, and I liken them to 9/11 truthers here in the States. They have little to no evidence, but because their culture is super-liberal and they react with their emotions instead of gauging their response intelligently, many believed the claims that Al-Megrahi was innocent and began to call for a new trial.

What else can we expect from a nation that banned civilian ownership of guns and, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, continue to say it’s the best decision they’ve ever made?

Several months ago, Al-Megrahi was in the middle of his second appeal and his opportunity to prove his innocence when the British medical system (no better in the prisons than it is in the populace) found what they’d failed to find in this guy before: he had prostate cancer, and it was very advanced. The medical system failed to find a treatable form of cancer in time and he was given months to live. No second opinion, just one doctor’s word.

Now things changed. Now, he didn’t have to prove his innocence at all–all he had to do was drop the appeal to be eligible for a release on compassionate grounds due to his terminal illness. He dropped his appeal. Today, Moammar Quaddafhi sent his private jet to ferry Al-Megrahi back to Libya from Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow.

The murdering bastard received a hero’s welcome.

We always hear about gross miscarriage of the law. The press loves to play up stories of out-of-control cops, judges and juries. Liberals love to tout stories about freed criminals who were falsely accused and imprisoned. But what about cases like this? What recompense do we have when compassion goes too far? What do we tell the surviving victims when the beast who showed absolutely no humanity in his act of cruelty is let go? That too many people question his conviction? That we’re better than he is?

We ARE better than he is. That’s why he was behind bars. I’m sick to death of British narcissism, that national pride that they’re superior to Americans because they’re more compassionate somehow. I’ve got news for you guys across the pond: the thugs in your society are emboldened by your stupidity. They rely on it because they know it’ll help them get away with what they’ve done. You’re facing an entire generation of hooligans who won’t care what’s right and what’s wrong because you’ve failed to teach them that there are consequences for the evil things you do.

You keep your self-absorbed version of “compassion.” I’ll keep my right to defend myself and the bad guys behind bars.

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6 thoughts on “When Compassion Goes Too Far

  1. Was he really released because it was the compassionate thing to do? Was he released because British and American oil companies stand to cash in big now that Libya is back in better graces with the rest of the world?

  2. Al-Megrahi was convicted of a very henious crime few can ever match. I do not dispute that.

    I am o.k. with him being released. He is dying. That fact does not change. I was not o.k. with him being allowed to return to Libya. If his family wished to see him, then they can travel to Scotland to see him. Why some sort of “house arrest” deal was not struck amazes me.

  3. This may be genuine compassion from the Scottish system but my cynical side thinks it is more likely to help relations between the UK and Libya for business reasons.
    I suppose I feel sorry that he has prostate cancer but I would feel more compassion if he hadn’t been involved in murder. Call me old fashioned but he should do the crime. I’m sure convicts die of natural causes in prison but who cares? I know, not very Christian but the reality is they are being punished for their crimes and it’s not like prisoners don’t have access to medical care (I’m not saying it’s the best but better than nothing). I think they will see that any financial gains they get because of this will be offset by the disapproval and anger from their own citizens.
    AndyB, NH.

  4. “I’m sure convicts die of natural causes in prison but who cares?”

    Their families for starters. We are all loved by someone.

    There are some crimes that are so henious that even compassionate release is not warranted. Former Manson Family member Susan Atkins is terminally ill with brain cancer. She is confined to hospital. She requires round the clock care. She’s been denied parole again. She may never get out. Whether she should is a matter of opinion.

    I would favor releasing her under a house arrest setup. Her illness leaves her bedridden. But, the punishment aspect can be continued by denying her visitors other than family.

  5. “I’m sure convicts die of natural causes in prison but who cares?”

    Their families for starters. We are all loved by someone.

    John,

    Good point, I suppose I sound a bit callous there. However, having had a family member raped by an individual who committed multiple rapes, assaults and murders, I would have no pity for that criminal whatsoever! I think it also speaks to convicts receiving more rights than victims do.
    As for the Manson Family member, I wonder how much of a difference it would make for her to have round the clock care outside of the prison system? The end result will be the same and the victim’s families still endure the loss of their loved ones. It’s not an easy answer in every case.
    AndyB, NH.

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