Blog piece by Abbie Maguire
“It’s a Thursday afternoon. The mantled sunlight filtering through my window has allowed a relaxed demeanour to fall over me and with the relentlessly adored bank holiday weekend behind us, I’m making the general assumption that I am probably one in few that feel this way.
A good juxtaposition for my mellow mood is how I felt a few weeks ago when I sat utterly shocked before my television, watching a city I had visited since I was a little girl burn in flames by many people of my own age. Whilst the topic of the London Riots has been exhausted by possibly every newspaper in the country, I don’t think the fact that, for once, Britain recovered thoroughly through the prevail of justice and the excellent, firm leadership of David Cameron has been recognised and or praised. London managed to do something that us as a nation aren’t particularly apt at, turning something unfortunate into something beneficial, something to gain governmental, policing and community knowledge from. This time, regardless of its rarity, we were fixated on the work of our members of parliament and public sector as they diligently undid the damage done by the reckless minority, and so, in my opinion, begins the crude awakening of British retribution.
For many years, I have found criminal and investigative programmes very addictive and interesting but have witnessed many injustices that can only be described as almost as shocking than the actual crime itself, as the episode draws to a close. I’ve seen friends and relatives’ eyes suffused with sorrow as they learn the indignant truth, as they see murderers locked up for a mere fourteen years or locked up for longer, but then freed to walk the streets years later like they are like everybody else, as if they have done no wrong.
As I diligently read my morning paper a little under two months ago, I read a chilling article about a boy who viciously killed his girlfriend with a shard of rock with the petty inducement of a free breakfast from a friend. I was utterly outraged that someone could inflict such pain and suffering on another human being at the tender age of sixteen. My immediate thought was that he was completely worthy of life time imprisonment but today, I came across an article revealing his sentence: only fourteen years. I’m now waiting for the article to inform me he has been freed on parol. I can see flashbacks of the James Bulgar murders; cold hearted, evil criminals, regardless of their age, who are allowed a second chance at life, of which one of them has already abused, when they have robbed life from an innocent little boy. James Bulgar was not only murdered, but tortured, and the justice system had failed him and his family, and crumbled before the public’s eyes. These of course, are two of a plethora of cases that behold the harsh reality of unacknowledged criminal magnitude.
As I heard David Cameron’s speech sternly warning the looters they would “feel the full force of the law” even as a proud Conservative, I was still a little skeptical. Perhaps it was my lack of faith in the British justice system living vicariously through my strong appreciation of the Tory Party. I thought, ok, these criminals will feel the full force of the law until the police would either give up in the search for them or go back on their word, making it seem our government has a harsh veneer but a weaker underskin and that we are far too afraid to instil discipline in our society. But with hundreds of arrests and the promise of moral reform, particularly in institutions like schools, it seems as though the justice system has got its long awaited breath of fresh air. It seems as though our faith in British justice system has been restored and now I’m waiting in hope that this retribution influences the way courts sentence other serious crimes like murders. If the looters felt the full force of the law, should that be the same for a human being who destroyed the lives of others who felt the full force of being ignored?