Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.
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Many thanks for your understanding.
Following the killing of PC Beshenivsky, several people who should know better have been calling for the reintroduction of the death penalty for those who kill police officers. This is a pretty silly proposal, as anyone with a handful of brain cells can recognise (too harsh?).
First and foremost, why is the death of a police officer any more terrible than the death of someone with a different job? Why is it more terrible than the killing of a child? Heck, why is it more terrible to kill a single police officer than it is to kill a tower block full of civvies? Especially when you consider that police officers are actively remunerated for the risk that they may be harmed on duty?
Secondly, people who kill police, by definition, do not expect to be caught. They’re killing the police either in a moment of clouded judgement or because they think they’re going to get away. No criminal is going to stand there and say ‘Fair cop, guv, slap the ol’ han’cuffs on then’ just because killing a police officer carries the death penalty, because they’re not considering the penalty at the time of the crime.
Thirdly, if we go about killing people based on a single decision taken in a split second, set against the background of their whole life, why are we any better than the criminals?
This proposal serves no serious purpose other than to allow some barbaric form of satisfaction for the bereaved. And, frankly, I thought humanity was better than that.