On Compassion and the Release of the Lockerbie Bomber
Compassion is always preferable to non-compassion, because when we exercise compassion we grow in our humanity. When we insist on revenge, on a punishment that no longer serves a purpose, we shrink and become less than what we are capable of being.
Provided, of course, that our sympathy or empathy for one person does not create harm for others.
Is Megrahi still a danger? Will his release make Scotland, Britain and the world safer or lead to more violence?
If he's old and dying, presumably he won't be plotting more bombings. Would keeping a dying man imprisoned have a deterrent effect on future airline bombers? I doubt it--those who seek martyrdom are not easily worrying about dying old and sick in jail. If they were, they'd choose a different path.
Would insisting on keeping Megrahi in prison create more bitterness, more anti-Western sentiment? Quite possibly. Letting him go home, improving relations with Libya and forging other ties may lance some of the toxic resentment of the West--or at least of the Scots.
Can we get MacAskill to emigrate and run for Justice Minister here? Perhaps he might free Leonard Peltier, an American Indian Movement activist who has been imprisoned for the last thirty-three years on perjured testimony by a tainted witness for the alleged murders of two FBI agents in 1975. Peltier, who is aging and whose health is deteriorating, was recently denied parole, with his next hearing set for 2024.
Posted by: Wolf-of-Badenoch | September 2, 2009 12:16 PM
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