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True Detective October 1995
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Whenever a murder shocks the nation there is always a knee-jerk reaction demanding restoration of the death penalty. Three child-murders hit the headlines on one day – to be swiftly followed by the report of a boy’s body being found on a golf-course in Northern Ireland – and everybody is roused to deep compassion for the families of the victims and immense loathing for the killers. What kind of nation would we be if we didn’t respond in this way? And yet civilised behaviour dictates that we should not retaliate in anger but strive to rationalise our outrage. It’s hard to do, and that is where the law comes into it, putting the brakes on society’s excesses. It does not always succeed, and hates to admit its errors, but it is all we have to prevent us from becoming a lynch-mob society. The law is often wrong – look at Stefan Kiszko who served 17 years for a child-murder of which he was wholly innocent! Imagine our horrendous shame if, in the first flash of anger, a group of vigilantes had managed to get at him!
Have the executions in any story in this issue achieved anything for the greater good of mankind? The Bentley case is a prime example.
We have a story of a man who served 20 years on Death Row and was then put to death. But we don’t provide the answers as simply as that.