Support for Scotland's Decision to Release Dying Lockerbie Bomber Inmate

Here is the statement of Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill's on the release and return to Libya of the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi:

It is quite clear to the medical experts that Al-Megrahi has a terminal illness, and indeed that there has recently been a significant deterioration in his health... It therefore falls to me to decide whether he should be released on compassionate grounds.

....Our justice system demands that judgment be imposed but compassion be available. Our beliefs dictate that justice be served, but mercy be shown. Compassion and mercy are about upholding the beliefs that we seek to live by, remaining true to our values as a people. No matter the severity of the provocation or the atrocity perpetrated.


For these reasons – and these reasons alone – it is my decision that Mr Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi, convicted in 2001 for the Lockerbie bombing, now terminally ill, be released on compassionate grounds and allowed to return to Libya to die.

TalkLeft supports the decision. I wish the our justice system shared those values. Susan Atkins should be released to die at home too. Gov. Schwarzengger today said he won't block release for Deborah Peagler, another dying inmate serving a life sentence for murder. We need more of these decisions, not fewer.

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    This has more to do then with just a single (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Slado on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:07:55 PM EST
    criminal as evidenced by the fact that when he returned to Lybia he was given a hero's welcome.

    Scotland should ahve gone out of it's way to give him good medical treatment even moving him from the prison to the hospital but he should have stayed in prison.

    If he is that sick why does it matter if he dies in a hospital bed in Lybia as opposed to Scotland.

    while I agree mercy has it's place I don't see how letting a man responsible for such terrible crimes spend his last days in relative freedom is mercy.   It is more like forgiveness that the state has no place giving.

    Sad day for the families of the victims.

    Mercy is certainly different than forgiveness (5.00 / 0) (#77)
    by MrConservative on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 10:48:02 PM EST
    But why should someones stay in prison depend upon how forgiving the victims family is?  

    It shouldn''t (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by BobTinKY on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:44:50 AM EST
    anymore than someone should be put to death because of the victimized family grief and anguish.

    There is a reason why criminal cases are styled as the State v. defendant.


    Disgusting (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by DaveOinSF on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:45:04 PM EST
    Justice failed here.

    Indeed (none / 0) (#136)
    by JL on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 11:05:45 PM EST
    He was sentenced to die in jail for the crime he committed.  He was dying in jail as intended and deserved and mandated by justice.



    The quality of mercy is not strained (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by Radiowalla on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 11:14:00 PM EST
    "The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
    It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
    Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
    It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."

    A somewhat ghoulish meditation, given these circumstances, I would say.

    Why couldn't this prisoner have been given the mercy of good hospice care within prison?  Why couldn't his family have visited him there to say their goodbyes?  Why did he need to go home in much publicized triumphal march, causing anguish to all the families of his victims?   I think his release was a terrible mistake.

    a good point. (none / 0) (#82)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 11:41:36 PM EST
    As I said somewhere, we are never privy to the real reasons for government action. Official rhetoric only serves to provide simplistic themes for the lives of us little people -- press fodder to cover complex government strategies. Usually, there is a much more sensible solution to the problems ostensibly addressed by government action than the rationalizations which officials give for those actions. Obviously, it's more complicated than mercy.

    Nonetheless, having officials talk of such things as mercy is a welcome relief from the rhetoric of hate and condemnation. And that rhetoric effects the way people behave, for those who believe it, at least. And even for some of us who don't, but recognize it's role as the music for the dance.



    Maybe it's just late and I'm tired (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by shoephone on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 11:45:49 PM EST
    But I get dizzy with the way you talk in circles.

    I'll try to think (5.00 / 0) (#84)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 11:54:47 PM EST
    more linearly, but I've just about burned out on all that. It leads nowhere. I have two themes here. Mercy is good. It is a valuable human virtue. And, governments lie. That may be a circle, but I think both points are true. If you will explain my contradictions, I will try to resolve them!

    Wow. Nobody in America today.. (4.83 / 6) (#4)
    by pluege on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 07:11:38 PM EST
    could make a statement like that: a defense of compassion and mercy, and not have the wrath of venomous bullying neanderthals reign down on them, get resoundingly trashed in the media, receive umpteen death threats, and generally be made to feel wrong and feeble for considering compassion and mercy as valuable attributes of a decent society. We have gorillas as leaders by comparison, including the supposed highest minds in the land claiming that its OK to put innocent people death so long as they were convicted in a legal process. We hold in high esteem the likes of disgusting human feces such as coulter and limbaugh; we give great power and responsibility to the basest of immature ignoramuses such as palin, bush, reagan, and virtually all republican leaders.

    US society has not only allowed, but supported the republican/conservative plutocratic class turning our society into howling barbarians, with nary a shred of intelligence, compassion, or decency...pathetic really, if not so terribly grotesque and destructive.

    I do imagine (none / 0) (#76)
    by MrConservative on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 10:45:51 PM EST
    The the politicians in Scotland are taking a lot of heat over this.  

    Obviously, this (4.80 / 5) (#2)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 07:04:03 PM EST
    reasoning is something Americans don't understand:

    Equally, we have values that we seek to live by, even if those who perpetrate crimes against us have not respected us or shown any compassion. Here is a dying man. He didn't show compassion to the victims, American or Scottish. That does not mean that we should lower ourselves, debase ourselves, or abandon our values.

    He was justly convicted, but we're allowing him some mercy to return home to die.

    The capacity for this kind of higher order moral reasoning has been erased from the American mind by the conservative movement. I wish we could get it back, or I wish I could move to Scotland. It's not the prison stuff that bothers me as much as the fact that we just don't "get it" anymore. What have they done to us?

    Does the fact that he is dying change anything (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by nyjets on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 07:12:23 PM EST
    Yes, he is dying. However, does it change one bit what he did,or who he is. He is a murder. THe fact that he is dying does not change that. I have no problem with him being moved to a hosipital under prison guard. HOwever, he should not be allowed to go free. For what he did, he should die in prison.
    Let me emphasis, I am not saying he should be mistreated. He should get good medical care. However, he should not be allowed to go free.

    The fact that he is dying (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 07:25:06 PM EST
    does matter. It does matter. Mercy is a defensible human value. It has merit. It transcends "an eye for an eye" and other simplistic "spreadsheet-based" moral reasoning systems. As I get older, and closer to the unknown, I understand it more.

    I have enemies. What has been done to me and my family is beyond criminal and sadistic. I have learned other ways of dealing with anger and rage and especially the desire for retribution. There is a system of moral reasoning where this makes sense. I am sorry you can't understand it. I hope some day you can.


    We are ALL dying (2.00 / 0) (#92)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 05:34:53 AM EST
    Does that mean we should open the prisons and let everyone out?

    I disagree (none / 0) (#14)
    by nyjets on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 07:39:11 PM EST
    Murders like the bomber do not deserve mercy, ie getting out of prison early. (Let me emphasis, I am not advocating torture.) Having him and other murders die in prison is not retribution IMO. It is justice.
    Letting him go free in my mind is saying that what he did is okay when it is clearly not. (I am NOT saying however, that this is what you and others are saying. Let me be clear on that point).
    While he is dying, he is still the same person who bombed a plane, killing everyone board. A murder is still the same person who took the life of another human being. THe circumstances of the crime are unchanged.
    ALso, something to consider, some people have been given 6 months to live but go on for several years. THe notion that there is a chance that he can be a free man for years not just month I find to be somewhat disturbing.

    Therein lies the difference (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:05:09 PM EST
    in our reasoning.

    Murders like the bomber do not deserve mercy.

    Mercy is not given because it is deserved. That is the difference in our reasoning.

    This is a political act for oil, and everyone knows it. Our corporate governments do not function on moral reasoning. They put on these plays for us, giving us the symbolic themes for our lives. The point is, the symbolism in these plays is important for the human experience of those of us who are not ultimately powerful, and to introduce some higher order moral reasoning on the stage is refreshing.


    I wanna shake your hand.... (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:26:17 PM EST
    James...I couldn't dream of expressing your most important point better.

    Very well said sir...mercy is never given because it is deserved, the receiver is irrelevant.

    I've never been a religous man, but that beautitude sh*t gets me everytime...blessed are the merciful.


    There is no way (5.00 / 4) (#31)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:38:43 PM EST
    I could comprehend justifying the quality of my life with what I deserve. I therefore can't impose that on others.

    What proof do you have that this (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:01:08 PM EST
    is a political act for oil vs an act of just plain ole everyday stupidity?

    I don't have any (none / 0) (#46)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:08:46 PM EST
    proof. I suspect if anyone did, things would have turned out differently!

    Again I disagree (none / 0) (#33)
    by nyjets on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:40:34 PM EST
    "Mercy is not given because it is deserved."

    In some cases mercy should only be given under certain circumstances.
    Some killer do deserve mercy.
    Someone who strikes back at his abuser, ie, a battered wife killing her abusive husband deserves mercy.
    I beleive that someone who commits minor robbery and property damage should recieve mercy.
    But a mass murder like the bomber does not deserve mercy.


    Mercy is not the (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:57:35 PM EST
    same thing as mitigating factors. That is, you are saying that some people who commit crimes are less culpable than others because of circumstances or because of their own behavior. That is true, but taking those things into account in making decisions about their treatment is not the same thing as mercy. That is justice. Mercy is something else.

    Mercy is not in that category. It is not "traded for" or deserved because of actions. It is the pure human spirit of good will on the part of the person who grants it, regardless of the circumstances.

    I think you are confusing mercy with something else that is accounted for in the legal system -- the circumstances of the crime. Mercy is extra-legal. As stated by kdog, the "receiver [of mercy] is irrelevant." All the meaning in an act of mercy is in the person who grants it.


    Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven described (none / 0) (#119)
    by MKS on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 01:35:52 PM EST
    basic Christian dogma well:  "Hell, kid, we all deserve it."   He was talking about who deserved to die....or be shot....

    The Christian idea of mercy is that no one deserves it--it is not about being fair or just.  No one deserves Salvation but it is a gift given by virture of Jesus's sacrifice....The potential of that idea is immense.....if it were ever applied in real life.

    Basic Christian theology encourages mercy.

    The Amish practiced Christian mercy when their kids were shot in a schoolhouse....

    Vengence, justice and punishment should not be the reason people are in prison....Protecting society should be.


    The killer was dead (none / 0) (#129)
    by nyjets on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 03:15:57 PM EST
    You are talking apple and oranges when you mention the Amish shooting. The killer was dead. There was noone to punish.

    "Vengence, justice and punishment should not be the reason people are in prison...."
    Justice andn punishment are also good reasons why people should be in prison. They are just as important as protecting society.


    I think what you call mercy... (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:07:03 PM EST
    I call forgiveness.  Some crimes are unforgivable in my book, but mercy is about our collective soul, not the member of our species that committed an unforgivable act.

    Now if somebody who lost a loved one on that tragic flight took him out I wouldn't blame 'em one bit, but I believe the whole point of civilization is to strive for the best in humanity...forgiveness and mercy and charity and good will.  Otherwise what is the point, lets just get on with the anarchy.  



    Yes, I think so. n/t (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:11:00 PM EST
    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by pluege on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 10:43:59 PM EST
    the receiver of mercy is irrelevant - mercy is for the giver

    Justice? (none / 0) (#73)
    by MrConservative on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 10:42:31 PM EST
    You are clearly just using "justice" as a synonym and euphemism for retribution.  Can you define a difference between the two in your definition of the term?

    I disagree (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by nyjets on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 04:55:11 AM EST
    Some crimes merit the criminal dieing in prison. Murdering over 200 people is such a crime. That is justice, not retribution.
    Retribution would be torturing the person 24/7. Retribution would be not giving the criminal medication or pain killers. Having him die in prison is justice.

    Difference is in the eye of the beholder (none / 0) (#117)
    by MKS on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 01:15:34 PM EST
    Turning the other cheek (none / 0) (#15)
    by MKS on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 07:51:19 PM EST
    gets no traction in our criminal justice system.

    One of the more disappointing aspects to the tough-on-crime debate is how religious conservatives favor the harshest sentences....


    I do not think you meant it (none / 0) (#18)
    by nyjets on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:03:27 PM EST
    I do not think you meant it in this way,
    however, you do not turn the other cheek cheek with respect to murders.You turn the other cheek for insults, minor arguments, etc.
    But you do not turn the cheek for violent offenders and murders. That is pushing things a little far :).

    I do not


    I wouldn't either... (none / 0) (#53)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:13:44 PM EST
    somebody lays a hand on my family, odds are very good mercy won't be in my vocabulary.

    The state can be at the level of a person scorned and out for vengeance, with all the f*ck-ups and frame-ups and abuses that come with it...or we the people can strive for the highest levels humanity has achieved as a state that is so difficult as individuals.  

    I think it's a no brainer.


    Yeah, not turning the other cheek (none / 0) (#109)
    by Farmboy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 11:57:35 AM EST
    for violent offenders and murders is exactly why Jesus said, "father, blow 'em all to hell" as he was being crucified.

    Oh, wait.  He said and taught the opposite: that mercy has no bounds.


    Escaping punishment is mercy (5.00 / 2) (#116)
    by MKS on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 01:10:19 PM EST
    It never ceases to amaze me how inventive religious conservatives are in dismissing the plain meaning of certain comments by Jesus that they dislike.

    They go outside the text, explain context in their favor, refer to history--all in a tendentious way to support their own pet beliefs.  The Sermon on the Mount means not much to them....All this from people who take Genesis literally....

    The parable of the camel and the eye of the needle has been explained to death....So much for their belief that every word is absolutely true.

    Religious conservatives are among the least merciful people aroud.  Fancy that.  They are, however, very authoritarian and fear based.


    Mercy does not mean escaping punishment (none / 0) (#112)
    by nyjets on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 12:54:10 PM EST
    Releasing the bomber is not mercy. It is allowing him to escape punishment. I do not believe that Jesus would advocate a murder to escape punishment.

    In fairness (none / 0) (#38)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:56:55 PM EST
    its not just the fact that he's dying- I mean most experts think Bin Laden has been slowly dying for years, its the fact that he has paid in part and poses no further threat.

    Just as (5.00 / 3) (#74)
    by eric on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 10:43:24 PM EST
    JamesTX said,

    The capacity for this kind of higher order moral reasoning has been erased from the American mind

    Compassion, empathy, these are not weaknesses, but instead are strengths.


    I felt so good about what Scotland is doing. My (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by jawbone on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:11:58 PM EST
    only regret is that the investigation into what actually happened to the plane and by whom is being dropped in order for the guy to go home to die.

    That is suggested as the reason (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Cream City on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:54:07 PM EST
    for the release -- it got him to drop his appeal of his conviction.  

    Hardly a resounding victory for a justice system.


    No too many do (none / 0) (#118)
    by MKS on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 01:23:23 PM EST
    Not the conservatives very much if at all...

    I oppose the death penalty (4.67 / 3) (#19)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:04:56 PM EST
    but this guy should serve out his life sentence in prison.  Well over 200 dead, indiscriminantly killed men, women children babies.  And he decided this was the thing to do as an adult, of his own free will.

    There are rational limits to mercy.  He was imprisoned, not being tortured or denied care.  Just denied his liberty.

    I have no use for people who kill so callously whether by setting bombs off on planes or ordering armies to fight baseless wars from the comfort of their armchairs.

    The system of (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:12:05 PM EST
    moral reasoning in which acts of this type of mercy are valued does not evaluate people based on the "use" we have for them. Nothing in this act suggests his crimes not serious.

    Move on? (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:09:03 PM EST
    The victims chance of putting this in the past and moving on has been destroyed by thus untoward action of the Scottish government.

    Worse, he will held up as a hero to a whole new generation of radical Muslim terrorists.


    Your sentiments (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Slado on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:10:46 PM EST
    are well placed but fall short of reality.

    When he returned to Lybia he was treated like a returning hero.

    All of our sensitivity is lost on a culture that has little or not respect for human life.

    Sad day for the families of the victims.

    I wish Scotland had dealt with them as equally in the mercy department.


    Did they welcome him home (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Steve M on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:17:45 PM EST
    because they are a culture of subhuman animals with no respect for human life who think a mass-murdering terrorist is the greatest thing they can ever aspire to... or is it because in Libya they believe he didn't commit the crime?

    You know the answer (none / 0) (#59)
    by Slado on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:25:36 PM EST
    They would say he was innocent until he's now gotten away with it.

    Now they welcome him home as a hero.



    Okay (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by Steve M on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:32:31 PM EST
    Didn't realize you were a mind-reader.  Impressive stuff.

    Yeah, they're probably all just complete monsters.


    If they had (none / 0) (#86)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 12:35:19 AM EST
    "no respect for human life," bud, they would not be so angry at us.

    Agreed it is Scotland's call (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by BobTinKY on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:42:04 AM EST
    I am just expressing my view they made the wrong call.  This guy was living humanely enough in prison & was afforded treatment for his illness.  That's mercy enough in my view.

    "We're better than they are" (none / 0) (#51)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:11:56 PM EST
    to me is exactly the point.  Al Megrahi had no mercy for people he believed were enabling the murder and repression of others.  In his mind, they fully deserved to die because they were guilty.  In his mind, he was meting out "justice."

    On this we think alike (none / 0) (#87)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 12:37:58 AM EST
    I fully understand the lust for revenge, but that lust is no different than what motivated Migrahi to do what he did-- (if he did it, since I gather there's at least some doubt about his actual guilt.)

    I like to hear the story of your dad sometime, if you're willing to share it.


    Unfortunately, the rest of the story isn't so... (4.66 / 3) (#13)
    by santarita on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 07:39:11 PM EST
    positive.  Apparently he was welcomed back in Libya as a conquering hero with cheering crowds and escorted by Khadafy's son.  

    I'm for mercy and compassion especially where there has been confession and repentance.  I'm not sure that there is much repentance on exhibit.  

    Still chalk up... (none / 0) (#64)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:41:57 PM EST
    a victory in the war on inhumanity and go to sleep smiling tonight regardless of whats going down in Libya...the high road still exists in the halls of justice somewhere in the world, I'll take every reassurance of that I can get.

    People here are more PO'd (2.00 / 0) (#91)
    by Wile ECoyote on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 05:25:28 AM EST
    about Michael Vick than what happened to this murderer of 289 people.  Just go back and look at the comments on that thread.

    I think (none / 0) (#93)
    by Steve M on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 07:51:34 AM EST
    you must mean "some people," because obviously what you just wrote isn't true.

    You are correct. I meant (none / 0) (#97)
    by Wile ECoyote on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 08:41:41 AM EST
    a lot people.

    I guess I'm a Neanderthal (4.00 / 1) (#70)
    by rdandrea on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 10:06:16 PM EST
    I don't like it one bit.

    In fact, the next time I see a guy with a kilt blowing bagpipes in a parade, I might be tempted to throw an egg at him.

    Then again, bagpipes give me a headache.

    Lybia welcomes home a hero (2.00 / 0) (#52)
    by Slado on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:13:42 PM EST


    But I sleep well tonight knowing that I'm "Better then them".

    Many others think it is a sign of a civilization's weakness.

    technically speaking, (2.00 / 0) (#89)
    by cpinva on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 02:38:13 AM EST
    we're all dying, from day 1. based solely on that criterium, everyone should immediately be released from prison, to die at home with their families.

    sadly, the crew and passengers murdered by mr. al-megrahi never had that opportunity.

    yes... (5.00 / 0) (#96)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 08:26:36 AM EST
    we all start dying the day we are born, but we are all not on deaths doorstep with a terminal illness. Big difference my man.

    I think we should practice this type of mercy for all prisoners who are on deaths doorstep...now that is a civilized nicety I could be down with sacrificing some non-essential liberty for, to borrow your phrase from yesterday:)


    All prisoners? (none / 0) (#105)
    by BobTinKY on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:51:31 AM EST
    Now I am for prison reform and decriminilization of any number of things that now land people in prison.  But let's get real, in any society murder, kidnapping, rape and violent crimes will be against the law in every civilized society and perpetrators will be given severe sentences.  And if that sentence happens to be life, it is life.  

    Commutations of this sort give death pnalty advocates, which I am not, all the fuel they need.


    It gets old... (none / 0) (#106)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:57:29 AM EST
    trying to persuade death penalty proponents of the value in mercy, Bob.  If mercy gives them ammo for their agenda, so be it, it is still worth it.

    Personally, (none / 0) (#123)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 01:57:05 PM EST
    I'm tired of people deciding the definition of mercy is whatever suits their agenda.

    Not sure I follow... (none / 0) (#125)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 02:08:05 PM EST
    you talking about the judge?  Do you think he is being insincere with his call for mercy, and its just politics?

    or you talking about me?..:)  


    is him being released?

    If he had been sentenced to death, the definition of mercy would have him getting LWOP, or whatever

    If his sentence was to be blown up on a airplane at 36,000 feet, the definition of mercy would have been execution by lethal injection, or whatever.

    Perhaps real mercy would have been flying him home with his western doctors and all their med equipment to care for him until his last breath.

    Maybe set his family and kids up with cushy gov jobs in London.

    You know, really show mercy.

    iow, no matter what the situation, the definition of "mercy" is whatever suits someone's agenda.

    It's a buncha BS.


    I gotcha now...Thanks! n/t (none / 0) (#127)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 02:31:36 PM EST
    Victims Need to Get ON With Life (2.00 / 1) (#101)
    by tropicgirl on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:31:06 AM EST
    The world is filled with unbalanced and sick people and terrible things do happen.

    However, to watch some of the victims relatives rant and rave over showing a slight bit of mercy is a bit repulsive. Why has American become ill with revenge and hate?

    Crimes against your loved ones, while tragic, are not more painful than what has happened to others.

    At some point, you need to move on. Perpetual hating only hurts the one who engages in it.

    I have not been victimized by violent (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by BobTinKY on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:59:19 AM EST
    crime nor, thankfully, has anyone close to me.  However, I do see the senselessness, incomprehnsibility of losing someone to murder as fundamentally different than say, an automobile accident or temrinal illness at a young age.  Particularly when another human being has acted with intent to steal your loved one's life.  

    I wouldn't judge a survivor's response to the event whether they have "successfully" gotten on with life or not.  I wouldn't hesitate, however, to judge the State's response.  We should all be actively interested in how our society views and punishes crime.


    How about a little mercy (none / 0) (#111)
    by Cream City on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 12:20:54 PM EST
    for the families of the victims?  I hope to now see all those who support mercy for the mass murderer now sign on here to support mercy for more than a thousand family members, thousands of friends, etc.

    And from what I'm seeing, many of these people had managed to move on -- until yesterday.  From such a horror, there never is complete healing as if it never happened.  It's just scar tissue, easily ripped open . . . especially by thoughtlessness and even judgmentalism of others.


    Not snark at all (none / 0) (#120)
    by Cream City on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 01:36:13 PM EST
    as anyone knows who has been through something even remotely as awful.  The scars are always there.  Always.

    Your judgmentalism throughout this thread suggests that you simply cannot relate.  Odd for a "Christian," as the words you keep quoting call on you to attempt empathy -- including with victims, not just with criminals.


    If anything (none / 0) (#1)
    by MKS on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 06:59:52 PM EST
    it costs less to release inmates who pose no danger to society.

    It doesn't matter (none / 0) (#3)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 07:09:54 PM EST
    what it costs. It is a moral act.

    I agree (none / 0) (#5)
    by MKS on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 07:12:11 PM EST
    But when trying to reason with conservatives, an appeal to their personal financial interest always helps....

    I know. I understand (none / 0) (#7)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 07:16:40 PM EST
    completely, I'm just getting a little tired of hearing the argument. Nothing personal -- I use the argument often myself. But I often think we should stop letting them frame all debates on the spreadsheet principle. Lakoff talks about how that infects our reasoning with their frames. They have destroyed us based on their accounting morality, and it is time we quit allowing them to raise it in moral arguments.

    Interesting point (none / 0) (#8)
    by MKS on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 07:20:06 PM EST
    It isn't helping (none / 0) (#9)
    by Cream City on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 07:24:51 PM EST
    from what I read of reaction in the Scotsman, the Guardian. . . .  Conservatives are among those calling for a special session of parliament on the actions of their minister for justice.

    Hide and watch. n/t (none / 0) (#11)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 07:26:43 PM EST
    What in the world (none / 0) (#21)
    by Cream City on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:09:56 PM EST
    does that mean?

    You're all over the place here.  So you're the one hiding what you really mean?


    I am sorry. (none / 0) (#24)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:15:32 PM EST
    I didn't mean to appear to be all over the place. We just disagree, and that is common. It was a bit of an invitation to watch how that society resolves this issue. Listen to them discuss it on CSPAN. You will see how a civilized society conducts its affairs!

    You've got to be kidding (none / 0) (#25)
    by Cream City on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:18:07 PM EST
    or don't know Scots' history.  And read their media; they're quite divided on this, too.

    Of course they (none / 0) (#26)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:22:12 PM EST
    are, but the decision will be respected.

    If you mean it's final (none / 0) (#27)
    by Cream City on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:25:08 PM EST
    then yes, it is.  But when there are calls for parliament to meet on this, when there are calls for the minister to be fired . . . I don't think that the decision is being widely "respected."

    And he very well (none / 0) (#30)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:27:58 PM EST
    may be fired. My bet is not.

    You are right (none / 0) (#34)
    by dissenter on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:43:44 PM EST
    Scotland has become the laughingstock of the world. The Scottish flag flies high in Tripoli. I am sure that is just what the average Scot wanted to see. Quite a debut on the world stage.

    That should get the boycott going into full swing.


    They've just been (none / 0) (#29)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:26:18 PM EST
    at it for longer. Civility is something that comes with age. It doesn't mean differences subside. They are just handled differently.

    What's that supposed to mean (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:59:33 PM EST
    China's home to an ancient culture and age doesn't seem to have stopped them from stomping protestors and selling the organs of the condemned.

    see response to Cream City n/t (none / 0) (#43)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:06:13 PM EST
    Again, that's just ahistorical (none / 0) (#36)
    by Cream City on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:52:28 PM EST
    since Libya has been populated for about 10,000 years longer than Scotland.  

    You are right. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:04:39 PM EST
    As far as Scotland is concerned, I am biased. They've been at the task of seeking what our culture seeks for longer than we have, and they've had the advantage of wealth. You expose my ignorance and ethnocentrism. Might I request...mercy?

    Let's let 180 American families (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Cream City on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:15:41 PM EST
    of victims of the Lockerbie bombing -- two thirds of the victims on the plane -- decide, with all their biases, on mercy for the sympathizers.

    Or maybe the families of the 11 Scots on the ground who burned to death, too -- including a little boy.


    The vicims are never remembered (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by Slado on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:23:51 PM EST
    That's one of the plusses of committing murder.

    Eventually time will work on the reality that a real living, breathing person who was robbed of their chance for life no longer walks the earth and their entire family is left with a hole in their heart and in many cases their life ruined.

    That's never considered.  

    It is morally repugnant to set this man free.   It would be one thing if he admitted his crimes and begged for mercy.

    Instead he's simply sick and using his  situation to gain his freedom.

    There is no logic that can justify setting a mass murderer free because he's going to die.  

    The mercy some many seem so willing to doll out was given when he wasn't killed for his crimes.  He was given the gift of life that he so easily took from so many.

    To now grant him his freedom is not mercy but an immoral act committed against the victims and their families.


    Maybe so (none / 0) (#122)
    by MKS on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 01:53:20 PM EST
    When and how to apply mercy--given our need to protect society--can be a difficult question.

    It was mercy to let him live.  Perhaps that is enough.

    On the whole, given the general absence of mercy in our world, perhaps erring on the side of too much mercy is a good thing.


    I am sorry, but I disagree. (5.00 / 0) (#66)
    by JamesTX on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:44:57 PM EST
    The fate of criminals is not solely based on retribution for the victim. It is also based on the interests of the society. Now I am getting into legal theory which I know nothing about, so I will just leave it there. But it points to my belief.

    It is clear many of the victims will not share that sentiment, although some of them will. The point is, it is not solely their decision to make. I cannot devalue mercy on those grounds. I have been victimized, as has my family, and I understand the value of forgiveness. This is not the same thing as "letting him off" for any reason related to his crimes, victims included. Our collective moral acts go beyond individual cases. There is a lot of unevenness and unfairness in the world that we never seek to address, even though we know about it and could do so. We are far from perfect. And he isn't getting much, really. That is the point which most people seem to be missing. He is dying. This is a statement of the value we place on the dignity of human life. It is precisely an example of employing the kind of reasoning that says people shouldn't blow up airplanes because they are angry about injustices. There are certain places in the course of conflict where we must stop ... certain limits we must respect. And in doing this Scotland has demonstrated that kind of reasoning as an example for the world... a world that needs a little more of that kind of thinking right now. First, we are human. If we want others to behave that way, then we should collectively behave that way, also.

    I do know there is value in mercy. And I do know it is not entirely the call of the victims, although I do not in any way devalue their pain.


    Forgive me if I believe (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 01:35:50 AM EST
    that 7 years in prsion for murdering 270 civilians doesn't serve the interest of society, as I mentioned above this same reasoning could be used to argue for leniency for say Milosevic- after all it was clear he was suffering ill health maybe he should have been free to return to Serbia instead of held where he died awaiting trial.

    An example (none / 0) (#12)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 07:37:05 PM EST

    This is an example of why death penalty proponents don't trust that a life sentence won't turn out to be less than that in the end.

    Is a life in Scotland only worth (none / 0) (#16)
    by Cards In 4 on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 07:55:07 PM EST
    incarcerating a killer for 12 days?  Because he served less than that for the 270 people on the flight and the ground that were killed.  People that never had the chance to die in the arms of their loved ones after receiving a hero's welcome.

    Yeah (none / 0) (#17)
    by Steve M on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 07:57:02 PM EST
    Should have kept him behind bars for 12.1 days per life, it clearly would have made a huge difference.

    Mercy (none / 0) (#32)
    by bocajeff on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 08:39:23 PM EST
    I always thought that Mercy was something doled out to those who were victimized, not some faceless bureaucracy. I don't think it's merciful to let someone like him out - if so, why incarcerate him in the first place? Wouldn't it be merciful to keep him free if he promises not to do it again?

    I guess you did not have to study Shakespeare ... (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by cymro on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 10:05:08 PM EST
    ... at school:

    The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1.

    "The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
    It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
    Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
    It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
    'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
    The throned monarch better than his crown;
    His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
    The attribute to awe and majesty,
    Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
    But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
    It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
    It is an attribute to God himself;
    And earthly power doth then show likest God's
    When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
    Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
    That, in the course of justice, none of us
    Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
    And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
    The deeds of mercy."

    Or maybe your teachers didn't expect you to grasp the point?


    Wow (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by eric on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 10:51:06 PM EST
    you missed the definition of mercy pretty badly.  Consult your local Christian minister.  Victims deserving mercy?  Why in the world would a victim be granted mercy?  WHAT?

    It may even help (none / 0) (#58)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:25:21 PM EST
    What would it accomplish keeping him at this point. Maybe a few gestures of humanity between the two cultures may open a road to better understanding. Also in the political spectrum, Libya is our friend now! This may be a gesture to try and keep it that way.

    Watch the video (2.00 / 0) (#60)
    by Slado on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:26:26 PM EST
    No friend.

    This after Obama asked them to not celebrate.

    Nice touch obama


    Listening to (none / 0) (#80)
    by eric on Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 11:00:29 PM EST
    that speech by Mr. MacAskill, I was struck by how much I admire the British legal system and regret how much we have changed since our break from our mother country.

    I think he should have been released (none / 0) (#98)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 09:16:59 AM EST
    into the care of the families of his victims.

    perhaps that was a bit flip (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:24:10 AM EST
    but being staunchly opposed to capital punishment I think I have to be staunchly for keeping them in prison until they die.

    life.  that is the point.

    I think this is a travesty.



    But can't you see.. (none / 0) (#102)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 10:35:55 AM EST
    he was in for life, the only part of life that matters.  The only part of life this man has left is death.

    Let him wrap his head around the fact his sworm enemies showed him mercy while he passes, sending him home to die in comfort with his family and countrymen...think of it as a form of punishment if it makes you feel better.


    He will feel no such thing (none / 0) (#110)
    by Slado on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 12:17:52 PM EST
    He will die with a smile on his face as he remembers that he was vindicated by his countrymen for his crimes against the great Satan (the west).

    That was made all the clearer by the celebrating crowd the welcomed their hero home.



    the guy came home to a heros welcome (none / 0) (#124)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 01:57:28 PM EST

    Lockerbie bomber returns to hero's welcome in Libya

    do you seriously think he or anyone attending the parade will give any deep thought to the mercy shown him?

    I do not.

    and as far as I am concerned there is no reason in the world to even allow the possibility to "die with a smile on his wretched face".
    let him prepare to meet his maker in a cell.
    a preparation none of his victims had the luxury of.


    Actually I do... (none / 0) (#128)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 02:46:52 PM EST
    rarely do human being expose the doubts racking their conscience for all to see.  We're complex creatures.

    I mean I hope we all have a conscience...I have to believe we all do to stay sane in an insane imperfect world.  Sometimes the conscience gets louder as death approaches ever closer.  How could the thought not enter his mind?


    I would say its clear (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 03:24:57 PM EST
    that you did not watch the video

    Caught a glimpse on the news... (none / 0) (#131)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 03:38:34 PM EST
    this morning, but I really have no desire to watch, ya got me...its not about him or Libya when all is said and done, but about Scotland.  Good for Scotland.

    see (none / 0) (#132)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 03:50:47 PM EST
    I think its about the lives he took

    We can't agree on them all... (none / 0) (#133)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 03:52:00 PM EST
    my friend:)

    I've beat this one to death.


    I would ask the mega churches (none / 0) (#121)
    by MKS on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 01:41:30 PM EST
    to practice their beliefs and take care of them.

    abortion doc killer? (none / 0) (#134)
    by diogenes on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 04:00:58 PM EST
    I guess that it means that you all support the same merciful terms for guys like the abortion doc killer, Sirhan Sirhan, Charles Manson, and Bernard Madoff.
    Fine with me--prisons have to pay for medical care for inmates, whereas if they are released they have to fend for themselves.