Saturday, 2 June 2007

School for Vandals

Dalkeith High School in Midlothian, a listed building, has been empty since it was abandoned in 2003. However, officials at the council responsible for the building believe they have a "duty of care" to protect potential intruders from harm. You couldn't make something so ridiculous up, and, as it happens, I didn't. The full story is here. As a result of this unbelievable concern for local criminals, lights are left on in the empty building during the hours of darkness, so that vandals will not hurt themselves.

WHY? Who in their right mind could care less about what happens to some destruction-obsessed hooligan who has entered premises illegally? Surely, some concerted efforts in the pitch darkness, bear traps and boiling oil department would be far more appropriate? Anyone breaking into someone else's property deserves all they get, to my mind, and if that includes serious injury then so be it; perhaps, if they survive, it will teach them NOT to break into someone else's property in future.

And before someone suggests that this approach would put undue strain on the NHS, let me say this: it wouldn't if I had my way, because injuries sustained through such activities would not be treatable on the NHS. I see no reason why law abiding taxpayers should have to fund treatment for work-shy villains who damage themselves in the course of their nefarious stunts. Let them seek private treatment - no doubt some bleeding-heart charity or other would fund them - or, failing that, let them suffer.

Of course, that will never happen in today's UK, where criminals are accorded every courtesy while deserving patients are left to die on hospital trolleys, and victims of crime are treated like criminals while the actual criminals are treated like victims.

Something is terribly wrong with this system. Where there is crime, there should be punishment. That punishment should be a deterrent; it should stop the perpetrator from wanting to re-offend, or, failing that, from being able to re-offend, and should convince others that committing such an offence is a really, really bad idea.

Yet I don't see any evidence that this is actually happening, or any indication that it is ever likely to happen. Common sense has been overthrown, Human Rights rule, and until that situation is reversed there is nothing to be done except leave the lights on for the villains.

Billy Seggars

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