Friday, 22 January 2010

Self Defence

In this country, the question of self-defence has been raised recently following the appeal of Munir Hussain. I won’t go into all the details of the case but you can read the story here. The reason the question has been bought up though is it is not clear what exactly we are and are not allowed to do, should the worst happen and someone break into your house (I say the worst, I mean in this scenario. There are a lot worse things happening in the world right now).

I said I wouldn’t go into all the details of the case but I will talk about some of the ones which are relevant to this posting. One important quote which makes this in particular case interesting is from one of the judges:

“This trial had nothing to do with the right of the householder to defend themselves or their families or their homes. The burglary was over and the burglars had gone. No one was in any further danger from them."

The reason why I’ve highlighted that quote is because I’m not overly sure that the decision in this appeal was the right one. The reason being is because of the location of the incident after the burglary.

“After freeing himself he contacted Tokeer to help chase the offenders down the street in High Wycombe, bringing one to the ground. The intruder, Walid Salem, 56, suffered permanent brain damage after he was struck with a cricket bat so hard it broke into three pieces.

The Hussain brothers denied being involved in that violence.”

In this particular case, Munir Hussain has had the jail time overturned and his sentence is now a two year suspended sentence. That is by no means “getting off scot-free” as if the guy commits a crime during this time, off to jail he goes, regardless of what it is. Although he did not get off with the crime for which he was convicted of, I’m still not convinced the decision was right. The person who broke into his house was attacked afterwards in the street, to the extent that he now has permanent brain damage. That is a pretty severe beating, one that would in most contexts, deserves a lengthy custodial sentence.

Had this incident taken place inside Mr Hussain’s home, then I would honestly have no issue with it. If Walid Salem broke in, and crossed the threshold of no return (so to speak), and then got assaulted with a cricket bat, he honestly shouldn’t have protection from the law. If you are breaking the law, my opinion is that you are no longer protected by the law. So, if you are breaking into someone’s house and they hit you, assault you, or even kill you – your tough luck. Don’t break the fucking law. This is in line with my belief that murderers and people convicted of terrorist plots forfeit their right to human rights. Forgive the use of Wikipedia for this (pure laziness more than anything else) but:

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has acted as the predominant modern codification of commonly accepted human rights principles and many national many international documents, treaties and instruments that have expanded on its principles and act as a collective expression of widespread conceptions of human rights by the international community. Examples of rights and freedoms which have come to be commonly thought of as human rights include civil and political rights, such as the right to life...”

If you kill someone (or lots of people for that matter), and violate that person(s) right to life, why on earth should you still have your right to life? This is bordering into dangerous territory here (and usually ends up in a debate on whether the death penalty should be brought back, and everyone who either supports or opposes the death penalty is in some way comparable with Hitler).

TL;DR – I’m not sure the judgement in the appeal of Munir Hussain was the right judgement. I feel that as he allegedly committed the assault outside of his property then he should have faced jail time, especially considering the result of his attack on Walid Salem. Had the attack taken place in Munir Hussain’s home, then he should be protected by the law to defend his family and property. If this means killing an intruder, so be it. Intruders should not be protected by laws they are breaking by committing burglary. I feel people who violate a person’s basic human rights (the right to life) should forfeit their human rights. People who support or oppose the reintroduction of the death penalty are likely to be compared to Hitler in some way or another.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

So, 2010 eh?

As we welcome the beginning of another year, people everywhere are filled with New Year optimism. I am guilty of this as well, hoping that a new job will be found sooner rather than later. But generally I think a lot of things could be achieved this year.

Why is there this optimism though? On the grand scale of things, week 52 in the year and week 1 aren’t that different. People use the change as an excuse to identify their life problems, promise to change their ways but the realisation sets in that people don’t like change, and they slip back and embrace these problems (for example, a person who has promised to themselves on Jan 1st that they’ll lose weight, but by Jan 3rd find themselves fucking up a buffet). I don’t understand the concept that people see the beginning of a new year is a good time to change things in their life, but they (and indeed I) do.

Already for me things have begun to change. Work has become more bearable. Xmas and NY is a shit time for retail (anyone that works in retail over this time period will tell you that). That however has now passed. I’ve not hidden the fact that I am looking for a new job. I’ve applied for more jobs and am already talking to someone about an interview. Not the most ideal situation I am prepared to admit, but it’s not retail, and that’s just nice. There are other things on the horizon, both job and non-job related things but as they are just on the horizon at the moment, no need to go into specifics. We’ll see if this New Year optimism remains with me for much longer. I hope it does, even if I don’t understand it.

One major change that this year in particular will hopefully bring is a change in government. Think what you will about them (and who doesn’t), come May/June we will likely have a Conservative government. Every argument I’ve read against this is “well in 1992....” or “but Thatcher....” and even “there are no changes in policy from 1985!” etc. This is a joke. This current joke of a government needs to be kicked out. You failed this country and like previous Labour governments before you, you’ve run out of money! I can’t wait for the chance to vote again, but am fearful that the growth of the BNP will lead to them winning a seat in Westminster. That will make them a legitimate party more than them having MEPs (cause really, what does an MEP actually do?) Ach, I could go on, but I won’t.

Onto other things...My iPhone has had problems. This is something which I hope to be able to fix while I am typing this. I just checked with it before doing another restore and it seems that the problem which concerned me is still there. I will need to discuss this with someone who has more knowledge than I. Oh well. I’ve decided to change my position of the film Avatar. I originally was going to give it a miss but I am now going to see it. The plans are to see it Sunday with a friend who I’ve not seen in years (and truth be told, the last time I saw her I was brutally intoxicated) so that’ll be fun. £10.10 for a 3D film though? Ouch!

So, 2010 is with us. I hope your optimism lasts