Editor's comment - Enough is enough

PUBLISHED: 18:54 28 May 2008 | UPDATED: 14:51 25 August 2010

THOSE who wander our streets armed with knives exist on crime and punishment.

THOSE who wander our streets armed with knives exist on crime and punishment. These people are impenetrable and untouchable. They crave violence, and seek status as psychopaths. It is the only way they feel they can really be somebody. The threat of a long stretch inside doesn't faze them, neither does the condemnation of the civilised world. These no-care hoods, hyped up on hatred and anger, have survived for years in their own prisons of self loathing and moral destruction.

Putting them through a real trial, funded by taxpayers and driven by legal experts, is just another if not welcome masochistic disaster in their dark and twisted world.

For them the menace of a courtroom and a jail cell is nothing to fear. It's a place where they get attention, at least and at last. Knives, death, tears. So what? To the killer with a score to settle liberty is an easy sacrifice. They've got no future outside so it's easy just to writhe and dwell in apathy in the confines of this jail or that. Who cares? They don't. Who wants to be free today anyway? No job, no hope, no idea. Their lives are lost before they've started. For them the responsibility of living among us is too great so what do they do? Pick up a knife and go kill. It's about getting even with an unjust world by robbing it of another life - especially one that has more to offer. It's all so simple to a killer - a person who will finish up in jail, a person who will get all the treatment the law deems necessary from a raft of the country's best psychiatrists. To suffer is not within their reasoning. Remorse, never. Liberty? It doesn't cost much to them and just think of the twisted personal glory only they will perceive worthy of respect. Don't mess with the killer. Mean is best so up yours world.

So what should happen now? How many more of us are going to be stabbed by these random attackers? Within days of each other two local young men, Robert Knox and Jimmy Mizen, have died, bleeding to death on the street near our homes and workplaces. Loved and cherished by all who knew them. Grief and heartache for those left behind. The pictures swamp the news pages of every newspaper and corresponding websites - the horror of it all is shared by us all.

But as there is now so obviously a breed of potential killers out there, so fearless and contemptuous of our current laws, then who can blame those who cry out today for the return of the death penalty? It's an emotive issue that warrants heavy debate but what exactly is going to eradicate these senseless and lethal crimes? Does anyone have an answer?

The decent values in each us aren't within the mindset of those out for street warfare and knife action. They have no moral boundaries. Kill or be killed. But this attitude is as unacceptable now as it ever was. What, if anything, is going to scare these people into abiding by the rules of decency like the rest of us? If death is their only currency then maybe that's what the government must threaten them with. Would the desire to carry a knife be less attractive if the punishment really did mean the end? Would such an extreme option actually work as a deterrent against senseless killings? Imposing a curfew on young people with a penchant for violence is not enough. But is tolerance, education and pity for knife killers the only way forward in a civilised world? It's arguable many are tired of this attitude and want to see a respect for law and order that takes no prisoners when it comes to lethal hate crime.

Patience is of course a virtue but not when it dilutes our sense of justice into a woolly notion of survival and avoidance tactics.

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