This is depressing on two counts. It’s a dismal reminder of the way some people still think, and it has me agreeing with the majority of Daily Mail commenters.
Basically, a guy punched a guy in the face a couple of times, for no particularly mitigating reason that I can discern. He pleaded guilty to assault, and was sentenced to six months in jail. The newsworthy part is that Cherie Booth, the wife of that bloke who started a war that one time, decided to suspend the sentence for two years. This means (I’m moderately sure I’m getting this right) that so long as he stays out of trouble for the next couple of years on probation, he won’t actually go to jail.
There’s obviously a lot I don’t know about the particulars of the case, as well as our legal system in general, and so I’m willing to accept that maybe a suspended sentence and 200 hours of community service isn’t horrendously over-lenient for this first-time offence. But if there’s no better reason for keeping this guy out of prison than the one Cherie gave, maybe I should be coming down harsher on him. The complete quote from the Mail:
I am going to suspend this sentence for the period of two years based on the fact you are a religious person and have not been in trouble before.
You caused a mild fracture to the jaw of a member of the public standing in a queue at Lloyds Bank.
You are a religious man and you know this is not acceptable behaviour.
It’s just pathetic the way being religious is still so strongly equated with having a strong sense of morals in some people’s minds. I’m not going to patronise you by naming some of the fucked-up shit religious people have done throughout history, and I shouldn’t have to highlight the good that the non-religious do either.
I’m an atheist, and I’m quite capable of figuring out that it’s not okay to break someone’s jaw even when I’m not in a queue at the bank. That guy did break someone’s jaw, so I question the certainty with which you declare that he really understands the moral indefensibility of the act.
Also, “this is not acceptable behaviour”? You sound like Supernanny. Except you wouldn’t see Supernanny suspending some kid’s five-minute stretch on the naughty step because of their imaginary friend.