Monday, November 09, 2009
You can't polish a turd, but you can rub it in Glitter
Yes alright, it's perhaps not a particularly appropriate or fitting headline for a fictional documentary on capital punishment, but I thought 'The Execution of Gary Glitter' was both thought-provoking and very well written. Most of the characters were believable and Hilton McRae was simply excellent as the man himself.
I also think the decision to make it as a documentary was rather inspired - and thought the writers were careful not to take sides. There was no question of it being a vehicle to ram home their own opinions, and neither side was portrayed as right or wrong. The death penalty is without doubt a moral quagmire - and the whole point of the show was to question our own attitudes to it. Indeed, it has put the topic of capital punishment firmly back in the public spotlight for the first time in years.
I think there is no more emotive subject than child rape - and on that basis, it is hard to argue for human rights for anyone that carries out such an abhorrent crime. I don't have children, but I do have nephews - and if that happened to any of them, my initial reaction would certainly be that I want to kill the person who did it. But would I? If it actually came to it? Would I actually take another person's life?
And I have to say, the honest answer is no, I wouldn't. Right at the end - if it really came to it, I wouldn't. Oh don't get me wrong, I would want them to pay for what they'd done. But, at the end of the day, I am not a monster. And I feel that if we play by the same rules as the evil we're trying to fight, then eventually we become what it is we are trying to overcome.
Ghandi once said "There are many causes that I am prepared to die for, but no causes that I am prepared to kill for".
It's not that these monsters deserve to live - it's just that we mustn't descend to their level. You don't fight evil with evil.