A healthy majority of Australians supports the execution of the Bali two and I find myself in the minority once again. The last chance of clemency was lost in the official cacophony of objections from both sides of Parliament. It sealed the fate of those two idiots.
The executions will now be carried out, Joko Widodo will have his way, illicit narcotics will continue to be smuggled into Australia and you will still be able to buy any drug you want on the streets of Kuta and Kings Cross.
I was working for the Herald and Weekly Times when Ronald Ryan, the last person to be killed under an Australian State Government sanction, was executed in Melbourne’s Pentridge Gaol.
A colleague and friend who I later worked with on the National Times, Evan Whitton, was a witness to the hanging and wrote of the clinical process in such a compelling way, it would stay with me forever.
Evan was a powerful and gifted writer who massaged the English language into a rapier like weapon that tore at your gut and dismantled your bigotry. There is none today who equals him.
Anyway, back to the Bali two. Let’s put aside the glaring hypocrisy of the Indonesian government, its corrupt judicial system, its gross inequality in sentencing and the fact that the AFP fingered these two before they could get here.
Anyone found guilty of murder or importing narcotics should rot in jail for life but these two hadn’t imported this haul at the time, they were just intending to, and if they had lobbed in Australia the AFP would have been waiting for them anyway. They were caught in Indonesia with Indonesian sourced narcotics.
Okay, they may have carried drugs into Australia before and they may have escaped customs and the AFP, so was this a square-up? Was the call made to Indonesia by the AFP knowing full well the mules were certain to face a firing squad?
That ethical argument will continue.
So how do you kill a bloke in cold blood? Well, I guess you put a hood over his head, not so that he can’t see you, but so that you don’t have to look into his eyes. You stick a little white patch over his heart to shoot at and make sure one shooter in the squad has a blank in his rifle.
He won’t die immediately of course, even if one of the bullets manages to pierce his heart, so the two minutes of a body jerking around can be put down to nerves contracting and the good thing is you will not have to look at his contorted face.
I had hoped we were beyond third-world Islamic penalties but according to polling (including here) the concept of legally killing another human being is alive and well.
If killing these two blokes in Indonesia meant one life saved here, then a case could be made for their execution. But not a case I would agree with because more people die from impurities in street drugs than the drugs themselves, and drugs are available on every corner with price linked to availability.
During alcohol prohibition, tens of thousands of people died from alcohol poisoning. Due to shortages, bootleggers used all forms of industrial alcohol. The greater the policing successes the greater the amount of impurities and the greater the number of deaths.
It’s the same with narcotics and, as with alcohol, people will always acquire what they want regardless of its legality. The Bali two would not have represented a hiccup in the chain of distribution here.
The war on drugs is already lost, everyone admits that! Each time the AFP shows off their massive drug hauls, the prices shoot up and more backyard labs get into the market.
Everything from rat poison to bleach, crushed glass and cyanide is used in ecstasy tablets. Impure heroin is injected from filthy needles. No oversight, no quality control because a $6 billion industry is forced and kept underground… but it will never go away.
It’s only when drugs become regulated that fewer people will die… including the Bali two.
So there, drugs and executions, now you can start chucking rocks at me from two directions. But please leave my son out of it, he simply made the mistake of giving a ratbag tennis player the keys to his flat and has never met those two young girls. Wait and see.
Oh, and the first time I have ever been interviewed by the police was ten days ago regarding a terrorist threat.