Four hours ago, Australian nationals Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the heroin-smuggling syndicate known as the “Bali Nine”, were executed by firing squad on Nusakambangan Island in Indonesia. A ten-year-long media feeding frenzy might now finally come to a halt.
I have already copped a gutful of abuse, not to mention threats, for articulating the Libertarian position on drugs on this forum. Which of course was deliberately misunderstood and misrepresented. So once again, in simple English: No-one I have ever met—no-one—wants to see more drug addiction, more families destroyed, more parents burying their children or more children growing up in state care because their parents are high, in jail, or dead. We all want to see less, and ultimately none. But you won’t, and you never will, achieve that end by passing laws against drug use or drug trafficking.
PROHIBITION. DOESN’T. WORK. It doesn’t. History has demonstrated it over, and over, and over again. How much more proof do some people need? Be it drugs, be it guns, or be it alcohol, prohibition won’t stop people getting what they want badly enough. Here’s what prohibition will do, and already does: criminalize those who are otherwise not minded to break the law, foster contempt for the law generally, skyrocket the market price, place distribution into the hands of professional criminals—like Chan and Sukumaran—and corrupt police, government and the courts while exploding the prison population. That’s the situation we face today—all that, just so a few moralists and statists can feel good about themselves. A bloody high price for the rest of us to pay, if you ask me, especially since the addicts keep piling up.
I am also against the death penalty. It is state-sanctioned murder. I am against it for a multitude of reasons that I’m not going into today. Maybe a dedicated thread later this year. Self-defence, of yourself or your loved ones, is an accepted defence at law against a charge of manslaughter. And the state has officially decreed that these drugs are deadly. Well, you join the dots.
But please: let’s get a sense of perspective. I’m not going to shed any tears for these two low-lives. They were caught ten years ago attempting to smuggle 8 kilograms of heroin into Australia, with an estimated street value of AUD4 million. These weren’t some foolish young kids skylarking: they were a syndicate of hardened, career criminals. The crowds of people holding candle-light vigils for them, including our national leaders outside Parliament House last night, were a joke. As was this sententious video of the usual conga-line of actors and celebrities telling Prime Minister Tony Abbott to “grow some balls” and “bring our boys home” His name is mentioned in the clip over forty times:
“The time for diplomacy has now passed?” “You have the power”? “Mister Abbott, go to Indonesia?” And do what? Storm the beaches?
What a bunch of narcissistic, attention-seeking hypocrites. So, they stand for mercy? Oh, really? Do you have any idea how many hundreds of lives four million bucks worth of heroin can destroy? What about the innocent victims? Not the addicts—theirs was an act of free choice. But what about the families of the addicts? Not to mention the victims of crimes committed by addicts? Where were all these actors, celebrities and other self-seekers then? Where were their candle-light vigils—outside the court houses, the hospital emergency wards and the morgues? Chirping crickets, as usual. They’ve already forgotten about them, as they’re chauffered off to their next photo op. Their pleas for “mercy” appear highly selective, wildly misplaced, not to mention cynically political.
It makes me want to vomit. I spent years pulling half-dead bodies (and more than one dead one) out of the gutters of Sydney’s Kings Cross and Darlinghurst. I don’t need pious lectures from anyone: I’ve seen for myself the damage hard drugs can do, I watched them take my best friend, and I still don’t want laws passed against them. Those laws just don’t work, and they inflict irreparable harm on our society. The sooner we start treating drug abuse as the physical and mental health problem that it is, instead of wiping our hands of responsibility by artificially criminalizing them, the sooner we put scum like the Bali Nine (now just the Bali Seven) out of business permanently, and the sooner we start on the long road to rid our society of their scourge once and for all.
No, those two bottom-dwellers shouldn’t have been shot. Not by the state, anyway. But by the father of one of their victims? Don’t get me started—I’m a dad too.
As a matter of fact, the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, would probably have granted executive clemency to the two condemned, were he left to his own devices. But, as this report makes clear, Joko is not much more than a figurehead. The real power lies with the executive of his political party, PDI-P, which is led by chairwoman Megawati Sukarnoputri, daughter of Soekarno, the founder of modern Indonesia. Megawati was hell-bent on execution, as she believes it makes her country look strong in the eyes of the world.
A country which relies on its nearby Western neighbour, a country with just one-tenth its own population, for half a billion dollars a year in foreign aid, is hardly in any position to want to feel “strong”. Yet we can’t really do anything in retaliation for these executions, even if we wanted to. We rely on Indonesian cooperation to keep the people-smuggling trade away from Australia. The Indonesian market for our agricultural and mining exports is worth billions. There is talk Tony Abbott will withdraw our ambassador in Jakarta, but I fail to see what good that will achieve.
Kevin Bloody Wilson sums it up on Facebook:
The ambassador has already been withdrawn.
I agree with virtually everything you say.
Even with regards capital punishment. However, I heard a talking head on the the Alarming Bullshit Company questioning whether or not it is a deterrent. Damned right it is. The two lowlifes Andrew and Myron have been deterred. And that’s the truth.
If I have pity , it is for the families of these scum. They have been put through Hell. And I have pity for this country whose citizens, it seems, have for the most part gone berzerk.
I find it embarrassing and distressing that our Prime and Foreign ministers stooped to pleading for these criminals.
On a good note, perhaps the endless chatter and quips will cease. Unfortunately, the blaming of anything and everything on the AbbottAbbottAbbott will continue until somebody has the intestinal fortitude to take the ABS to the firing squad.
I’d argue the toss with you about deterrent value. But let’s save that discussion for the dedicated thread. In any case, the two ex-traffickers can’t claim they didn’t know – Oz:
Yep Karabar’s right. Paul Grigson, Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, has been recalled home. Tony Abbott and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop gave a joint press conference four hours ago (about 0600 AEST). I’m sure they are simultaneously relaying private messages to Indonesia not to worry, it’s all just for the media, sit tight. In a few weeks no-one will remember the Bali Nine, and then it’s back to business as usual. You can bet Grigson will be restored to the Embassy with absolutely no media fanfare at all. The MSM will be back to looking at Kim Kardashian’s knockers again, or something equally weighty.
Aussie cartoonist Paul Zanetti nails it:
Andrew Bolt correctly sums up the broader implications of retaliation against Indonesia, and advises caution.
Australian Catholic University have instituted a new scholarship, named after Chan and Sukumaran, to enable two students from Indonesia to study in Australia. The scholarship itself is fine, but naming after drug smugglers?
I guess we can now look forward to the Charles Manson Scholarship to enable Californian cult leaders to interact with their peers in Australia; the Ted Bundy Chair in Womens’ Studies; and the Al Gore fellowship in atmospheric physics. Oh wait…
Agree with all of the above.
The only thing more unpleasantly stupid than engaging in a large scale, socially damaging, financial ‘business’ in a nation where it is illegal and carries the death penalty.
A corrupt government using the death penalty as a political tool.
But it is clear that Indonesia sentences a lot of people, but only executes when it has a point to make about the extent of its power.
It executes Islamic terrorist, because Islamic groups threaten to destabilize the staus quo. It executes people in the drug trade, as competitors in the production and distribution business.
@-“Australian Catholic University have instituted a new scholarship, named after Chan and Sukumaran, to enable two students from Indonesia to study in Australia. The scholarship itself is fine, but naming after drug smugglers?”
The Australian emotional response is… disproportionate. The Australin deaths in Nepal may eventually outnumber these executions, but I doubt any scholarships will be established in response to those deaths, so much less contingent on human stupidity.
$4million, the claimed assets in this matter, would seem to be the going rate for an educational token of respect. I gather it might be buying a Lomborg center in UWA…
ROFL – Lomberg Centre? Now that’s good – Oz 😆
I saw this the other day on Facebook and thought it appropriate to reproduce here. I cannot vouch for its provenance but it has the ring of authenticity about it. And I know for sure it’s what plenty of police officers are thinking right now.
(WARNING – extremely graphic)
WordPress has just informed me that today is LibertyGibbert’s fifth birthday. Thanks to all the friends and commenters who have helped make my little corner of the internet what it is.
Apparently five years duration makes one’s blog relatively advanced in years ; most die within 18 months , and three years is considered very good going.
The place is pretty quiet at the moment, largely because I have been otherwise engaged these last 18 months. That situation is set to continue till at least October. After that, we will see. I may change the blog’s focus once again, as there are some new(ish) topics that have taken my interest of late – Oz
Muslim leaders want crackdown on Muslim immigration
Well done Australia, you seem to be leading the world on this. Just shows that being tough brings its rewards.
Five years is a long time, Ozboy. Well done.
All the best,
G’day Amanda, long time no see. Hope you’re well.
Many thanks on being there for the ride – Oz