War no excuse for crime now

31 January 2020

January 30th, 1920.

WE AGREE with a morning contemporary in refusing to believe that the present outbreak of crimes of violence argues a large corruption of society. Rather, as Sir Neville Macready puts it, there is a “magnification of crime”. Some part, no doubt, is the result of the war in making men who have seen so many violent deaths more or less indifferent to the value of life. But the publicity given by the Press to criminals and the spectacles of crime exhibited on the films must not be over-looked in seeking for the causes. It remains for the authorities to act with greatly increased severity. In the first place, they should make it as difficult as possible for unauthorized persons to be in possession of fire-arms. Judges and magistrates, in giving sentence, should refuse to consider a prisoner’s appeal for mercy on the ground of his having served in the war. The war has now been over long enough for him to have returned to moral sanity. It is useless and unfair to blame the police for their lack of vigilance. If they could be certain that offenders would be visited with condign punishment, they would probably exert themselves a great deal more in order to lay them by the heels.

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