MacAskill: Well, I've said all along, and I said in my statement, I'm very, very sorry for the grief. It started in the 24th of December, 1998 (sic) when a heinous atrocity was perpetrated above one small town in Scotland, taking the lives, not just of Americans, but 11 people from our small land.
Nothing can assuage their grief. There is nothing that I could say to Mrs. Cohen or to anyone else that will ease the pain that they have on a day and daily basis.
But in Scotland, our justice system is not predicated on vengeance, but on bringing people to account. And equally, our value system is predicated on seeking to treat people in a matter that is merciful and compassionate, even if they do not show to us as we would wish to show to them.
Blitzer: Do you...
MacAskill: So I'm so heartfelt sorry for Mrs. Cohen and every other victim for the Scottish, UK, American or wherever else. But equally, we are adhering to the values that we have and are following the due process of law that we possess.
Blitzer: Do you realize that you've made their grief so much more powerful right now because they see the picture of this guy walking on a plane and flying back home to Libya where he is about to be received with a hero's welcome?
MacAskill: I've released a sick man. The medical evidence given to me in a report dated 10th August by the Scottish Prison Service says that he's terminally ill. That is a sentence that I cannot impose in Scotland, no court could. We do not have the death penalty. It's final, terminal and irrevocable.
That sentence that he now faces cannot be revoked by any court or overruled by any jurisdiction. I have decided to allow him to go home to die. I am showing his family some compassion. I accept there was a compassion not shown to families in the United States, or in Scotland.
But we have values, we will not debase them, and we will seek to live up to those values of humanity that we pride ourselves on. He was brought to justice after tremendous -- what, not simply by Scottish police and prosecution authorities, but by the United States.
Equally, as I say, in Scotland, justice is tempered with compassion. And that, as I say, is why he has been allowed to go home to die.
Rumpole says: We're not so sure he's right; we're not so sure he's wrong. We are sure our prison system needs a strong dose of what Mr. MacAskill is saying.
Item: Plaxico Burress pleads guilty to shooting himself in the leg and gets two years.
As many people are commenting- one football player in Miami drives impaired and kills another human being and gets 30 days. Another football player shoots himself in the leg and gets two years.
Something's wrong here?
Maybe. Maybe not. New York has very strict gun laws. In the US in 2006 there were 30,896 gun related deaths- or more than ten times the number of people who died in the 9/11 attacks. And that number remains fairly consistent year in, year out, decade in, decade out. States have legitimate interests in regulating the carrying of firearms and NY has well known and very strict laws about illegally carrying firearms.
The problem, if any, is in the result of the Stallworth case not the Burress case. If Mr. Burress wants to emulate the "thug life" he sees in videos and music, then he can do the time and pay the price that kind of life leads to .