Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Indeed, Antony, the subject of crime and how to deal with it, especially crimes as emotionaly charged as the ones DoDo and I talked about -- is not a simple left-right issue.

To have this out of the way: In the current political context of upcoming elections and in the German media environment that is spinning narratives on that, and the public that reacts to the controversy... the debate between those two sides is a story in its own right. We decided to focus on that. I feel that we were entirely justified in choosing that focus, that we were clear about it and that we managed to put together a piece that is tranparently partial to the left, but not blind about the vulnerabilities of the left in this issue.

Now: what you focus on is something different. It's a worthwhile issue to debate. But I want to make it as clear as possible that it is not what we set out to report on and that I do not think we ommitted anything by not discussing it. To the contrary, the piece would have lost its focus if we had included it, by trying to deal with too many issues at once. So: when you say that there is something missing because we do not discuss ways of dealing with crime, or do not discuss fears among the population, I think that you are moving the goalposts.

To move on to this very different debate:

The Mehmet affair in Munich is a case touted as a purely Right-Left controversy; however, there were ordinary people of every political stripe in the Bavarian capital who applauded the deportation of Muhlis Ari, the young Turk's real name, and they regretted the Bavarian court decision allowing him to return to Munich. The case genuinely alarmed those who were concerned about violence and crime involving youngsters. Many a voice could be heard in Munich saying, "We have no choice but to deal with our own German offenders, but let's deport foreign citizens, who are not our responsibility." That widespread reaction in Munich is a fact, and there's no getting round it.

I'll be relatively short about this. The purpose of the set of policies a society employs to deal with crime should be about dealing with crime. Not, except maybe at the margin, about dealing with the fears of the common citizen, or the visceral emotional reaction people can develop when responding to a specific high-profile criminal act. Those fears should be reduced by reducing crime, and if they are not, by better educating the public about security.

On the point of zero tolerance: as I stated there is a very spirited debate on its efficacy, as you can read in the wiki, which I am unqualified to comment upon at this time.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon Jan 21st, 2008 at 04:29:18 PM EST
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