Friday, April 17, 2009

Flaming Arsonists

Before you start reading, please be warned that this is not going to be one of my traditional blogs, where you could be rest assured that I will check everything out to the last word in order to ensure that my English, in all senses, is up to standard. On the contrary, this blog is one driven out of pure emotion - so please excuse me if any of my arguments are not coherent or there is a constant repetition of some words here and there.

Anyhow, I must admit that until now, I have pretty much dismissed all forms of arson attacks that have occurred on the island. They might have become more frequent, especially in the last year or so, but I just continued disregarding them as objects of petulant ignorance and stupidity. However, like most things, when something pretty much affects you in a direct manner, it is only then that you stand up and take notice.

This is the reason why I can't get last night's arson attack on Lija mayor Ian Castaldi Paris' house go unnoticed. I am not a friend of Mr. Castaldi Paris - in all fairness, I don't even know the person, but simply know who he is - but what I do know is that he has a neighbour, who lives two doors down from him, who indeed is very close to my heart. I'm referring to my uncle and aunt, whose house was unfortunately affected adversely by the attacks in the sense that half of their facade is burnt. Hence, this is the reason why I'm claiming that I was directly affected by these attacks, as part of my family was unfortunately a major victim of them.

Luckily, both my uncle and aunt, as well as their dog, were not injured or killed by the attacks. Luckily, my uncle and aunt can afford to fix the damage done to their house. Luckily, they're safe and sound at the moment. For I cannot simply imagine what I would be thinking and/or writing at the moment if the situation was different to that that they currently face.

Now I am praying that the perpetrator will be caught - and the police should have an easier task of this time around at least, for he was apparently captured on CCTV and his clothes apparently also caught fire while he was in the midst of the attack. This may not be thinking in the Christian way, but he sure deserved to get burnt - alive, if needs be - for the wrong act that he committed. Such people who commit such attacks are nothing more than the scum of society, and they should be brought to justice with immediate effect. These people have no right whatsoever to live among decent, civilised individuals if their aim is to cause harm to others and their homes by trying to 'prove' a point: their place is behind bars for they are criminals. Especially in such circumstances, when particular homes are targeted, such as those of mayor Castaldi Paris, these criminals undoubtedly have the will and understanding to commit such deplorable acts, and hence must be punished.

I will conclude this blog by criticising Article 316 of the Criminal Code - the section that deals with arson. The Code states:

316. Whosoever shall wilfully set fire to any house, warehouse, shop, dwelling-house, vessel, dock or any building, shed or other place whatsoever, any person being therein at the time of the setting on fire, shall, on conviction, be liable to the punishment of imprisonment for life:
Provided that if no person shall perish, the offender shall be liable -
(a) if he could have foreseen that any person was actually in the place, to imprisonment for a term from nine to twelve years;
(b) otherwise, to imprisonment for a term from five to nine years.

Hence, if caught, the arsonist should be held liable under Article 316(a) - imprisonment for 9 to 12 years. A pathetic sentence if you had to ask me, for various reasons. Firstly, by means of such an attack, it wasn't just a house that was targeted, but a person, his family and the various families living in that area too. The danger was to the whole community. That should already be punishable in itself. Secondly, the Code only gives life imprisonment to the arsonist provided that one's life shall 'perish'. While I commend the fact that the offence is obviously greater if someone is killed, isn't there still attempted homicide of a person/various persons if no one dies? Shouldn't that be punished by means of the Criminal Code? And what about the discrepancy between one punishment meted out and the other - is it fair or unfair? Finally, does our Criminal Code, by means of this provision, seek that justice is done and not just sought to be done? Such a provision leaves so many questions unanswered.

God Bless You all,