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The Sun, London, 5 January 1993
Birch these thugs who prey on our old folk
The Sun speaks its mind on the big issue facing Britain today
IN the Britain of 1993 there cannot be a single elderly man or woman who does not live in some fear.
Fear of being robbed.
Fear of being attacked, perhaps murdered, in the street or even in their home.
Percy Noble, an 80-year-old widower, lived alone in a pensioner's bungalow.
He was found beaten to death there.
He had few material possessions. His home was not in a decayed inner city.
It was in the North Yorkshire village of Sleights, which tourists visit for its beauty and its peace.
The appalling indictment of our society is that there is NO peace, NO safety for our old folk wherever they are.
This was once a country where women and children, the old, the weak and vulnerable, went wherever they wished by day and night.
Now they are afraid to venture into the streets at any time.
And a killer can pounce on a helpless old man in his moorland hamlet home. Why has it happened? Why has Britain turned back the clock to another Age of the Barbarians?
We can find many explanations.
"Progressive" methods in schools and young tearaways allowed to do pretty much as they pleased.
The collapse of family authority and parents who do not bother to find out what their youngsters are up to and feel no shame or regret when they turn to violent crime.
Politicians and sociologists will long argue over the causes of violence.
Our urgent concern is how to curb it NOW and how to protect our old folk and all the other victims.
We have gone too far down the road of being soft and understanding towards thugs.
When a society is threatened by modern barbarians, it has no choice but to fight back. And it can fight back effectively only with the weapons of the barbarians.
Thugs have no concern for the pain they cause to others.
But they are also cowards who are very concerned for their own skins.
If they knew that when they were caught and convicted they would share the pain, that would be a real deterrent.
Here is the case for bringing back flogging.
Brutal? We are sure the nation would prefer brutality to criminals than to our old folk.
The Sun demands a totally new attitude to the treatment of thugs in jail. They should know that they face an automatic sentence of ten years.
It does not matter if they are deprived and have mental problems.
It does not matter if their mother hated them and their father beat them.
Ten years minimum -- and more if they offend again.
If we cannot make life better and safer for our old folk, we have no right to call ourselves civilised.
Let's give them a Charter for the rest of their days.
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