The punishment of yesteryear

The punishment of yesteryear


It’s time to throw “the book” at people who can’t make an honest living, but instead prey on others by skulking around at night and stealing our belongings.

But who’s going to throw this book? Certainly not judges who are so conditioned to handing out light sentences that do nothing to deter the next low-life from stealing your stuff.

Perhaps a guard dog would be better at meting out the justice that is sorely lacking in this country.

In the old days, stealing a man’s horse was punishable by hanging. While that antiquated law seems harsh by today’s standards, it was the expected outcome back then.

Let’s look at other countries and what happens there if you break the law. Perhaps this is why so many people want to come to Canada – the land that justice forgot.

A British grandfather who was caught (by Saudi police) with homemade wine in the back of his car was sentenced to more than 350 lashes.

A Saudi airline worker publicly detailed his sex life and was sentenced to five years in jail and 1,000 lashes.

In the United Arab Emirates, theft carries a punishment of imprisonment for six months to three years. Even attempted theft will land you in jail there.

Reportedly, Iran previously used a finger-amputating machine for people convicted of theft.

A common punishment for theft in primitive cultures was amputation of the arm or fingers.

In ancient Egypt, convicted thieves were reportedly flogged, staked or mutilated.

Since ancient times, the punishment for various ill deeds ranged from banishment and branding to caning and the stocks.

Birching was a common punishment in schools, where ill-behaved children were beaten across the backside with twigs.

Bastinado was a form of punishment that involved using a stick to beat someone on the soles of his or her feet.

The scold’s bridle was a bizarre instrument of punishment normally used on women. The device was an iron muzzle in an iron framework that enclosed the head. It was reportedly use for women who nagged their husbands.

In Medieval times, the ducking stool was used for women who sinned as prostitutes and witches. The woman was strapped into a chair by the side of a river. The chair would then be dipped into the cold water using a wooden arm with men as the counterweight.

All of these methods of punishment were cruel and inhumane, which is why they were abolished. But it’s ironic how our society has gone so far the other way that very little deterrence exists in today’s legal sentencing.

Career thieves and prolific offenders continue to ply their trade with little consequence.

There are no more books to throw at them, just legal jargon that their lawyers use to either get them off or win a lenient sentence.

Lyonel Doherty, editor