The Need to Punish

Just a little while ago I finished watching the movie Narvik. Highly recommend. Five stars. It is a dramatization of the German attack on the Norwegian town of Narvik in 1940 – the Germans invading Norway primary to gain control of Narvik because, during winter, that was the port where a huge portion of Germany’s iron ore came from. Lose that port, lose the war: that was the point for the Germans. It is a Norwegian movie so it is in subtitles for the most part, but it is well done so that you hardly notice that you’re reading the dialogue.

While a war movie, it isn’t centered on war, as such. Certainly there are battle scenes but the story is really about what do you do? Who is right? Who is wrong? What is moral? What is immoral? Collaboration or resistance? Fight on when its hopeless or just quit? The Germans, naturally, are the bad guys – mostly because they really were. But the British are not portrayed very favorably either. Neither are the neutral Swedes. The French (who really did come to fight for Narvik) are given a dose of glory. As I said, definitely recommend. But aside from offering you a couple hours of interesting and moving entertainment, there was something that struck me in the movie.

There is this scene where Gunnar – a young, Norwegian soldier; he, his young wife and child are central elements of the story – finally gets really into the fight and is able to pay out the Germans in their own coin. He shoots two Germans manning a machine gun nest. As he’s turns to leave, he notices that one of them has started moving. He quickly goes over to the man and turns him over: he’s just a kid (like Gunnar) but he’s also no threat: he’s dying and the lad’s dying eyes plead with Gunnar, “help me!”. But all Gunnar does is shove him a bit and, as the kid dies, ask “why are you here?”. No answer is provided: and for Gunnar and his dead enemy, no answer is ever going to really be provided.

The scene bore in on me the crime that is war. Don’t get me wrong: if you’re fighting to defend yourself, you commit no crime – but to start a war is a crime. There is never a justification to start shooting, or set up a situation where the other side feels it must start shooting or die. That player in the movie dying at his post represents millions – and even though, in this case, it was a young German, we do feel the sadness; the loss. The pointless waste of a life. But as we really consider it, we must never forget that it was a crime – and the attacker from the youngest little soldier in the ranks to the top military and political leaders are guilty.

Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment. For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things. – Romans 2:1

Any 18 year old Fritz in the German army, if asked, would say that it would be wrong if a foreign army suddenly descended on his home town and started confiscating, ordering about, oppressing and such. And so, the Germans who landed at Narvik knew they weren’t supposed to do that. No citizen of Narvik or Norway had in any way offended any German in the least. You have no excuse. You may obtain forgiveness, but you have no excuse.

And that thought, in turn, brought me to think about our larger crisis, domestic and foreign. The way the world is really in bad shape. And it occurred to me this is because, after more than a century of incredible evil done by nations and ideologies, nobody was ever sufficiently punished for their transgressions. Justice must always be tempered by mercy, but it still must be justice. Because we must apply mercy, after WWII we wouldn’t line the Germans up and shove them into gas chambers…but hanging a few Nazi leaders hardly atoned for the crime. And this leaves aside the fact that nothing was done about the Soviets, who were only marginally less bad than the Germans.

It is said – and generally accepted – that after WWI the punishment of the Germans was too harsh. The reality is that it was too light. Remember: they attacked France, Belgium and Luxembourg without the slightest provocation. And this led to four years of miserable, slogging warfare where untold numbers of young men died when, with just an ounce of decency on the part of the Germans, they would have lived. All the Germans had to do to save the lives of millions was…not attack people who offered no offense in any way. Quite honestly, for a century after that, the Germans should have been de-jure shackled to plows to pay back those they attacked. And WWII was even worse…and all we did was hang a few Nazis and then let the Germans get rich building cars and then we sat there, slack jawed, as they complained about what we did during the war. And, remember: no excuse. Any German asked in 1939 would have answered “no” to the question “should Nation X attack Germany unprovoked?”. They knew what they were doing was wrong. And they gloried in it…and only rejected it when it was all over. Germans want to complain about Dresden? They should feel lucky that every city and town in Germany wasn’t razed to the ground.

And I do think that this unwillingness to punish on the larger scale has led to our unwillingness on the lower scale. We’re forever finding excuses. Letting the guilty off. Figuring out how we can turn a blind eye to it. Easier that way, don’t you know? To punish is to take responsibility…and to assert a standard that you, too, must he held to. It is almost as if by letting Nazis and Communists off we then gave ourselves permission to bomb mud huts in Vietnam and drone wedding parties in Yemen. That if we let the mugger and armed robber off in our streets, we can then excuse the politician taking bribes. That if we all smear a bit of sh** all over ourselves, none of us will notice we stink.

It is high time that we got ourselves cleaned up. That we start to punish the guilty. Yes, yes, yes: always tempered with mercy. But mercy is to reduce the punishment either in scope or duration…but there must be punishment. The guilty must feel at least some of the pain they inflicted. And nobody has an excuse – the dictator plotting war and the punk plotting robbery already know they shouldn’t – and they know they shouldn’t because they know they wouldn’t want themselves to be the victim of an unprovoked attack or a robbery. When we think of all those who have been victimized by war and crime over the past century because our failure to punish encouraged the next war or crime, then really no amount of harshness meted out to the guilty is excessive. If the Germans in 1939 had been shackled and working merely to feed themselves and pay back those they attacked, then there would have been no WWII. In Europe, 60 million people would not have died. Try to sell me that brutally humiliating the Germans for, say, 50 years after WWI would have been worse than WWII. And how many in our cities have been robbed, raped and murdered by people who had previously robbed, raped or murdered? You tell me that punishment doesn’t deter crime? Maybe – but I know what a guy breaking rocks in the hot sun for 10 years won’t do for 10 years: rob. That’s at least some people not robbed; and that makes the punishment of the robber just and merciful. And as merciful to the robber as to any potential future victims – by punishing, we are at least for a time preventing the miscreant from sinning, and that’s a good thing.

9 thoughts on “The Need to Punish

  1. Cluster January 28, 2023 / 9:51 am

    In the wake of Tyre’s unfortunate death, I’m hearing a lot about “black America”, and what the “black community” thinks in the media. Why do black people continually segregate themselves from everyone else? This is extremely divisive language that just seems to never stop, although in my opinion it is all by design. Truth is, if you want a glimpse into “black america” look no further than Memphis … a 60%+ black population, black city council, black police chief, and largely black police force. I think the black community should start looking inward rather than constantly blaming others. And wouldn’t it be nice if the poor black children in Chicago who are brutalized every weekend, would get this amount of outrage and attention?

    Antifa also published a flyer yesterday in NY calling for a “night of chaos”, and requested that rioters bring knives, pipes, etc. and evidently this doesn’t get the attention of the DOJ.

    • Amazona January 28, 2023 / 11:14 am

      Antifa also published a flyer yesterday in NY calling for a “night of chaos”, and requested that rioters bring knives, pipes, etc. but this evidently does not rise to the level of “incitement of violence” that Trump’s “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” did.

    • Amazona January 28, 2023 / 1:05 pm

      What, exactly, are these people “protesting”? The people who did the deed are fired, arrested and charged with murder. They were all black, and killed a black man, so in spite of CNN’s pathetic effort to claim this was still “racist” it was clearly not a race crime.

      It couldn’t be more obvious that any excuse for a riot is good enough for these people. And, of course, that black people are hyperemotional and irrational and fly into violent rages at the drop of a hat. At least that is the message they work so hard to convey.

      If you want to be respected as rational, intelligent equals to the rest of society, you have to act like rational, intelligent equals to the rest of society. It’s not that complicated. If you want to be seen as ignorant violent savages, then go join a riot. Just don’t come whining afterward that you are seen as ignorant violent savages.

  2. Retired Spook January 28, 2023 / 10:58 am

    Robert Malone’s post today is a must read.

    • Amazona January 28, 2023 / 11:09 am

      You beat me to it. This is so packed with important/scary information it was like reading a Vince Flynn novel, as one astounding fact after another was presented. Far too many to quote, but Malone’s wife collected some comments which are posted at the end of the article, and this (of course) resonated with me:

      Nuremberg trials and sentences for these modern day Mengeles and Goebbels Frankenstein medical tyrants experiment on other people’s bodies using coercion propaganda and force Justice is long overdue History is repeating itself

    • Retired Spook January 28, 2023 / 11:15 am

      And Jeff Childers looks at it from a lawyer’s POV.

  3. Amazona January 28, 2023 / 12:19 pm

    Esteemed UK cardiologist, Dr. Aseem Malhotra, has called on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to halt the rollout of the COVID-19 mRNA shots in light of the “ongoing unnecessary harm that is devastating individuals and families.

    In this excellent article, Malhotra quoted the late Stephen Hawking, who stated, “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.”

    • Cluster January 28, 2023 / 12:31 pm

      The “illusion of knowledge” is rampant in this country. So many people of authority who are bone deep stupid; think: Biden, Harris, Buttigieg, etc. I said a few days ago that I don’t think there is one person alive in this country today who has the intellect, moral clarity, and grasp of history that our Founding Fathers had. Collectively we have become a very confused and stupid society, and all you have to do today to confirm that, is watch MSNBC. They are doing all they can to apply racism and white supremacy to the death of Tyre.

      • Amazona January 28, 2023 / 1:09 pm

        This is what you get when people think the Participation Trophy means they actually excelled at something.

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