Friday, November 27, 2009

Provocation repealed

Provocation has joined sedition in the dustbin of history.

Good. The partial defence of provocation was an archaic holdover from a more violent era, where it was considered perfectly acceptable to react with sudden violence if, say, someone implied you were gay, otherwise insulted you, or was caught sleeping with your wife (who the law assumed was property, not a person capable of making her own decisions). All of these were once seen as justifications for violence, even murder. Not any more. The law is now clear: people are expected to show restraint and self-control in their interpersonal relationships. And for those who can't, and think with their fists, we have a criminal justice system.

The law still allows people to use reasonable force in defence of themselves and others. But it does not allow them to beat and kill people out of anger. And that is a Good Thing.