Australia has been hit by enormous wildfires, and not-so-wild ones too. Now authorities suspect some of those fires were actually arson. This seems to be a recurring theme everywhere in the world where supposedly wildfires break out. It’s the same story in the U.S., Greece, Spain and many other countries.

However, this time in Australia, I was very happy to hear the prime minister, Mr. Kevin Rudd, call things by their name. He has called the fires “mass murder”, and he is absolutely right, although he’s probably referring only to the human lives lost in the fires. His words are perfectly applicable to the murder of wild life in the scorched forests, both fauna and flora. Finally a government official (the top job, even!) has used the right name for this type of criminal activity.

Arson in Spain every year cause death to wild animals, cattle, plants, (and on occasion, humans). Sadly, no government official here has called it “mass murder”.

Of course, simply calling it “mass murder” does no good, but it’s the first step. Mr. Rudd announced they will prosecute arsonists, and that’s at least something, although the law is too lenient: A 20 or 30 year jail sentence is really a nice gift for the arsonists. What’s necessary is to apply serious measures on those criminals who set the fires, and to anyone who collaborated in any way. The proper sentence must be commensurate with the damage caused. Let us recapitulate: forests killed and massacred, wild animals burnt alive, cities scorched, humans assassinated, families’ homes destroyed. How to repay arsonists? Their reward must not be less than what they have given nature and society: They should be burnt alive, slowly, over a period of days. It is the minimum necessary sentence so they may understand the suffering they have caused for so many animals, plants, and to society.

But of course, judicial systems in our “civilized” world dare not introduce torture in their penal code, needed in exceptional cases like large-scale arson. Sentences considered by penal codes are laughable whenever societies are faced with people who show no remorse to cause great pain.

May this article help stir people’s minds to accept that at the very least, death penalty is needed in cases of extremely large crimes.


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