Friday, 20 March 2009


Most women will have passed some time considering what should be done with such a person. Women are always at risk of being considered objects and still, in many cultures, are treated as objects of exchange between men. In Christian cultures women within certain degrees of consanguinity are protected by the fiercest of prohibitions, and some degrees of affinity are protected from predatory males within a kinship group, though more by rule than by taboo.

The fragility of the protection offered by social norms and arrangements could not have been more cruelly demonstrated. It is quite literally at our peril that we are unwilling to accept that some cultures are inferior to others. Or that we can make ad hoc adjustment to the organising principles of our society, and such a basic organising principle as the kinship system at that, without this kind of horror surfacing and claiming itself to be consensually acceptable or merely a psychological aberration (as has already been claimed by this perpetrator).

Now we read that should an annual assessment of his mental condition deem him to be within the norms, sentence will be served in an ordinary prison with automatic consideration for parole after 14 years. That he will be in his late 80s in 14 years is irrelevant. The point is that his sentence - for what he has done to his immediate victims, for what he has done to the rest of us in our understanding of our own world and its safety, and to condemn him utterly - should put him away for ever. Irreversibly, no successful pleading.

If we cannot devise some means of delivering such a sentence other than execution, then he opens even more routes for evil to enter our lives.


patently said...

I heard that there was also some concern at the considerable degree of comfort provided by his cell in the psychiatric establishment in which he will be held.

It struck me that, surely, he had established a clear precedent as to the nature of a cell in which he considered it reasonable to keep someone? I also wondered if the cell concerned was still in existence? Perhaps he could, literally, be kept in home comfort for the rest of his days?

Caronte said...

Absolutely fair, Patently. Dante-esque, I would say, in its striking retribution, or "contrappasso".

Sue said...

I do think that in some cases (such as this) execution is necessary, more as a warning to others that would contemplate inflicting such horrors on other people than in revenge.

Why he should be allowed to live the rest of his life cushioned and protected from the world now, is beyond my comprehension.

What next, a book, a film of the book? We know how sick this world can be.

Raedwald said...

Agree with patently.

This man should never see Sunlight or natural light again, never hear a bird sing, never hear a child laugh, never feel the tender touch of love or care.

The rest of his life - which should be maintained - should be spent in an underground cell sans benefit of human contact except with his jailors.

it's either banned or compulsory said...

I'm with the death would be too easy crowd.
Perhaps the authorities in Austria could arrange for Fritz to serve his time sharing his cell with a hardened gerontophile ?

Sue said...

No, you still couldn't inflict upon him the pain, misery and sheer hopelessness that his daughter must have felt.

I just can't imagine what that poor girl/woman went through, it's inconceivable..if I had my way, I torture the f**ker, but I'm not a nice person like you lot :)

hatfield girl said...

The conviction is not serious enough. These are crimes against humanity. Even the requirement that there must be some institutional support for the committing of such acts is there. Not just in Austria but elsewhere there are institutionalised movements for the recasting of family norms, for the sexualisation of children, for the assertion of (usually) male power over domestic groups.

In the late seventies there was the affiliation of the Paedophile Information Exchange to the Council for Civil Liberties for instance, to name but one example. The notion that all manners of structuring domestic groups is acceptable and the policies of non-judgmentalism are widespread.

The refusal of any enquiry into how he was able to perpetrate this nightmare, this perversion social relations, and his confinement as a psychatric case seeks to individualise his behaviour, deny any wider corruption.

He cannot be tried now for crimes for which he has already stood trial. He has been convicted at too low a level. And he should not be regarded as an anomalous madman disconnected from social arguments that carry with them these terrible dangers for the powerless where they should be safest.

As for him, personally, his daughter and their children cannot call for the death of their father. Patricide stands with incest and cannot be added to this chamber of horrors. We must demand his death for them. While he lives he controls them still.