On the blog of the Social Affairs Unit Dalrymple addresses the implications of a brutal murder in England:
Even the greatest penological liberal has at least one type of crime that he wishes to punish severely and with exemplary zeal, however much he may decry the principle of punishment as retribution or deterrence. In the case of the Guardian newspaper, the crime that it most deprecates is that against favoured minorities, as if it were the minority status, and not the crime, that mattered most.….Why some murders are selected for publicity and others are not is an interesting question; no doubt everyone uses dramatic and unusual events for his own moral purposes, to illustrate what he thinks needs illustrating (I have certainly done it). But many of the reports of murders nowadays are sure to include the “tributes” paid to the victim, as if the wickedness of murder depended upon the personal qualities of the victim, and to kill a person who had, say, a pleasant smile or who was handsome was far worse than to kill someone with a perpetual frown or who was ugly. The “tributes” to the victim often consist of a list of the most banal qualities that one would hope to find in many, if not most, people; but the very word “tribute” suggests something approaching a willing death or sacrifice for a cause by someone of more than usual worth.