What, you might ask, was such a man doing at liberty? Well, most importantly, he was providing a living for the lawyers who defended him when he was caught: he was what one might call a criminal Keynesian. And he was providing ammunition for penological liberals who argue that prison doesn’t work. After all, he had been to prison and still he set fire to the furniture store, endangering the lives of so many people!
Dalrymple has a short piece for City Journal on George Thompson, the man whose act of arson helped kickoff the 2011 London riots and who was just sentenced to over 11 years in prison as a result. Dalrymple notes that Thompson had already had an extensive criminal record long before the arson.