30 May 2015

Another day, another charade…….

Globally, I hear people breathing a sigh of relief at the news that Ross Ulbricht has been sentenced to life in prison without parole. At last we can sleep peacefully in our beds knowing that Ross isn't going to be coming round to our place any time soon, if ever. But I also hear people asking, 'Who the hell is Ross Ulbricht?'.

Ross, if you didn't know, and I suspect that most didn't, is alleged to have run a 'dark web' (gasp!) site called 'Silk Road' where people bought and sold illegal drugs (gasp!). Not only that but he is alleged to have made £11M doing it (horror!). The authorities also claim that (shock!) six people may have died as a result of using drugs bought via 'Silk Road'.

Now I'm not defending Ross but I do find it odd that he should receive such harsh treatment when, for example, more than 6,000 people were killed in the USA in 2010 by handguns. The firearms industry in the USA suggests that they aren't responsible because they only make the guns, they don't use them and it is possible that Ross could have be protected by a similar defence.

Bringing the issue a little closer to home, I don't know anyone who bought cocaine via 'Silk Road' but I do know many, many people who were and are affected by the financial crash of 2007/8. And the story of the crash is shot through with criminality, fraud, deception, corruption and conspiracy, all laced with a good dollop of greed and venality. In comparison to the financial crash and the subsequent bailouts, Ross's wrong-doing pales into insignificance yet Ross is going to be banged up for the rest of his life and the bankers walk away with golden goodbyes.

What does this say about our society? It says, quite simply, that the wrongdoing of outsiders will always be punished where the wrongdoing of insiders will go unpunished.