Sometimes a crime is so heinous that it calls for new laws to punish similar acts in the future. In these cases, the law is often named after the victim; and here are some few examples:
The LINDBERGH LAW
On the evening of March 1, 1932, famous aviator Charles Lindbergh was at home with his family. At some point, someone crept in through a second-story window and abducted his young son, Charles Jr. Poor Charles Jr. was later found murdered. A lengthy investigation turned up Bruno Richard Hauptmann, who was executed for the crime even though he never confessed.
Public outrage at the Lindbergh case was overwhelming. Lindbergh was a hero, being the first man to fly nonstop from New York to Paris. The gruesome treatment of John Jr., who was only 18 months old, further enraged the populace. Because of this incident, Congress swiftly passed the “Lindbergh Law” which made kidnapping a Federal crime when the victim is brought across state lines.
In February of 2005, nine year old Jessica Lunsford was abducted, raped and killed in Florida. It didn’t take police long to find their killer: convicted sex offender John Couey was living with his half-sister in a nearby trailer. In spite of his long record for sex crimes, Couey was not known to neighbors as a sex offender and in fact was registered as living miles away.
The sickening crime outraged many in Florida and around the nation. Florida swiftly passed “Jessica’s Law” which requires stiffer crimes for sex offenders, increased sharing of sex offender databases, and stepping up registration and monitoring sex offenders out on parole. Almost every state in the United States has passed a version of Jessica’s Law.
On July 29, 1994, seven year old Megan Kanka was assaulted and murdered by her neighbor, Jesse K. Timmendequas in Hamilton Township, New Jersey. Parents in the area had no idea that Timmendequas was a two-time sex offender with a horrific record. Led by Megan’s parents, the local community expressed its outrage, and just a few months later New Jersey became the first state to pass a version of “Megan’s Law.”
“Megan’s Law” is a general term describing a variety of laws at the state and federal level across the USA. They differ slightly from state to state, but they all are founded on the same principle: members of the community need to know when a dangerous sex offender is living nearby. In general, it releases information such as the offender’s name, address, photo, dates of incarceration and crime. This information is released in newspapers, pamphlets and often online.
The BRADY BILL
Officially the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act, the “Brady Bill” is named for presidential press secretary James Brady, who was shot by John Hinckley, Jr. in a 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. Brady was badly injured and permanently handicapped as a result.
The “Brady Bill” requires federal background checks for those who wish to purchase firearms anywhere in the USA. There are many things that can prohibit someone from obtaining a firearm, including conviction of a crime which is punishable by more than a year in prison or previous admission to a mental institution. Hinckley would not have been able to purchase the firearm he used had the Brady Bill already been enacted.
BACK HOME TO GHANA
We currently have a situation at hand which has been occasioned by a dispute over the 2012 general elections. The issue is obviously political and this has made every single discussion on the matter highly polarized between the two leading political parties in Ghana, namely, NPP and NDC.Since this case was filed in late December, last year, every other issue in this country has been pushed to the back-burner, and cases bordering on massive corruption by both state and public officials, as being unveiled by current Auditor General’s report, go completely un-noticed.
Issues about rampant hellish infernos currently sweeping across the nation, with eye-popping vengeance, resulting in massive loss of properties, and in some case, wiping-off entire lively-hoods of hundreds of thousands of our compatriots, only get mentioned in newspaper reviews, followed by the usual cacophonous post-mortem of what the causes of these fires are.
PROVOCATIVE NDC COMMUNICATORS
Ghanaians love our politics and this is why we are all engrossed in this ongoing Supreme Court case. And like I have always maintained, NDC is an entity which is populated by expert irritants. It has always been their strategy, during discussion on Radio/TV, to spew their chronic propaganda, without interruption, but will rudely interject when others are making their submissions. They will also resort to their characterically nauseating laughter when others are speaking; and they do so with an expressed purpose of disrupting others’ line of thought.
A case in point was on 24th August, 2011 edition of Joy-FM’s news/current affairs programme, ‘Newsfile’, when Dr Omane-Boamah intentionally and persistently infuriated Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko to the point where the latter couldn’t take it anymore and actually walked off the set. Again, there was an incident in the studios of Asempa-FM where Halidu Haruna provoked John Kuma to make a pronouncement which put the latter on a rather unfortunate collision course with my very own good old uncle Ato Ahwoi.
POLITICS OF INSULTS
Now, during the 2008 electioneering campaign,NPP hierarchy put on their characteristic 3-piece suit/tie and sat aloof for Nana Addo’s impeccable image to be torn into shreds by NDC communicators and their horde of criminally-minded press.
In 2012,Nana Addo’s image, once again, came under attack by these very same NDC commuincators.But,this time round, some elements, purportedly sympathetic to NPP,side-stepped the coat/tie wearing attitude of the party hierarchy and responded with commensurate personal attacks on then President Atta-Mills. This rekindled the conscience of the nation, and a cease-fire was called.
When President Atta-Mills died and John Mahama took over, Nana Addo’s image, once again, came under attack and sympathizers of NPP equally responded with a chronicle of mountainous weaknesses of John Mahama.And here too, the nation’s conscience was pricked and a cease-fire was called.
And not long ago, NDC communicators started with concocted pornographic images of Nana Addo; and here again, purported sympathizers of NPP responded in equal measure. The nation’s conscience was pricked, and a cease-fire was called.
NDC THREATS OF CIVIL WAR
Just a few days ago, NDC communicators started issuing threats of total civil war, if the ongoing case challenging the legitimacy of John Mahama’s presidency is upheld. This again, elicited swift response from NPP communicators. And here again, the nation’s conscience was pricked, and the Supreme Court judges began to bite.
JUSTICE ATUGUBA’s ELASTIC LIMIT
Now, final straw that broke the camel’s back and sent Justice William Atuguba cracking the whip were those completely unwarranted pronouncements made by NDC communicators, as regards a possible outcome of ongoing Supreme Court case over 2012 presidential election and its resultant repercussions. And this time round, Sammy Awuku, a young politician with the prospect of even occupying the presidency of Ghana on the ticket of the biggest and most vibrant political movement anywhere on this planet, was again, provoked by an NDC panelist he was with on a Peace-FM programme.
And when the court resumed sitting on 26th June, 2013, Sammy Awuku, who was then battling with flu and peacefully resting at home, unexpectedly came under Justice William Atuguba’s gargantuan binoculus. And being a law-abiding Youngman, he made himself available before the court where he was cautioned and discharged but barred from attending proceedings of the court in respect of the ongoing election petition.
And following Sammy Awuku’s appearance at the Supreme Court over a comment he made in response to what an NDC panelist had said, these NDC propagandists have, once again, gone hay-wire with their characteristic cacophony of insipid propaganda stunts. I have heard them comparing what Sammy Awuku said to what have been said by NDC communicators, for which they have also been hauled before the court.
Now, Sammy Awuku expressed an opinion which happened to be contrary to a decision taken by the Supreme Court. This certainly has no security implications to our national stability. On the other hand, pronouncements made by these NDC communicators to the effect that the Supreme Court has absolutely no authority to return a verdict contrary to that which was declared by Afari-Gyan,in respect of 2012 presidential election results, and that, tinkling with the status quo will result in a full-blown civil war, have three serious implications;
1. It completely erodes the powers invested in the Supreme Court
2. Prejudices the verdict
3. Threatens the very security, stability and socio-economic cohesiveness of our dear nation.
So, these NDC people whose delight is firmly rooted in spinning out-of-control with crass insipid propaganda, should learn to educate themselves on matters of common sense and cut-out the ear-piercing cacophony.
MY HUMBLE REQUEST
Now, since Sammy Awuku has ended up as the most famous victim of crime of ‘PROVOCATION’ by notoriously provocative NDC insipid propagandists, and ultimately, the vehicle through which all future transgressors, by way of utterances bordering on contempt of Supreme Court proceedings are going to be dealt with, I would respectfully suggest to our Law Lords, to incorporate in their final verdict, a law and name it “SAMMY AWUKU LAW”.
Finally, I sincerely do not believe His Lordship Justice William Atuguba intends to gag Ghanaians from impartially analyzing aspects of decisions made by££ the Supreme Court, since this will be inconsistent with the law on free speech. That notwithstanding, I will urge all communicators to be mindful of operating within the boundaries permitted by law and tenets of the court, henceforth.
Justice Abeeku Newton-Offei