Thursday, January 02, 2014

Two cheers for the Pardon of Turing. But not three.

As I am sure readers of this blog know Alan Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952, forced into hormone treatment, and committed suicide in 1954 (I had always heard that that was WHY he committed suicide
though the dates don't quite line up--- at that time he seemed to be recovered form the ordeal. So there are some legit questions about this.)

He was recently given a Royal Pardon. While I am glad he was pardoned this does raise some questions. Lets me logical.

  1. If we believe the law criminalizing homosexual acts was unjust (as I am sure that all of my readers do) then Turing is a red herring- they should pardon ALL people convicted. AND note that  according to this there are 15,000 men who were convicted of this crime who are still alive.
  2. Pardon means that the person didn't do the crime. This is not the case here. However, laws are supposed to promote justice, not block it.
Here is hoping that the Pardon of Turing will lead to a general pardon.

(NOTE- the pointer in item 1 says more of what I wanted to say, but says it
more elegantly than I ever could.)


  1. A pardon does not mean that the person didn't do the crime. It just means the crime is forgiven and, if applicable, that the sentence is commuted.

  2. Somehow the idea of a "pardon" in this case sounds rather arrogant to me: it is somewhat like a terrorist "pardoning" his victims.

    If any one is in need of "forgiveness" here, it is the justice system which committed the atrocities on Turing and other homosexuals under the guise of an inhumane law.

  3. Agree.
    I was also emailed by someone that `Pardon' means `we forgive you for that BAD THING you did' which is certainly not appropriate here. That person thought an
    APOLOGY would be more in order.

    Someone else emailed me that a PARDON may have some real (positive) legal implications that an APOLOGY would not.

  4. There was already an official apology from Prime Minister Gordon Brown a few years ago.

  5. In fact the reason for the pardon is because (ironically) the apology was deemed by some to be insufficient.

  6. TYPO in title of blog post.