Australian drug trafficker Le My Linh faces a firing squad in Ho Chi Minh
City after her appeal against her death sentence failed.
We can expect the usual outrage from Civil Libertarians, right to lifers,
trendy lefties, who will
be up in arm about this decision, but shouting mobs are rarely rational, even though
extreme situations are always the best for imposing rationality on.
Punishing people for taking drugs is both stupid and immoral. Any intelligent
person recognizes this. Punishing people for supplying drugs is only marginally
less stupid and immoral. Unfortunately, however, we live in a stupid and
It's tempting to see Le My Linh as someone who took advantage of the free market - she had a
product (supply), there was a customer (demand), she lubricated the market, and
aided in the transaction. Not really - in fact she took advantage of the
black market. The free-market value of the 888g of heroin she was
attempting to smuggle back to Australia would hardly have
paid for her in-flight meals. The reason why her little importation business
seemed attractive was precisely because of its illegality.
She took advantage of the illegality of the drugs, it seems a little rich
to now call herself a victim if their illegality.
Le My Linh is no different than someone who makes a deal: You play
Russian Roulette, if you win you get 30,000 and if you lose .. well you get
shot, OK? While most of us wouldn't choose to play such a game, the number
of children locked in cars outside casinos demonstrates there are many who
would. Many people choose to take risks.
The black market offers a strange paradox - the greater the risk, the
greater the profit, and therefore the greater the temptation. If the risk (and
consequently the profit) had been less, would Le My Linh have bothered to take
it? She is merely someone who lost the bet.
After she is executed, people will be reminded of the very real risks,
the prices will increase accordingly, and others will choose to take similar
risks because of the greater gains.
Think of it as a kind of free-black-market.
And while the notion that all Australians are equal is an attractive one,
the history of Le My Linh is worth examining. She was born in 1959, and
emigrated to Australia in 1979 (at age 20). She has joined the group of
Australian citizens and then gone back to her native country to knowingly break
its laws. She, more than anyone would have been aware of cost of failure. What
obligations does the Australian taxpayer have to attempt to
Le My Linh's only chance now is a presidential appeal or for communist Vietnam to become
sensible and rational before her execution. That hasn't happened anywhere else
in the world, and the chances of it happening first in a communist country seem
rather remote. Fire away.