We regularly read in the Belfast Telegraph of punishment beatings or shootings, where former paramilitaries or self-styled vigilantes are blamed for meting out summary justice. The victims are suspected of criminality or anti-social behaviour.
While such beatings or kneecappings are condemned by politicians, police and all who support law and order, few in authority can offer reasons why they continue.
Could it be that many people feel let down by a police force that is largely invisible?
We now have a judiciary that places a very low value on human life. This is clearly evidenced by the raft of lenient sentences handed down.
The 12-year sentence given to the screwdriver killer of Harry Holland is the latest in a long line of soft sentences.
There is a clear link between poor policing, soft sentencing and punishment beatings.
No wonder such beatings continue.
T J McCLEAN