Without entering into any discussion as to the right or wrong of Ireland's claims, the fact remains that England holds the country and is responsible for what law there is in it. She is attempting to maintain the law with a system of cruelty and killing by the official police. It is explained that such acts are reprisals and are justified. "In speaking of reprisals, Mr. Lloyd George argued that the police would not bomb houses and shoot men if there was no provocation." Sir Hamar Greenwood, Chief Secretary for Ireland, defended the Government's actions by saying that "while the Asquithians put the emphasis on the reprisals, I put it on the provocation."
What would citizens of this country think if in an uprising against the Boston police, the officials of law and order were content to deal with the situation by a system of reprisals, even if they were justified? They would instinctively reject such a system because so far in history it has never succeeded in administering justice satisfactorily; and it never will. Law that people fear and hate is worthless so far as justice is concerned. In modern times any community that believes in the eye for an eye doctrine must be either struggling for existence without any law or police, or must be in error. Reprisals have no place even in martial law; and the injustice in Ireland of having martial law administered in one place and not in another is not lessened by having what law there is tainted with a barbaric tit for tat doctrine. That England is justified in her actions has nothing to do with the value of a system. Nor is she justified in shirking her responsibility as to maintaining justice. It is anything but a credit to England that her police should have to descend to the level of reprisals; as an administration of justice the method in itself marks it; failure.