Gone Fishin'

While flicking through some old articles I came across this quote from a story about prisons.

'During the reindeer season we take the convicts out hunting - even the murderers,' said Torben Thrue, head of the correctional institution in the town of Nuuk. 'Obviously we don't take the mentally unstable,' he said. 'They get to go fishing instead.'

Greenland has an usual policy on crime and punishment. In a society where environmental conditions are so harsh everyone is needed just to survive, even the murderers and mentally unstable are put to good use.

Jack Nicholson would be proud. The inmates he took fishing as an escape from nurse Ratchett’s tyrannical rule certainly seemed the better for it. Could this be a cure for all of socities ills?

The article doesn’t state what type of fishing that’s involved. A Huck Finn, shoeless idyll, lazing on the riverbank, straw hat drawn over ones face, chewing on a blade of grass, watching the world go by on a lazy afternoon.

Or a full hands to the pumps deep sea dystopia. Frozen hands and faces, metal so cold that it’d strip the flesh from the bones. Man overboard would be dead in minutes. The most dangerous type of fishing. This seems too cruel to subject the mentally ill too. Even crueller to the members of the crew that are actually sane, non-murdering folk, sent out to keep a watchful eye and make sure the ship isn’t run aground on a rocky outcrop.

Or perhaps more likely, a small band of fisherman setting out to cut holes in the ice and snare the odd fish that strays their way. As well as the elements, other dangers may include polar bears, killer penguins and a harpoon in the back from one of the mentally unstable killers. But Greenland is a harsh unforgiving environment and making a living will always be a dangerous pastime.

So next time your job is getting you down, just remember that in the United Kingdom one generally doesn’t have to contend with a work colleague who is a mentally ill murderer brandishing a harpoon. And if it does, I wish you luck.


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