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Crime & Punishment: John Waite

You’re an Englishman living in California. What kind of law enforcement do you prefer – unarmed British bobbies, or gun-toting US cops?

In America, with the way things are going with terrorism, they reckon there will be SWAT units replacing regular policemen. It’s getting a lot like Nineteen Eighty-Four, and it’s all due to the backlash against US foreign policy.

What are your thoughts on gun control?

I believe in the right to bear arms. The argument is about different types of guns. Emptying a thirty-round clip is a lot different to taking a shot with a pistol. When you have people in America buying semi-automatic weapons with no security checks, it’s fucking madness. Put that in capital letters. Seriously. Fucking madness.

Have you ever owned a gun?

I did have a single-barrel shotgun I bought in the eighties. I fancied for a while that I might take up shooting, but I have no interest in blasting anything that’s alive.

Have you ever been arrested?

Let’s just say I’ve lived pretty close to the edge. I was a rock’n’roll singer coming up in the seventies. It was a violent world and everybody lived as hard as they could – that was the culture and it reached its zenith in the mid-eighties.

Are you for or against the death penalty?

The thinking part of me doesn’t like to see death assigned through a judicial system. It seems to defeat the object. But the most heinous and horrific crimes, people should be made to pay for that.

What should the maximum punishment be?

A life sentence should be a life sentence. But there is this cosmic accountability we’re bouncing up against.

Meaning what?

What goes around comes around. It’s the karmic payback. Everybody is answerable for their actions.