Now, the European Court of Human Rights can pounce into action when it comes to protecting the guilty. The court ruled last month that the U.K. cannot deport two Somalis convicted of burglary, threats to kill, robbery and drug dealing because Europe's "prohibition of torture and of inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment was absolute, irrespective of the victims' conduct." The BBC reports that the ruling applies to 214 similar cases.
In 1987, also in Berlin, President Reagan intoned, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." Today the walls are entrenched institutions that cannot change to save themselves. Reagan's injunction, at least, was doable.