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A Pardon for Alan Turing


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During the Second World War, Alan Turing was one of the many geniuses working at Bletchley Park to break the Germans' secret code. He helped the Allies succeed when he developed the Turing Bombe, a precursor to the modern computer. It is not a stretch to say that Alan Turing basically invented the modern computer.

Alan Turing was a homosexual. After the war, he was repaid for his invaluable service to King and Country by being arrested for having sex with a man. He was, for some sick and bizarre reason that probably only a conservative religious heterosexual could understand, treated with female hormones. In 1954, Alan Turing committed suicide.

In 2009 Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologized to him, saying, "You deserved so much better." Today, a number of eminent scientists have signed a petition asking the British Government to pardon Alan Turing. I would hope they would. He is one of the reasons you and I are communicating with each other over this web site and one of the reasons swastikas aren't flying over Britain and Europe today.

This hero was punished for simply loving another man.

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I hope they pardon him as well. There have been a couple of documentary films on Turing's life (including a new one this year), but I thought his tragic story was quite dramatic and moving, and could actually be a terrific feature film. People forget that Britain may not have won the war without Turing's help, particularly in breaking the Nazi code. The fact that his sentence was chemical castration was absolutely stunning; I don't blame him for his decision to end his own life.

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