After months of parliamentary wrangling that cut across party lines and set the House of Lords in bitter opposition to the House of Commons, a bewigged clerk intoned La Reine le veult, and the Queen wishing it, a bill restricting capital punishment became law. Under the new Homicide Act, murderers convicted in Britain will be hanged only if their crime was:
1) committed in the course or furtherance of theft,
2) committed in resisting or avoiding arrest, or escaping from legal custody,
3) committed against police or prison officers or those assisting them,
4) committed by shooting of firearms or causing explosions (but not...