The Magnitude of The Harm

Abdul Qadeer Khan is the Pakistani former metallurgist who confessed that over a 15 year period he provided countries like North Korea, Iran and Libya with the designs and technology for them to produce fuel for nuclear weapons—not to speak of his role in the development of Pakistan itself becoming a nuclear power. Without him would the danger of nuclear proliferation be as threatening? For a time Mr. Khan was in prison, then went into house arrest and was later freed albeit with certain restrictions. Recently, the restrictions were lifted, then reinstated. Mr. Khan is now appealing the reinstatement on grounds he feels like a “prisoner.”
Most people don’t know Mr. Khan’s name or have forgotten he existed, although his actions have harmed millions, if not the planet itself. We currently think of a murderer as the worst of the worst and yet couldn’t one say that Mr. Khan’s actions are worse than those of a murderer? More than an example of a true criminal, Mr. Khan challenges us perhaps to rethink crime in terms of the magnitude of the harm rather than its nature.