Even by the singular standards of brutality by the North Korean regime, the latest reported outrage stands uniquely on its own.
According to a leading South Korean daily, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un recently ordered his former girlfriend, who was a leading North Korean pop singer, and 11 of her musician colleagues executed by machine gun in a public spectacle.
A Chinese source told the South Korean paper that their families, along with other leading musicians and their families, were forced to watch, then bundled off to a slave labor camp.
Those executed were charged with breaking pornography laws.
There has been no confirmation of the report from Pyongyang, although the South Korean newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, is considered reliable.
The 29-year-old Kim, known as “Outstanding Leader” by his countrymen, is a fan of Western pop culture and sports. Consequently, there was some hope that he might bring his Stalinist nation into the 21st century and stop nuclear weapons production, counterfeiting foreign currency and treating citizens like prison inmates. The latest bizarre example of totalitarian justice offers an unforgettable reality check. Kim is truly the dynastic successor of his father and grandfather.
And he deserves a new nickname: “Lord High Executioner” has the right ring to it.