May 1, 2008

Killings are a sad reflection on our society

Filed under: Politics/News — 4fooey @ 9:25 pm

This week two teenage boys were convicted of killing Sophie Lancaster. It is said that she was killed for dressing as a Goth, and at the time she was trying to stop the gang from attacking her boyfriend, also a Goth. Aside from the reasons why the couple were attacked, as if there needs to be a reason to be attacked at all, it is how Sophie Lancaster died that is the utterly shocking aspect of this episode; she was literally kicked and stamped on and died of her terrible injuries – her boyfriend managed to survive but was very badly hurt and is deeply traumatised by the attack. The Chief Crown Prosecutor for Lancashire Robert Marshall said: “Very occasionally, in spite of all the tragic and distressing cases that the CPS has to deal with, we come across a case that stands out as truly shocking. The murder of Sophie Lancaster and the vicious attack on her boyfriend Robert Maltby stand out for their utter pointlessness and sheer brutality. Worse still, it seems very likely that the attack started as a form of amusement for those involved.”

This attack is frightening, disturbing and, as the CCP said, quite unbelievable in its brutality and pointlessness. Sadly this type of incident is becoming all too common. If you search on BBC News for “kicked to death” you find many recent stories of some brutal killings, often committed by teenagers, some as young as 12 or 13.
— Four men have been found guilty of kicking and stamping to death a 55-year-old former soldier, 18 Apr 2008.
— Two men and a teenager are jailed for life for kicking and stamping a man to death during a burglary attempt, 18 Apr 2008.
— A 13-year-old boy is sent to secure accommodation indefinitely for killing a man and throwing his body on a bonfire, 11 Apr 2008.
— A couple who beat a 59-year-old man to death are jailed for a total of 24 years at the High Court in Glasgow, 26 Mar 2008.
— A girl who filmed a man (Gavin Waterhouse) being kicked to death in a so-called “happy slapping” incident is sentenced, 18 Mar 2008.

Also this week, it was revealed that an Austrian man had imprisoned his daughter in his house for over 20 years and repeatedly tortured and raped her. Truly shocking as this is, I feel it is a unique case. I would argue that the killing of Sophie Lancaster, and other cases like hers, is a much more worrying trend in society. It feels our society is more brutal and uncaring, and some people seem to have lost all notions of what is right or decent behaviour. These brutal killings are at the extreme end of this trend but in other ways you sense that our society is becoming more violent and generally disrespectful.



  1. Your post makes me very sad, but I have thought about this many times and it seems to be true. I can only hope that this increase in violence by young people is at least in part just perceived, as access to information has become some much easier. I am as concerned that the tendencies of these people go unnoticed, or are not acted upon before they commit these heinous crimes. How can that be? Surely they did not go from innocents to devils in one step. There must be some failings in structural aspects of society that allow things to go this far.

    Comment by conceptualizer — May 2, 2008 @ 7:36 am

  2. Since I wrote this post there have been 2 further shocking killings in the capital, one 16-year old was killed in a bakery, and another man was killed in Oxford Street. However shocking these killings are (and they are truly shocking and brutal) they are mercifully still rare and isolated to our capital and other major cities – this doesn’t make them less tolerable of course – but one should try to keep a perspective on this. What it does suggest to me is that the level of violence being tolerated is increasing – beating, stamping, and gang-lead attacks are common place in most towns and people get badly injured or worse. Carrying knives and guns is also common place among some sections of society. Alot of this activity is then involved with criminal behaviour, and in particular drugs. Illegal drugs are truly the scourge of our streets and communities. And so-called ‘casual’ use of illegal drugs only serves to prop up this business. It’s about time we exercised Zero-tolerance of illegal drugs – they are at the root of so much crime and misery.

    Comment by 4fooey — May 13, 2008 @ 9:44 am

  3. I too would probably be much harsher than most on drug crime. It’s a shame the government seems to be using drug criminalisation for their own agenda, rather than listening to the experts they appointed to assess the impact of different drugs.

    Comment by conceptualizer — May 14, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

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