Friday, 16 July 2010

It was my circumstances wot made me do it.

Shrine for a murderer

Two articles caught my eye in this morning’s papers, ostensibly about different issues, but bound together by a similar mindset.

The first was SDLP councillor Nicola Mallon’s apologia for rioters in North Belfast - not yet online at the Belfast Telegraph.

Although their actions are wrong, she suggests, we can’t forget the context which surrounds the violence.  Deprivation causes the poor mites at Ardoyne to riot.

The second appears in the Independent, written by regular columnist Mary Dejevsky.  She considers the case of cop-killer Raoul Moat and, like the despicable crowd joining a certain Facebook group, she has adopted him as a type of anti-establishment icon.

The murderous body-builder was apparently representative of a class of underdogs, “who genuinely feel that the odds, in the way society is organised today, are stacked against them”.

Now, I am far from a reactionary “hang ’em and flog ’em” type, but this rush to excuse disgraceful behaviour by blaming everyone else is just plain wrong.

The crimes are barely committed and their aftermath digested before someone is dashing to absolve the perpetrators of blame.

The circumstances experienced by Raoul Moat, who killed a police officer, or the rioters attempting to kill one in Belfast may not be ideal, but they are better than those experienced by many millions of people around the globe, who do not resort to violence, however acute their misery.

1 comment:

Phil Larkin said...

Have a look also at the gut wrenching article written by Mary O'Hara in the Guardian of July 14, entitled "Poverty is the Backdrop to the riots in Northern Ireland."

If anyone needs an object lesson in how to write a cloying and exculpatory article, then this is surely a contender for the prize.