Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Ipswich Serial Killer

Five women found murdered in Ipswich (so far).

Over the years we’ve had Jack The Ripper, the Yorkshire Ripper and now, the Suffolk Ripper. The sensationalism is timeless and the media know that these stories tap into a primeval taste for murder and illicit sex. They give a glimpse into a dark and tragic world that is at the same time right under our noses, and is also far removed from most people’s lives.

The handling of the case this time does seem to show marginally more sensitivity than that of the Yorkshire Ripper, whose victims were initially seen as ‘just prostitutes’ and almost expendable until ‘ordinary women‘ were at risk.

I am not sure if this progress implies more understanding or whether it has something to do with the victims being young and good looking, a couple have even been described as ‘well spoken’.

But there is still no preparedness to get to grips with the issues of prostitution and drug use that made these women so vulnerable. No politician seems to have the guts to come out and call for the decriminalisation of street prostitution, or for a policy that permits the possession of drugs in quantities for personal use. And yet this is the inescapable logic of breaking the tragic cycle that propelled these women into victims.

Society seems to want knee-jerk reactions and simplistic morals. And we come to believe that what we don’t approve of should also be illegal: Even if that is at the expense of criminalising the victims.

The predator who killed these women may have done so because they were prostitutes or may be because they were simply women who were vulnerable and available.

But either way, it is our attitude to prostitution and drug use that put them in his path.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Decriminalisation of drugs will not really address the problem, although it may go a little way to alleviating it. Legalisation and controlled supply is the only way to prevent criminal gangs making a fortune for the substances. If valium, cigarettes and alcohol are legal then so should all other drugs. Then you can deal with the problem of education and addiction separately from the mess of criminality. It would have the same effect as the ending of prohibition in the USA which enriched gangsters beyond their wildest dreams. When drugs have the same market value as other cash crops then people will have less incentive to grow, smuggle and sell/push the stuff.