Monday, 17 March 2008

A depressing story

This isn’t a story about bringing back capital punishment. Or about ending anonymity for juvenile offenders. Or about stiffer sentences and ‘life meaning life’. Or about holding parents responsible for out of control kids. Or about chavs and hoodies. But it's nonetheless FUCKING DEPRESSING.

The on-going trial of the killers of Sophie Lancaster: Last year she was kicked to death in a park in Lancashire by a gang of kids who also managed to put her boyfriend into a coma which has left him with brain damage. The reason, apparently was that they were Goths and the kids didn’t like the look of them.

Racist attacks and gay-bashing has been around for a long time. Nowadays they’re classified as ‘hate crimes’ - which perhaps is progress of sorts. There’s all kinds of social, economic and psychological reasons for racism and homophobia. Knowing these reasons doesn’t mitigate the crimes - but it just might put things into a political context, where something can be done to address them.

But kicking someone to death because you don’t like their eyeliner – where the fuck does that come from? There’s always been a thing with kids and tribes – as a teenager I got into several fights with ‘casuals’ for having long hair and being a ‘headbanger’. But that was always ritualized and a bit half hearted - this kind of vehement hatred and intolerance is something else. And profoundly bloody depressing.

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