Friday, August 12, 2005

"Motiveless" violence

Last week saw the rape of a 15-year-old girl by two Belfast louts who held her teenage friends in fear of death, forcing them to watch their brutal sex acts. One then called the girl's mother on her mobile to offer intimate details. God help all of them. On Wednesday, Thomas Devlin, also 15, was knifed to death while he was out buying sweets. Today come reports that a young man, out courting with his girlfriend two weeks ago, was dragged from his car and beaten to within an inch of his life with a wheel brace.

No apparent sectarianism. Just pure barbarity, evil at its worst. I'll leave it to experts to analyse causes and remedies, but I'm reminded of the kind of base hatred and pyschopathic mindsets we heard about during the Jamie Bulger murder trial.

During the Troubles, Northern Ireland's non-sectarian crime rate was one of the lowest in Europe. Maybe sectarian motives were read into too many crimes. Maybe latent aggression got channelled into sectarian rowdyism. In any case, there's now a dangerous undercurrent of lawlessness that's very worrying if you live in or around Belfast.

Nigel Dodds MLA, MP, in whose constituency Thomas Devlin lived and died, condemned the attack. Good, of course, but the Big Thing would be:
Get involved with cross-community support groups and peace initiatives in your constituency, Nigel. Go and visit Thomas' parents and be seen to be a concerned, active MP for all your constituents.


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