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> Government Petition on Hate Crime
Cath Sparrow
post Mar 17 2008, 12:52 PM
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Wyvern sent me this and I thought it approriate to post it on the forum for others to decide wether they want to sign it. It's come up in relation with 2 teenagers being kill not so long ago because of how they dressed no other reason than that.

Times report on the attack

This is a quote from Wyvern's email which I fully agree with and thought put it better than I would

QUOTE
I was brought up to believe that everyone has the right to be who they are without fear of reprisal from others and not to tolerate those who are small minded enough to think that violence is a justifiable response to a particular look or approach to life. You may not feel it appropriate to sign this petition regarding hate crime however please do look at it as in the long run these issues have an effect on all of us.


Government Petition


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Moosh
post Mar 18 2008, 07:51 PM
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I've read the article and signed the petition, but I was wondering, how much notice do we think that the government take of these petitions?

There's a cynical and grumpy part of me that thinks it's mostly ignored and is only there because it's an easy way to look like they're listening to people but not have to do anything about it. On the other hand, I regularly put my name to things on there, so I must think there's some point in it. Any thoughts?


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Mata
post Mar 19 2008, 01:05 PM
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I (obviously) agree that assault on people on the basis of how they look is wrong, but I'm not sure that this should be categorised as 'hate crime'. That's generally allocated to organised belief systems such as racism and homophobia - these are beliefs that are backed up with dogma. I strongly doubt that groups of people stand around in rooms, whipping themselves into an ideological fervour about how goths should be beaten up, whereas this does happen with what are currently viewed as hate crimes.

To quote one of the attackers: "I remember that a lad shouted, ‘Somebody hit him’. I do not know why — I was drunk and showing off — but I stepped forward and hit the male." They had been talking before this point.

It seems that what happened here, and in similar cases, is that the difference in appearence was a tribal-belief based trigger rather than a directed and intended attack. Tribes would fight because of land issues and to prove virility. This attack seems like that, and it could as easily have been an asian, or a traditionally dressed jew. The trigger for the attack was that the victims were dressed differently from others, but I don't believe that this was specifically about them being goths, rather that they just looked different.

I've had a friend hospitalised in a very similar attack, and been abused on the street for looking different (sometimes goth related, sometimes sexuality related). It strikes me as being an expression of stupidity on the part of the attackers and bad-luck on the part of the victims. I wouldn't want this kind of random attack to be put on a level with deliberate and premeditated attacks.

To put it another way: can a white guy hit a black guy without it being racially motivated? I think it can, and if it was then I wouldn't feel right if the classification of hate crime were attributed to it.

I'm concerned that making this a legally recognised hate-based offence might have the result of encouraging this kind of act. There's also the vagueness of applying this kind of law in court. If you want to start using a person's appearence as a way of classifying hate-based attacks it could make the distinction between a normal assault and hate crime too difficult to apply and result in a reduced conviction rate.


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scotscarol
post Mar 20 2008, 11:53 AM
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I have sign your petition cath. when I read the article and found it disgusting that someone could be beaten up just for the clothes they wearing!


Carol
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spiffilicious05
post Mar 20 2008, 11:04 PM
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I wish I could have signed this and while I can't I've sent it to several friends who have.

I, unfortunately, have heard and seen people beat/harass goths just because they're different. It's truly sad because lots of people that I know (myself included) have chosen 'safer' clothing styles just because of past experiences. No one should have to be afraid of expressing who they are.


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nordelen
post Mar 21 2008, 09:18 PM
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now, to put things in perspective, i live in belfast. for such a long time things were all about "republican" and "nationalist". But recently i have sen an increase in the tribal mentality that mata speaks of (what with the "new peace" and all!) in my own community i have had people try to rob me, punch me for no reason except that i wasnt a spide, and shout abuse. to put this in context, i wear no name brand jumpers, jeans, t-shirts, etc. So what the hell???? when i go to a mates house now i get a taxi home - even though my mate lives only a about 15 minutes walk away.


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