Thursday, 28 November 2013

...And Justice For All!

With the verdict of the Ian Watkins of Lost Prophets trial causing waves across cyberspace over the last couple of days, social media has put me in mind of an upturned rock unleashing an army of angry, confused ants. On her Facebook, Laila K described the day as 'intolerable' and I felt much the same. Yesterday, I was moved to have a mini-rant about the concept of 'prison justice' and was alerted to Enter Shikari Rou's BLOG, appealing for calm and the refreshingly sensible suggestion that this could be a chance to understand the pathology of the criminal rather than spilling his blood in a public execution. While I can empathise with the social media outpourings of anger and vengeance, Rou’s angle on the situation is one that I lean towards.

What really started chapping my arse across the day (and the topic of this short blog) was the proliferation of those 'prison justice' Tweets and Facebook posts. You know the ones. They move from the speculative; 'ah well, he'll get raped up the arse in jail', to the hopeful; 'I hope he gets raped up the arse in jail' to the downright jubilant; 'FUCK HIM! DIRTY PERV! He's gonna get cut into pieces then raped up the arse in jail'.

I've just logged in this morning and, for my sins, read a thread on the profile of a Facebook 'friend' (note, someone I don't really 'know') and seen more air fist-pumping with an arbitrary, and frankly terrifying, confidence that Watkin's will get his just deserts. And those desserts will not be served to him through a hatch on a plastic tray. Those deserts will not be delivered by a trial of his peers. They will not be reached through measured, supervised reflection on his crimes, using cutting-edge psychoanalysis and rehabilitation techniques. Oh no. Deserts will be provided by the lumpen fists of a hero from Salford serving twenty-five years for violent criminal affray. Let joy be unconfined!

The comfort that so many people clearly have with this scenario bothers me. There seems to be an accepted consensus that there are these terrific people in jail that are put there for no other reason than to punish wrongdoers for the good of society. It's a fine concept until you consider that someone has to do the abusing. Far be it from me to split hairs about the relative evils between child abuse and blind, ugly, violence involving strangers and the elderly but, by golly, someone has to. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are loads of great blokes in jail. Top dudes you’d well have a pint with. Benefit cheats, weed dealers, chainstore shoplifters, the Irish, that kind of thing. But, and this is just a hunch,  I reckon the ones given nonce-bashing duty tend to be the ones that are a bit handy with their fists, like. The kind of blokes that beat a stranger into a vegetative state because they looked at their girlfriend sideways in some bar called Rios in a seaside town. I have about as much faith in these men administering society’s justice as I do in Boris Johnson re-distributing the nation’s wealth. 

To me, whilst not as taboo within our Sarah’s Law Society, beating a man's brains into the ground is just as perverse as urinating on a girl. And, yes, the details of what went on in those infamous videos with Watkins go far beyond the pale. But nothing can be bad enough that it's going to make me sleep any easier knowing that Big Barry from Bournemouth’s got it covered. I don't want to give anyone the idea that I'm lying awake at night wringing my hands over the injustice of Jeffrey Dahmer’s prison decimation at the hands of some Peckerwood with facial tattoos. But neither am I looking on that as any real kind of justice and I’m certainly not foaming at the mouth and cheering the idea on, slapping my hands together shouting “and that's the end of that chapta!"
It'll be rate. Let Barry deal with it.
The violent criminal that kills a paedophile does it behind the same cowardly smokescreen of self-righteousness and self-loathing that castigates ‘grasses’ and ‘rats’ within that culture. It’s not justice. It’s a self-serving excuse for more violence and sociopathic behaviour that put them there in the first place. To cheer it on is ugly, pig-headed and, yes, perverse and it demonstrates an elementary misunderstanding on the nature, and proliferation, of violence within our society. You’re cheering fighting fire with fire.  If someone in jail for something as nefarious as beating a stranger to death kills a paedophile, that's simply not something a healthy society celebrates.  End of.

So please stop it, internet.


Barney x