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June 27, 2006

Comments

Paul

"Third, there is something profoundly wrong about wallowing in all this imagined "hate crime."

David,
The high level of crime motivated solely because of hatred of the victims' race is hardly imagined.

Even according to PSNI, (which tends to be overly cautious before labelling a crime as being racially motivated,)there has been a steady increase in the number of racist attacks in Northern Ireland

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Northern_Ireland/Story/0,,1785490,00.html

aileen

I don't accept the arguement that killing someone for their colour is "worse" than killing for their money. However, it can be of use to categorise crime for the purposes of targetting resourses. The invesyigation/prevention requirements are afffected by the motivation.

Hugh Green

In terms of the effect on the victim and his/her family, killing someone for their colour, religion or nationality is obviously no different from killing someone for their money.

However, the effect on other people of such an act is different. Targeting someone in this way spreads fear among people who share the same identity, and serves to isolate them from the rest of society.

Madradin Ruad

There is another point here which we didn't touch on in what was a difficult discussion yesterday.

Copy cat. I worry that the sort of sensationalist media attention given to this will encourage attacks.

Secondly - is the BNP "very active" here ?
Certainly not in my experience , and it isn't registered to stand for election.

I agree to some extent that agencies like NICEM have to justify their existance.

Cunningham

Terms like "the race hate capital of Europe" are provocative and have no place in a serious discussion of the problem. They are also in any case irrelevant. How a country stands in relation to other countries doesn't matter, what matters is how it stands in real terms and which way the trend is going. If I were black, I'd prefer to live in the worst US southern state for racism in 2006 than in the best in 1956.

jaun / P.A.B.L.O.

nicem is a leftist , anti indigenous quango, there shocking claim is stastically unverifiable and the people of northern ireland should seek to press charges for libel.
this is a political attempt to cast ethnic disparagement on the people of northern ireland, nothing more.

David Vance

Cunningham,

Very fair point. As we may agree, language is all important.

Madradin Ruad

I wouldn't be as hostile to NICEM - they do fulfill a function, but it needs to be remembered in considering what they say that they have to justify their existance.

Peter

If you want race hate against blacks and asians, try the old eastern Europe, specifically what was East Germany and the Baltic states. Ironically, the latter is where many of NI's new influx comes from.

But we do have a problem here wioth racist attacks, do doubt partly because of the suddneness and speed of immigration. There was virtually none until a few years ago. That's not to excuse the low-life thugs for a second.

Madradin Ruad

do doubt partly because of the suddneness and speed of immigration.

I'm not so sure about that - I think some of the intercommunity aggression has ended up being re-focussed onto a new target, the immigrant.

Colm

very good point Mad which I am sure in particular relation to the special circumstances of N.I. has a lot of substance.

Cunningham

>>some of the intercommunity aggression has ended up being re-focussed onto a new target,<<


Great, so, apart from the immigrant situation, the much despised peace process is working after all, contrary to the prevailing dogma in these quarters!

Madradin Ruad

Great,

analysing something is not Justifying it .

daytripper

o doubt partly because of the suddneness and speed of immigration.

its nothing to do with the speed of immigration. you could allow one foriegner to enter a year and theyd still end up with a brick thru the window. its the same ignorant morass that would cause trouble for disabled hamsters if they thought there was pleasure to be extracted from it.

NRG

We should not in any way belittle the vileness of what happened, nor the need for a stiff response to clamp down on racist attacks. The people who attack immigrants are a lot less welcome in, and a lot less use to, this society than the people they seek to harm.

However a lot of the over the top the response looks like self interested whining of the parasitic community sector and those seeking high paid jobs attending conferences, talking up problems, engaging in PC platitudes, sucking up grants, inventing rights, making up research results for the Belfast Telegraph to wet its pants over, etc. etc.

Cunningham

My point was that the peace process is obviously working, not just between IRA and the security forces but between the two communities.

Surely everone should consider this great news.

Madradin Ruad

The depressing reality is that all societies have a background level of violence - intercommunal, domestic, social ( e.g football violence), racial and homophobic. It does seem to be part of the way we live. The focus seems to shift and I think the media may, but only may, have a part to play by directing attention to areas that can lead to copy-cat attacks. Media focus in England for example has variously been on Soccer violence,sexual Violence against children, domestic abuse, "Gay-bashing", school violence, Drug/gang violence and race violence - often it has to be said started by a particularly unpleasant crime , but I do think the media attention can end up adding fuel to the fire.

DST

I think it's great that people from overseas would consider moving to Northern Ireland. Welcomed - and introduced to our better customs and norms - they will add to the gaiety of the nation.

I don't like this hate crime thing though... as Rod Liddell effectively argued in The Spectator this week, why should the same crime - identical in its effect on the victim - be different in degree because of the presumed motivation in the perp's head?

Madradin Ruad

My point was that the peace process is obviously working, not just between IRA and the security forces but between the two communities.

Surely everone should consider this great news.


I'm not convinced. Levels of violence were dropping anyway without the peace process - and there's a danger - as with commercial criminality vs terrorism - as being fooled into thinking that it's not the amount of violence that is the problem but who and why the violence is directed against.

Not to mention the possibility that the violence could once again be refocussed against the "old targets".

Sean Fear

"However, the effect on other people of such an act is different. Targeting someone in this way spreads fear among people who share the same identity, and serves to isolate them from the rest of society."

But that is true of all violent crime. Assault an old person for fun, and elderly people will be afraid to go out. Rape a woman, and women will be afraid to visit the area. Kill someone because you want their wallet, and many people will be afraid to visit the district the crime took place him.

It's why we treat crime as a wrong done to the community as a whole, rather than just a wrong done to an individual (such as a tort or breach of contract). But it's wrong to treat crimes against people who belong to minority groups as somehow more serious than crimes against people who belong to majority groups.

And its absurd to claim that Northern Ireland is "the race hate capital of Europe".

Hugh Green

But that is true of all violent crime.

Is it? I think that to arrive at such a view, you would have assume that identity is of no consequence. The ideal situation may well be that it should not be, but that is far from what happens in reality.

It seems to me that there is a difference between subjecting a young man to a random beating and subjecting him to a beating because he's Jewish.

However, how you choose to categorise and punish that crime under law is an entirely different matter.

But it's wrong to treat crimes against people who belong to minority groups as somehow more serious than crimes against people who belong to majority groups.

I see where you're coming from. I wasn't speaking up for 'hate crime' legislation, but simply pointing out that the effect of a crime is not confined to its effect on the individual. So, yes, if an old woman is beaten up in her home, why not issue a tougher sentence than if it were a man in his twenties?

observer

can I ask if the people of Northern Ireland were ASKED if they wished to welcome a flood of immigrants? Have we no say over those who live in our land? -

Can i ask if the people of IRAQ were ASKED if they wished to wlecome a flood of a US/UK illegal occupation? Have they no say over thsoe who occupy their land

Madradin Ruad

So, yes, if an old woman is beaten up in her home, why not issue a tougher sentence than if it were a man in his twenties?

is this argument not in part due to the fact that sentences for serious crimes are not being properly punished ?

We are used to seeing ridiculous sentences - such as 3 months community service for someone beating up a man in his home - hence we want to see a big sentence for beating up the old woman - say 10 years.
But what should be happening is that the beating up of the young man should be getting a hefty prison sentence with the second case getting a few years added.

What also hacks me off is the business of concurrency. It means that a person committing multiple crimes only gets punished for one of them.

Hugh Green

is this argument not in part due to the fact that sentences for serious crimes are not being properly punished ?

No, not exactly. My argument is simply, and rather unoriginally, that the punishment should fit the crime.

On tougher sentencing, to be honest with you I think it gets touted too often as some sort of panacea. Yes, justice should be served. But rising crime rates aren't a result of the sentences handed out by the court. The prison population in the UK has gone up by about 90% in the last 35 years. Do British people feel any safer in their homes and on the streets as a result? No. And they pay for their own burglar alarms too.

Ryan

RE: "Can I ask if the people of Northern Ireland were ASKED if they wished to welcome a flood of immigrants?"

I take you mean the British?

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