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December 06, 2007

Hug a Hoodie? The Clarkson option ....

Many of us feel that we now live in a society that no longer has any respect for the law. In fact many of us feel that the criminals now enjoy "rights" which exceed anything enjoyed by the law abiding citizen. The row in the papers today over the anti-terror laws is a case in point. According the Liberty and the Civil Rights bleeding hearts, to increase the time the police are permitted to hold a suspected terrorist without formal charge is excessive at twenty-eight days and to increase it to the proposed forty two days is to threaten the very fabric of democracy. Considering that Labour are themselves a threat to democracy that is a bit rich - especially as Labour are the people who now want to bring this in and not that long ago were opposing every attempt to tighten up on any form of justice.

One does have to wonder though, when the likes of Jeremy Clarkson find themselves the target of a gang of "youffs" in a public centre in Milton Keynes and then find themselves "helping police with their enquiries" after one of the fourteen year olds called the police because he wouldn't kowtow to their threats and bad behaviour. That the police haven't taken action against the "youff" concerned for "wasting police time" says everything we need to know about the state of our justice system, when a victim turns on this scum and is then accused of behaving "provocatively"it is pushing the limits of everyone's respect for the police and the justice system. The full story is in the extended post to this, and I am pleased to see that Clarkson will face no further nuisance over this, but it is not an isolated incident.

Last Sunday afternoon I had to suggest rather forcibly to a similar gang of "youff" making free of the cloister area at the Abbey, that they should remove themselves before I did. I got a mouthful of invective and the usual threatening gestures, but then my Sarn't Major voice came into play and I refused to back off or leave them alone - so they decided to depart - but I dare say that I could have found myself facing an interview with Mister Plod had one of the little devils decided to make a complaint. Pity really, because, interestingly, as Church Warden, I hold powers of arrest within the Churchyard. That could have provided the Magistrates with a lot of fun. I would also have to say that we have a lot of trouble with this particular group who are well known in our town - and earlier in the afternoon they had been in and stolen several candles from the Advent Crown at the back of the Abbey. No doubt to add to their collection of candles stolen regularly from the Chapel Altars in the Ambulatory and from the three stands for Pilgrim candles.

What it really highlights for me is that these children have been lost to our society. They are on a one way spiral downward toward a life on the fringe of society, a life of drugs, crime and despair. It breaks my heart to see such a waste of human potential, yet no one seems able to reach them in any form. Discipline is completely lacking, they have no concept of belonging to anything or anyone. Loyalty is to themselves only, they will turn on a "friend" in a moment if it will save their own skins. They demand "respect" but have none for anyone else and cannot see that respect is something you earn, that it cannot be demanded or taken from someone, down that road lies contempt, loathing and, ultimately, revenge. These are children with family life so dysfunctional that they will never learn any of these concepts from their parents - and know they can reject with impunity all forms of adult restriction.

Want to get an adult male into hot water? Suggest he's tried to "groom" you or had sex with you. Want to get your parents into trouble - phone Childline or the Police. Get caught stealing or causing damage to something? Accuse the owner of assault. And the list goes on - that is the society that has been created by those who, for all the best reasons, have forced through laws restricting how we may deal with our children. As usual, to crack a nut they have gone for a full scale hydraulic press so that every parent is now held in suspicion every time a child picks up a bruise or breaks a bone. And the "lost" children know exactly how to exploit the power they have been given. Why is it that most of the murders involving lethal weapons or firearms are now committed by youths considered to be "not ciminally responsible" in the eyes of our law? They know exactly what they are doing and they know exactly what they can expect if caught - a lenient sentence and an early release - look at the murderers of Jamie Bulger, now enjoying a new life in Australia under assumed names.

Those of us who try to abide by the law are not protected by it, but those who choose to break it most certainly are. If we are to ask why this should be so, there is a very simple explanation and it lies in the fact that there was a general revulsion of the use of the legal system in the late 19th Century which saw boys hung at ages under sixteen for comparatively trivial offences. Children were also sent to prisons sentenced with adults to hard labour and the abuses they suffered probably did ensure they ended up as gallows bait - it was quite possibly a relief to be free of that harsh a life. Since then reformers have argued for a steady increase in the age of responsibility, but are they right to say that a sixteen year old does know the difference between right and wrong and a fifteen year old doesn't? A child of four knows the difference if they have been taught it from an early age - but this is where the reformers have gone too far. Children no longer learn this and any parent who does try to impose discipline is likely to have a visit from a social worker and the police!

Somewhere a balance has to be found. Children do know the difference between right and wrong, and reasonable punishment is justifiable in teaching this. The Dr Spock "reward" system is a failure - he admitted it himself - yet in Britain far to many earnest "professional" mothers hold to it as a tenet of faith - and sometimes the results can be seen among their offspring as soon as mummy dearest is out of sight. Again this is something I have some personal experience of and I know instantly which boys have been brought up on the Spock method and which have been brought up traditionally. No prizes for guessing which children I will deal with and which I won't have anything to do with at any price!

One thing is certain, we do need to find a way to deal with these feral children. If for no other reason than that we need to break the cycle which will carry them inexorably into a prison and justice systems. More importantly we need to begin by rediscovering the concept of justice involving an element of punishment and retribution - and perhaps we need also to rediscover or reinvent the concept of "Outlawry" - if you break the law, you place yourself beyond the protection of the law and cannot therefore shelter from the consequences by manipulating the law.

A thought for the day perhaps?

By Sky News SkyNews - 7 minutes agoTV presenter Jeremy Clarkson has been questioned by police after he wrote in a national newspaper about confronting a youth who was pestering him.


The Top Gear star explained in his Sunday Times column that the incident took place outside the Xscape sports complex in Milton Keynes, where his youngest daughter was celebrating her birthday.

Clarkson had stepped outside for a cigarette when he was confronted by a gang of teenagers, who began to pester him and followed him when he tried to walk away.

"And so, figuring that attack was probably the best form of defence, I grabbed the ringleader by his hoodie, lifted him off the ground and explained, firmly, that it'd be best if he went back to his tenement," he wrote.

"I was standing there holding this boy by the scruff of his neck, and instead of worrying about being stabbed I was actually thinking: 'Jesus, I'm going to get done for assault if I'm not careful.'

"I therefore put him down, and in a flurry of swearing and hand gestures involving various fingers he was gone."

The children began filming the November 23 incident on their mobile phones, although the footage does not appear to have made it onto the internet.

Thames Valley Police said they received a call from a 14-year-old girl informing them a man had been abusive towards her friend.

But when officers arrived at the scene and spoke to witnesses it became clear the girl was part of a group who had earlier been warned by security staff about their behaviour.

A spokesman said: "Mobile phone images were viewed, as well as CCTV footage, and it became apparent that, if any offence had occurred, it was the man who was the victim."

Clarkson was later interviewed at his home in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, but did not wish to make a complaint or provide a statement.

The police spokesman added: "There is no evidence that a crime took place and therefore there will be no further police action."

Posted by The Gray Monk at December 6, 2007 04:25 PM

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