Home Politics & Debate

Soham trial veredict

13»

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    This, taken froman article in the Guardian yesterday is worth reading...just to put our 'fears' in perspective.

    Though the trend in murder is upwards, it remains a very rare crime. Holly and Jessica were two of the total of 1,048 homicides in 2002-03 in England and Wales (the figure has been greatly inflated by the work of Dr Harold Shipman). Their chance of being a murder victim - like yours and mine - was around one in 60,000. Yet murder is obviously also the gravest of all crimes, one of the only serious offences to carry a mandatory sentence. For all their rarity, that select group of emblematic murders has always reflected something special about the dangers, fears and myths of the society in which they took place.

    With every possible due respect to the murdered girls and their families, it has to be aggressively stated that the coverage of this case has been wholly out of proportion to its implied meaning. The subtext of the case is that your daughters are at risk of being murdered if they go out alone, even in a quiet East Anglian village, never mind on the mean streets of the inner city. Yet this is scarcely more true today than it has ever been.

    Holly and Jessica, both aged 10, fell into the category of the population - girls aged between five and 16 - that is least likely of all of us to be the victims of murder. When young people are murdered, which after the age of 12 months they rarely are, by far the chief threat to them comes from their parents, then by other adults known to them (as Huntley was), but not from strangers. Boys, moreover, are more likely to be murdered than girls.

    "It was the powder keg waiting for the match. I was the match," Dennis Nilsen wrote about his own murder spree 20 years ago, implying that someone like himself lurks around every corner of every street. Some will say the same about Huntley's opportunist killings too. The persistent implication is that something like this can happen to anyone, any time, anywhere.

    But the reality is that it can't and doesn't. Huntley's was an exceptionally awful crime, but it was also exceptionally unusual. It has been invested with national meaning less because of the crime than because of the way it has been reported. Under pressure from 24-hour news TV channels and the tabloids, the mainstream TV channels and what were then all still broadsheets bowed before the storm. The episode certainly tells us something about the kind of society we have become, but the truth is that it tells us rather more about the decline of the English media than it does about the decline of the English murder.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I heard a very interesting comparison a while ago between the colum inches taken up for each child murder compared to every smokers death.

    If we stopped children smoking and gave up completely on police checks we'd probably save more lives.

    That and stopping your kids going outside and playing is far more likely to damage them than any of the local sex offenders, if indeed there are any.
Sign In or Register to comment.