Tom Kelly argues that one of the victims of the last thirty years has been respect for others. This he argues has real and positive effects on working class communities where ASBOs have proved popular in England. In Northern Ireland this has been compounded by the additional effects of long term paramiltary control in certain working class areas:
Whatever about the low crime rates in the north – the fear and type of some crime has changed; add into the mix the fear in some areas of reporting crime and it’s the offender who is top dog.
Paramilitary groups have a lot to answer for the break down in respect for authority. Proof if proof was needed exists in areas like west and north Belfast where the severity of action taken by paramilitaries on ‘joy riders’ does not act as a deterrent. But then again why would it – when those same ‘joy riders’ come in handy when called upon for a spot of recreational violence against the police or the other side.
Today the balance of rights has spiralled out of control. We live in a world where not only have we stripped teachers of authority but we have challenged a parent’s right to choose reasonable disciplinary measures for their own children. Victims live in fear while repeat violatators enjoy the benefits of parole under the beneficence of liberal magistrates.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty