Victims’ Commissioner sets herself against victims

Sam McBride from the News Letter has a series of articles interviewing Kathyrn Stone the relatively new victims’ commissioner in which she has expressed views likely to undermine her role as a spokesperson for victims.

Stone’s problems seem to come from refusing to state an opinion on some of the most basic of issues relating to victims.

Ms Stone declined to say whether the IRA, which killed 1,706 people, or the UVF, which killed 430, were terrorists.
When asked whether, based on her experience of meeting victims, she believed that the IRA were terrorists, the commissioner paused briefly and said: “Well, and again the difficulty for me is that I know there are some people who believe absolutely that they were. There are others who believe absolutely that they weren’t.”
Asked if she did not have a view on the issue, Ms Stone said: “My job is to represent the views of victims and survivors. Some victims absolutely believe that they were; others believe that they weren’t.”
When again asked whether she believed the UVF were terrorists, Ms Stone just said: “Some people would say they were; others would say they weren’t.”
When asked if she could understand why there will be victims who will read her words and be apoplectic with rage that she cannot say that a UVF man who shot a Catholic in the back of the head was a terrorist yet she is supposed to represent victims’ views, she said: “I’m also supposed to be representing the views of other victims and survivors as well.
“I absolutely appreciate that the things that happened here had the most terrible impact on people…it’s my job to represent their views; it’s my job to represent their voices.
“I’ve said in the past that I just can’t be drawn into the politics of those definitions and those discussions.”

This position has, unsurprisingly led to outrage from amongst victims and groups which represent them. Again from the News Letter:

DUP councillor Sammy Brush, who survived an attempt on his life by the IRA as he delivered mail in 1981, said he was dismayed by the comments.
The Dungannon councillor said he found it “shocking that we have a Victims’ Commissioner who appears not to know right from wrong or the difference between victims and terrorists”.
He added: “How can we have any confidence in the Victims and Survivors Service if the person at the top appears to treat victims of terrorism and the terrorists equally?”
Innocent Victims United (IVU), which says it represents 8,000 victims of terrorism, said international law confirms that the IRA, UVF and other proscribed organisations were terrorist.
The group said that it had a “good personal relationship” with the commissioner but added: “We can only but determine that she has taken leave of her senses in feeling unable or unwilling to describe those who butchered their fellow citizens – Protestant, Roman Catholic and Dissenter – as ‘terrorists’.
“The role of the Victims’ Commissioner’s office is to offer a ‘voice for victims’ but the voice that victims heard through the interview published yesterday is not a voice that represents them.”
He added: “The fundamental question at stake is this: is the Victims’ Commissioner’s Office offering an ‘independent voice for victims free from the political policy narrative of the present incumbents of OFMDFM or not?
“Could you imagine the outcry if the Home Secretary or a PSNI commander in response to the question, are women who wear short skirts and tight tops asking to be raped, were to reply: ‘I know there are some people who believe absolutely that they were; there are others who believe absolutely that they weren’t’?”

The problem here is that not stating an opinion on the above is clearly taking a very specific position: one which is rejected by the overwhelming majority of, not just victims, but also of wider Northern Ireland society. Refusing to call the likes of Lenny Murphy a terrorist is a position very few in Northern Ireland could stomach. It is actually a morally repugnant position and her flat refusal to given such an opinion, as Sammy Brush and other victims point out, destroys any confidence they can have in her. Since then the victims commissioner has so clearly undermined her position with those whom she is meant to represent it is surely time as Jim Allister has called for, for her to consider her position and if necessary for Peter Robinson to sack her.

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  • toaster

    Clearly the UVF were evil blood thirsty terrorists, but why sully the good name of the IRA? They were fighting a noble fight for freedom and equality.

  • David Crookes

    The whole idea of a victims’ commissioner (in upper case, of course) is smarmy to the point of absurdity. I say that with with nothing but respect for Ms Stone and the people whom she is supposed to represent. Whatever she says or does is likely to offend either one lot of the other lot, and Laughing Boy will be there to magnify the offence as much as possible by calling for her resignation.

    Don’t ask Ms Stone to resign. Admit the futility of her office, and abolish it. The victims industry is merely a shuttlecock which nasty politicians and unscrupulous journalists use to work up hatred in the minds of a rising generation.

  • between the bridges

    We will soon be at the stage were a terrorist is more of a victim than a victim, oh wait…

  • Recent CNSNI tweets, presumably in response to McBride article:

    1. The Victims Commission can confirm that it is fundamentally opposed to all forms of violence, now and in the past.

    2. The Victims Commission exists to serve and build a better future for all victims and survivors.

    Some observations by Kathryn Stone after a year in office:

    The role of Victims Commissioner is a challenging one. Knowing that whatever you do or say has the potential to cause unintended offence is a daily challenge. I must reflect the views of victims and survivors, ALL victims and survivors.

    Victims and survivors are not one homogenous group, they do not speak with one voice and so I must, equally and fairly represent them all. I think I have done this. On the Civil Service (Special Advisors) Bill, we asked our Forum for their views. Some were entirely against the Bill. Others were for it. Similarly, with the Maze Long Kesh development, some were for the development of a peace building and conflict resolution centre at the site. Others were totally opposed to it.

    I am often asked for my personal opinion on a range of things, including the definition of a victim. I am not acting in a personal capacity. I am acting in a professional capacity. I must do what the law tells me to do, however difficult or challenging that might be for some. It has been suggested that I should refuse to accept the definition of victim as some believe it to be “a bad law”. It is for politicians to debate the law, it is for me and for all of us to act within it.

  • redstar2011

    It isnt that simple betweenthebridges

    If armed loylists terrorize they are terrorists

    If armed Republicans terrorize they are terrorists

    However the problems arise when those with a blind spot refuse to see those in uniform terrorizing as terrorists

  • sherdy

    Possibly Ms Stone had the prescience to anticipate the third question which would have been: ‘If a soldier or policeman shot an innocent person, would you consider them to be a terrorist’?

  • BluesJazz

    sherdy
    Do you mean like the US Navy SEALS who killed Osama Bin Laden? (who was never convicted of any offence).

    Hmmm…good point.

  • Sp12

    “Do you mean like the US Navy SEALS who killed Osama Bin Laden? (who was never convicted of any offence).”

    Yeah, all those fenian children shot in the back or in the head by soldiers who never stood trial are clearly in the same category as Bin Laden.
    Why was it always fenian children I wonder?

  • Blue Hammer

    SP12

    How many “Fenian children” (your words) were shot in the back or in the head by British soldiers? In what circumstances did these killings happen?

  • redstar2011

    Bluehammer you are obviously contemptuous for any innocent murdered by the british forces

  • Kevsterino

    If anyone can explain the value of a ‘Victim’s Commissioner’ disagreeing with the legal definition of those she is charged to assist (ie Victims), I’d appreciate it if they would share it.

    What good would come from her redefining that which has been legally defined by legislators? She doesn’t write the law, you know?

  • Blue Hammer

    Redstar2011

    I simply asked a question. I am unaware of the details of the killings to which Sp12 alludes. How that is contemptuous only you can answer.

  • redstar2011

    Well if you genuinely want to know about innocents murdered by british security forces try Julie Livingstone, Aidan mc Enespie,, bloody Sunday etc etc etc

  • between the bridges

    Restar if legitimate security forces carried out an illegal act the only thing they had in common with terrorists is that they were all criminals…

  • BluesJazz

    redstar
    The deaths you refer to were accidents.

    But the ‘victim’ definition is open ended to include drug dealers like Stephen Warnock, Kieran Doherty etc and even Shergar’s owner(s).

  • redstar2011

    If so called security forces terrorize a community they are terrorists

  • redstar2011

    The act that you refer to murders as accidents says it all about you and your type

  • Blue Hammer

    I was looking for details of the “Fenian children” shot in the head or back.

    Miss Livingstone’s death appears to have resulted from the use of a baton round by a soldier in a highly charged and volatile situation following the suicide of a PIRA murderer.

    Her death was an unspeakable tragedy.

    But hardly comparable to the planned assassination of OBL?

  • redstar2011

    I see. So if a fenian kid was murdered by the british it MUST have been an accident!!!!!

    The fact that they murdered for decades without any comeback would surely have deterred them.

    Laughable stuff but the fact that some still hold such gross views shows how little things have really changed here.

  • Blue Hammer

    Are you suggesting a planned mission to kill a schoolgirl?

    Laughable?

    Indeed.

  • redstar2011

    The suggestion on here that all murders by the sec forces were accidents would be laughable if not so sick.

    Enjoy your winter in the caravan

  • Blue Hammer

    Where, exactly, did I say any such thing?

    Some deaths at the hands of soldiers were accidents (baton round discharges (eg Miss Livingstone), accidental weapon discharges (eg Mr McAnespie), some planned killings of active terrorists in action (eg Loughgall, Cappagh), some situations where events escalated quickly and young men over-reacted to extreme provocation, (eg Bloody Sunday, etcetera.)

    None of them “murder” however. Killing yes, in some cases potentially manslaughter, but not murder.

  • Sp12

    “Are you suggesting a planned mission to kill a schoolgirl?”

    I would say that the murder of a girl like Majella oHare was clearly premeditated by the para who shot her in the back. Sheesh Paras, those guys again, what is it with those paras and shooting unarmed civilians in the back?

    Did he sit in an ops room an look at a map with her face with a red x over it that morning?
    No, that would be silly to suggest he had.
    I don’t suppose we’ll ever know why he decided to shoot a 12 year old girl twice in the back.

    I dare say it was just because he is an evil c**t who liked terrorising people.
    Sorry, an evil c**t who liked tragically, accidentally shooting 12 year old girls in the back without the side-effect of terrorising anyone.

  • Bishops Finger

    and young men over-reacted to extreme provocation,

    ————–
    Maybe that could be used as an excuse for all the young men who joinedtheir cause at the start of the trouble.

  • Submariner

    Red star I can’t for the life of me fathom why you even bother replying to people like Blue hammer and Blues jazz. They are motivated by hatred and it would not matter one jot to them the circumstances of the killings of innocent civilians they will never see it as murder because the victim’s were themmuns.Hatred and bigotry are in their DNA. Now don’t get me wrong as an ex serviceman I’m well aware of the rules of engagement and the justification for opening fire and yes there was mistakes made and people died but there were too many cases where people were killed without justification and those who killed them were never brought to justice . Even in the few cases when they were convicted of murder only served a couple of years and were then released such was the shameful justice system here. Leave the haters to hate no argument from you will change their poisoned minds after all the victims were only Fe?:!#=s

  • Blue Hammer

    Submariner

    Thank you for that critique of my motivations. Is it comfortable sitting on your elbow, with your mid-arm arse?

  • redstar2011

    Submariner you are of course correct.

    In the light of claims of unionists seriously lacking with education provision I was merely trying to give one of them an opportunity to seriously debate and show that they werent all fleg- caravan types.

    I do however find it depressing that even now in 2013 there are those who can manage a keyboard who cannot get their head around the fact that ALL sides murdered and were murdered.

  • Blue Hammer

    I do however find it depressing that even now in 2013 there are those who can manage a keyboard who cannot get their head around the fact that ALL sides murdered and were murdered.
    ====================================

    Not as depressing as the fact that some resort to unfounded stereotypical insults, whilst equating the actions of the forces of law (deployed to attempt to suppress a criminal uprising) with the actions of those organisations they were deployed to deal with (which were expressly established to wreak havoc and murder on the community). Moral bankruptcy.

  • Submariner

    Blue Hammer (profile) 3 October 2013 at 5:05 pm
    Submariner

    Thank you for that critique of my motivations

    If the cap fits.

  • BluesJazz

    Submariner/redstar

    I’m perfectly comfortable with the army killing of Brian Robinson etc.

    It was heroes like Frank Kitson who brought peace to our little reservation along with the bomb disposal teams and MI5 operators.

  • Submariner

    BluesJazz (profile) 3 October 2013 at 6:55 pm
    Submariner/redstar

    I’m perfectly comfortable with the army killing of Brian Robinson etc.

    After reading the bile you regularly post on here it does not surprise me in the slightest that you would support the murder of a person who was lying paralysed on the ground. Regardless of what Robinson had did there was no justification for shooting him whilst lying on the ground. I believe that no one is above the law you it would seem do not

  • Zig70

    I find the use of victims as a political lever sickening. Good on Ms Stone. Tribal victims groups shouldn’t get funding.

  • Sp12

    Turgon.
    Didn’t you yourself pen a piece on this very site that Hazel Stewart was a ‘victim’? Personally, I would find the idea that a woman who conspired with her lover to rob two sets of children each of a parent as being a ‘victim’ as a ‘morally repugnant position’.

  • David Crookes

    Yes, Zig. Lay aff Ms Stone, everybody.

    What a country! If you refuse to step on a mine, the hard-faced self-important nasties jump on you.

    I wonder about people who lie awake at night thinking up up clever little “do-you-accept” trap-questions.

    Some people in our society want to heal wounds.

    Other people want to be thorns in the flesh.

  • Turgon

    Sp12,
    Completely incorrect. I questioned whether or not Stewart was best charged with and convicted of murder but whether accessory etc. would have been more appropriate. I never suggested she was a victim: she was a perpetrator of crime.

    David Crookes,
    It is not about “laying off” Ms. Stone. She has been given an important position in our collective society: that of Victims’ Commissioner. She has interpreted that role in a strange fashion producing a false equivalence between victims and perpetrators. She does hide behind the pseudo defence of the nature of the legal definition of victim. However, that is not an adequate defence. The overwhelming majority of victims along with the overwhelming majority of the community have no problem describing the UVF et al and IRA et al as terrorists.

    As she is meant to represent victims the fact that she cannot recognise the IRA and UVF as terrorists fatally undermines her to almost all victims. That makes her position untenable. She has not healed wounds: she has opened them up and rubbed salt on them. The questions were hardly difficult or odd questions to ask of a victims’ commissioner.

    It is exactly as one of the victims said above in the News Letter. It is like a police officer refusing to distance themselves from the calumny that women in short skirts are partially responsible for sexual offences committed against them.

  • David Crookes

    All right, Turgon. But I reckon that the intent behind her words was to cause no hurt.

    Ms Stone’s position is not “untenable”, as journalists love to say. It has been impossible from the start. Victimology always tends to become a point-scoring gladiatorial game. I hate the idea that our young people are being made to take part even as spectators in an arbitrary cult of death.

    For arbitrary is what it is. The name of one solicitor, for example, is used to trouble the waters every year, while the name of a decent and unaligned Catholic barman was long ago consigned to oblivion.

    Journalists trouble the waters to sell their papers, and self-righteous politicians get in on the act to impress their own voters, but there is no righteousness about it. I fear that miniskirts, like the flowers that bloom in the spring, have nothing to do with the case.

    Thanks for your posting.

  • Sp12

    “Completely incorrect. I questioned whether or not Stewart was best charged with and convicted of murder but whether accessory etc. would have been more appropriate. I never suggested she was a victim: she was a perpetrator of crime.”

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2011/03/23/thoughts-on-the-saga-of-hazel-stewart/

    “Hazel Stewart is very clearly guilty of a series of serious crimes. However, at the end of this she does seem something of a victim: a victim of Colin Howell and also possibly a victim of, if not a miscarriage of justice, something very close to it. No: Not an innocent victim but a victim none the less.”

  • Turgon

    Sp12,
    Thank you for proving my point. I said not an innocent victim and not a victim of crime. Stewart was a victim of her foolishness, wickedness and of others but no innocent. Those young IRA men who blew themselves were victims of their own foolishness, evil and indeed of those who used them. Victims in one sense but not in any way innocent. As such in the context of a Victims’ Commissioner that any normal person would understand not victims. Not that that is the allegation being levelled against Stone. It is not about victims. if that was the cases she might be able to hide behind the legislation. No she is refusing to describe the IRA and UVF as terrorists. She has nowhere to hide in that regard.

  • David Crookes

    Arrrrrr.

  • David Crookes

    When you’re impaled, stop wriggling. It only makes things worse.

  • Turgon

    David Crookes,
    You impute very good motives to Stone. An alternative reading is that she is a dishonest and disingenuous moral coward.

    It is very difficult how she could have thought she was trying to avoid causing hurt. Rather she was trying to avoid making an appropriate moral judgement. A complete refusal to make any form of moral judgement on a clear moral issue is in itself a form of moral turpitude. To impute good motives into her behaviour is very, very difficult: much more realistic to suggest moral cowardice and a desire to keep one’s job.

    Even if by chance she had good motives she has put forward such an immoral position and a position so out of step with that of the vast majority of victims that she has to the vast majority of victims become irrevocably damaged goods. Ads such she should do the honourable thing and resign.

  • Sp12

    “Thank you for proving my point.”

    Which is what?
    IRA men who blow themselves up are victims of their own evil but Stewart is a victim of her co-murderer and something close to a miscarriage of justice?
    It funny how your black and white morality goes all grey when it’s a fellow fundie to be judged.

  • Turgon

    David Crookes,
    It is you who are impaled on the immorality of supporting a woman who cannot call the IRA or UVF terrorists. When in a hole Mr. Crookes stop digging

  • Turgon

    Sp12,
    The cases are anlaogous. Stewart was a victim but of her own evil and her foolishness.

    The best analogy is Thomas McIlwee the IRA hunger striker. He was convicted over the death of Yvonne Dunlop. Initially it was murder but reduced on appeal to manslaughter. That seems a reasonable position. I may loathe what McIlwee did but I can see why manslaughter was a more appropriate conviction than murder. Actually such nuances especially in high profile cases are quite a good advert for non jury trials. A bit like the fact that Oscar Pistorius will get a non jury trial. I am instinctively dubious about non jury trials but I can see some merit in some cases.

  • David Crookes

    All right, Turgon, we’ll differ on our readings. I tend to assume that everything isn’t a form of moral turpitude. If we all had to resign every time we made a silly mistake, only scarecrows would have steady jobs.

  • Turgon

    David Crookes,
    Refusing to call the IRA and UVF terrorists is not a silly mistake. In a victims’ commissioner especially it is moral turpitude. It has completely destroyed her position. If she resigned she would at least demonstrate honour: to stay demonstrates the opposite.

    You suggested she was trying to heal wounds in our society. If that is so she has done precisely the opposite. If she goes she salvages considerable honour. If she stays she demonstrates moral cowardice of a high order.

  • David Crookes

    Some lady gets her words wrong.

    I say go easy on her.

    That makes me “impaled on immorality”.

    Carry me home to die.

  • Turgon

    David Crookes,
    The problem is that you are not a Victims’ Commissioner making a totally inappropriate, insulting and immoral set of comments. Her refusal to comment is of course a most eloquently immoral comment. That she thought anything otherwise suggests either complete naivety or a massively deranged moral compass and a perverted wedded-ness to the most obnoxious sort of spin. Since she is an adult woman one year into the job the naivety defence is difficult to sustain. Either way such is either her naivety or her moral turpitude that her position is untenable.

    As to you saying “Go easy on her” Your view is not the point. It is the victims whom she is meant to be representing who should be the arbiter of what happens and it is pretty abundantly clear what they think of her following this.

  • David Crookes

    Turgon, I find your continual use of superlatives suffocating, and your morality excessively stern. Maybe my own wicked nature is to blame. I get more from Chumley the Walrus than I get from Jonathan Edwards. Let me withdraw from the combat and go belowstairs for supper.

    Every so often it’s a good idea to forgive those whom we perceive to have trespassed against us. If I have offended you, please forgive me.

  • Zig70

    So a young man who sees his community under attack and decides to do something about it isn’t a victim of the situation he finds himself in? It’s just the same logic that led people to join up and fight in wars that returned them as heroes, but on a narrow scale. It’s a very simple line taken against the past and the underlying mechanism is to put blame on the other side. I find it a bit sick, especially when it is intelligent people twisting a complex situation for their own political support.

  • Turgon

    David Crookes,
    You have not offended me at all. This is debate and let us be honest the views of those of us on slugger are not of vast importance (or any actual importance). The person who has transgressed acceptable standards is Stone but only in that her outburst has shown her unsuited to her role as Victims’ Commissioner. To be fair if she made a fully apology I would probably accept that but it is not for me to do so: it would be for the victims so to do or not do. She would be weakened but possibly not fatally. However, I suspect she would have to apologise and set matters right fairly quickly.

    As to your wicked nature I am a believer in Total Depravity but only in the technical sense of inability to obtain salvation through works. In day to day morality very few people (even terrorists) are totally bad. It is just that in some people the good is far far outweighed by the bad. In conventional (not in this sense religious) morality we should not be so afraid of telling the truth as to try not to ascribe some people or organisations as morally wrong. That is essentially Stone’s gross error in my view. Anyhow regards and good night

  • BluesJazz

    Submariner

    3 October 2013 at 7:12 pm
    Calls the army killing of an armed UVF terrorist (who had just murdered someone) a ‘murder’.

    The Police, RMP, Judiciary and general populace thought it wasn’t.

    Maybe he (and the UVF) are right and the rest of us are wrong. So be it.

  • David Crookes

    Turgon, someone once said of Gladstone that in order to go on disliking him in public you had to avoid meeting him in private. Thanks for answering my cudgel-blows in such an urbane manner. Let’s see if the next few days bring any kind of resolution. Have a good night.

    After all that, I may get up in the morning and gub ye. But as you say, that is debate.

  • Hopping The Border

    Whilst I have some difficulty in Ms. Stone’s inability to term the IRA and UVF terrorists, or at least groups who carried out some terrorist acts (two separate things) it is plain to see why she did it.

    Jimbo, the TUV and the hardline elements of the DUP/UUP/Loyalist fraternity are queuing up to acquire pronouncements from people in allegedly ‘independent’ positions on how the IRA (in particular, the UVF are thrown in to create a facade of balance) WERE TERRORISTS.

    The point being to strip away any possible claim to legitimacy the IRA had and posit the entire generation who joined the IRA as psychotic, bloodthirsty, sectarian serial killing criminals who acted in the way they did for no reason, no other external factors except a “hatred” of those who don’t believe in transubstantiation.

    The violence did not occur in a vacuum, nor was it one sided and nor can the state forces be absolved from their acts by virtue of the “few bad apples” excuse.

    However, Jimbo and the team will scream until they are blue in the face that the IRA were terrorists but will never criticise the actions of the Army, UDR and RUC and scarper at the thought.

    Therefore in trying to demonise one side without the other, Allister’s antics (had they been successful) would have served only to alienate those who perhaps suffered at the hands of state forces and perhaps supported (at least to some extent) actions taken by the IRA. And if Ms. Stone is to be a victims commissioner for all, it is not for her to take sides as to who was right and who was wrong, but to accept victims because they have suffered (irrespective at the hand of whom) during the troubles.

    A victim is someone who has suffered loss pain or hurt, not who supported or didn’t support the actions of the state/actions of paramilitaries.

    As a final thought, how many of the following are victims and deserve Ms. Stone’s support:

    (a) the mother (who reluctantly acquiesced to what her son was doing) of a man who blew himself up attempting to blow up an army base

    (b) the young wife of a soldier killed in action by a south armagh sniper

    (c) the son of a person who has murdered several people for “a cause”

    (d) the husband of a woman blown up by a bomb.

    The problem with Team Jimbo is that they will only class (b) and (d) as victims, but how is the pain suffered any different between all four?

    And that is why Ms. Stone’s skillful evasion of the Newsletter’s attempts to play politics with victims’ suffering to sell newspapers was the correct course of action.

  • Blue Hammer

    HTB

    Despite being a TUV supporter I cant speak for Turgon, but to clarify my position, I would view all four of your potentials as victims. The acquiescence of the mother at (a), however reluctant, detracts from the innocence of her victimhood to a degree, but she is a victim nonetheless.

    Her son, however, is not a victim.

  • “it is surely time .. for her to consider her position and if necessary for Peter Robinson to sack her.”

    Turgon, this is a joint Peter and Martin appointment. Why don’t you tar both with the same brush?

  • Turgon

    Hopping the Border,
    I concur with Blue Hammer. The problem is complex and has been politicised. I would argue mostly by republicans (and loyalist terrorists) seeking to justify their murderous actions though clearly you would disagree and that is fair enough.

    A lot of the problem is the term victim (and Sp12 above has a point). We have defined victim in a very odd fashion in the whole debate (not us on slugger: but the legislation). I submit the reason for this was deliberately to confuse and blur the boundaries between innocence and guilt but that is not my interest in debate here.

    Let us use some examples of various useage of the term victim in normal language.

    A murderer put to death in legal judicial execution (though I am an opponent of the death penalty) is often called a victim of hanging, the electric chair; whatever. That term (victim) can still be used by those supporting the death penalty. They are not an innocent victim and I as an opponent of the death pnealty do not regard them as an innocent victim but such a person is a victim of hanging, the electric chair etc. nonetheless.

    The victim of a Road Traffic Accident is a victim.

    The loved ones of a dead person have not usually been described as victims in the normal run of events. That does not in any way dismiss their grief etc. but that relatively new (though not novel to Northern Ireland) use of the term has caused probelms.

    I refute the idea that an IRA man who blows himself up with his own bomb is a victim in the proper sense of the term. He is, however, a victim in another sense: a victim of his own stupidity, bigotry, wickedness etc. and he might also be a victim of a cynical leader who set the bomb say to explode at 5pm and then told the one planting that it would do so at 6pm.

    Turning to the relatives of the dead and injured again this use of the term victim is problematic but that is mainly because of the modification (maybe corruption) of the term victim. The only valid piece in the sentimental immoral drivel from Eames Bradley was “A mother’s tears are a mother’s tears”. That is actually sentimental, irrelevant but also completely true.

    Lenny Murphy has a mother as did Jim Lynagh. They also had other loved ones to whom those two, mass murderers and probable psychopaths as they were, were probably valued friends. The saddness of those grieving relatives is no different and no less valid just because the people in question had committed most evil acts. Indeed it may be even worse because they know that it was their loved ones evil actions which led directly to their deaths especially in the case of Lynagh, killed as he tried to murder people (not that Murphy was remotely the less evil becuase he was not trying to murder when murdered).

    What there is then is no hierarchy of grief. There is, however, a hierarchy of responsibility, a hierrachy of guilt and due to the way the legislation has been framed there must then be a hierarchy of victims. That that term appears to invalidate or reduce the grief of the relatives of Lynagh and Murphy is dreadful and unfair but that is due to the foolish nature of the legislation and the perverse way that that perverted legislation has been used by the likes of Eames Bradley and now by Stone.

    Had Stone wanted to she could have set out the kind of things I have done above. Instead she refused to acknowledge the simple fact that the UVF and IRA were terrorist organisations. In so doing she has massively undermined her credibility before the victims sector and made her position almost certainly untenable.

    Nevin
    I refer to Peter Robinson alone because, I would ask for and expect no decency whatsoever on the victims from Martin McGuinness one of the victimisers in chief.

  • Barnshee

    “As a final thought, how many of the following are victims and deserve Ms. Stone’s support:”

    Easy

    Victims are the product of actions by perpetrators –Who made them victims?

    The state is responsible for its (and its servants) actions and deficiencies and should “pay up” as necessary. Individuals are however ALSO responsible for their actions and should similarly “pay up”

    “In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”
    (Eleanor Roosevelt)

    (a) the mother (who reluctantly acquiesced to what her son was doing) of a man who blew himself up attempting to blow up an army base

    The mother is clearly a victim – a victim of her sons actions -no case for state help or compensation

    (b) the young wife of a soldier killed in action by a south armagh sniper

    Wife– victim of husband`s death at hands of Murder gang -State servant murdered on duty-state compensates

    (c) the son of a person who has murdered several people for “a cause”

    Clearly a victim of parents action-no case for state help or compensation

    (d) the husband of a woman blown up by a bomb.

    Victim of terror group-state failed to protect citizen –state responsible for support

    ,”how is the pain suffered any different between all four?”

    The pain and loss is no different — the “skilful evasion” involved is to ignore the perpetrator and the self inflicted aspects of “victim hood”

    Culpability and (criminal )negligence applies throughout

    I cut my foot with a scythe -its hardly the manufacturers or my next door neighbours fault– I ( and my wife as she runs me to casualty) are the “victims” of my own actions.

    If I set out to maim and murder and come to a sticky end? My actions create victim hood amongst my relatives -who else is to blame?

    The idea of responsibility flies in the face of the underlying theme in NI – the claim that every time a law is broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to underline the concept that each individual is accountable for his/her actions and the results of such actions.

  • Morpheus

    2 quick question Barnshee

    1. 14 people killed by the Paratroopers on Bloody Sunday. Were those 14 people victims?

    2. Michael Stone killed 3 people at The Milltown Cemetry. Were those 3 people victims?

  • Blue Hammer

    Morpheus

    Yes. In both cases.

  • Turgon

    Morpheus,
    I do not want to intrude on Blue Hammer’s excellent explanation but to go back to his comments above. Both your groups are victims. Then ask (as Blue Hammer makes clear above) who was responsible for mading them victims:

    In case 1 it was the actions of certain paratroopers. They should face the consequences of their actions. Entirely appropriately, though far, far too late in the day there is a criminal investigation underway.

    One can further ask did any of the actions of those 14 contribute to their deaths as that would imply some fault on their own part. There the answer is resolutely no. It was an illegal march but that is irrelevant. Taking part in an illegal march does not warrant a death sentence let alone one summarily delivered.

    Had Martin McGuinness been shot with his submachinegun that day he would be just as dead but he would have been largely responsible for his own death as he would have been trying to kill other people.

    Turning to case 2.
    The three in Milltown were killed by Michael Stone. He is responsible. They were committing no illegal acts. They bare no responsibility.

    The victim word is problematic. As blue hammer suggests the thing to look at is responsibility. The term victim is used and abused as a canard to try to cloud responsibility. There is an attempt to suggest that a victim cannot bare any responsibility. That is mainfestly incorrect. A speeding motorist who is killed is still the victim of an RTA. He is, however, in part responsible. The person he crashes into and kills is also a victim but bares no responsibility assuming theny were not walking up the middle of the M2 in the dark.

  • Blue Hammer

    Turgon/Morpheus

    I think Barnshee is responsible for the “excellent explanation”, but I am happy to echo his comments.

    No one can rationally argue that those killed on Bloody Sunday or in Milltown or any of the losses of life related to the Troubles, and indeed their relatives, were not victims. The arguable point is to what extent they contributed to their own victimhood.

    I’ll leave it there.

  • Turgon

    Blue hammer / Barnshee,
    Thanks my apologies to you both

  • BluesJazz
  • Barnshee

    “2 quick question Barnshee”

    1. 14 people killed by the Paratroopers on Bloody Sunday. Were those 14 people victims?

    They most certainly were victims of murder by state servants

    (I had the “fortune” to be in Derry on BS The crowd spent hours attacking the police army— were the police/army injured on BS victims?)

    2. Michael Stone killed 3 people at The Milltown Cemetry. Were those 3 people victims?

    Clearly victims of murderous thug

  • Morpheus

    OK, Bloody Sunday: victims- gotcha. The police and army who were hurt were victims yes.

    Milltown Cemetry: “Clearly victims of murderous thug” – gotcha.

    One of those killed in Milltown Cemetry was Caoimhín Mac Brádaigh- an IRA man. Doe she now move from ‘clearly being a victim’ to not being a victim?

  • Blue Hammer

    Morpheus

    No. All of Stone’s victims were just that – victims. Mr Brady’s PIRA membership did not lead to his death apart from placing him at the scene where he was attacked.

    Now, had the funeral been, say an RUC one, and Mr Brady acting in a PIRA capacity attacked it and as a consequence been shot “in action”, I would not then class him as a victim.

    A reasonably clear distinction.

  • carl marks

    Turgon should the title of this post not read, “the Victims Commissioner disagrees with my definition of victim.
    I would think that if indeed you were concerned about victims and their feelings then you would be concerned with your party leader having his picture taken with the leader of the PUP/UVF at an illegal protest. Perhaps you would be resigning in protest at the sheer hypocrisy of his ranting against Castlederg while blind eyeing Coleraine.
    No Turgon don’t bother replying I have laboured this point with you before and you chose to avoid answering why break the habit of a lifetime.
    Just another unionist who has a mote/beam/eye problem

  • Comrade Stalin

    You refuse to use my preferred word. Therefore you are the enemy.

    That’s cleared up now.