Non-life-threatening injuries and the scandal of shooting children…

I couldn’t sleep last Thursday night. I live in West Belfast and there was a helicopter hovering right above our house. The noise always reminds me of older times when military helicopters were so common that we almost didn’t hear them anymore. Yes, times have changed…. Except, it seems that I was not the only one not sleeping that night. Around 11 pm a child (we still recognise those under 18 as children, right?) was taken up a side street in Turf Lodge and shot three times. He would have been shot four times except the gun jammed I have been told. Two of the shots were in each of his ankles. The third was in one of his kneecaps. Have you ever sprained your ankle? Or twisted your knee? Sore, isn’t it? Now imagine you’ve been shot- a bullet penetrating the skin, the muscle, and then the bone. Maybe one of the bullets glances off the bone (inside the joints) and lodge themselves in more muscle). White hot pain, no doubt. Now imagine you’re lying on cold ground, alone except for a few men who have nothing but hatred for you- no sympathy, no compassion, and no mercy at all. They shoot you and they leave. And you’re a child. You won’t sleep. You’ll spend the night in agony in hospital.

This child abuse- that’s what shooting a child is- is all too common in these ‘changed times’ of ours. Weekly we hear of either a beating or a shooting of a child by some sort of shadowy grouping. And for the most part, we read about it on the BBC news app or in the paper being reported as ‘non-life-threatening injuries’. While this is factually correct, it does not even begin to inform us of the devastating effects these attacks have on children. Physically and psychologically these events will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

There are many arguments given to legitimise these attacks. They often come from groups who have a veneer of political ambition about them- they claim in some way to be acting for ‘God and Ulster’ or in the name of ‘Irish freedom’. But, come on. Does anyone really believe this? Surely, we know better?

We also hear that the children who are abused and brutalised in this way have, themselves, caused misery and mayhem to others. Often this is the case, there is no doubt. But, in these ‘changed times’ or in any times for that matter, is shooting a child the way we would want our society to respond? I think it is a horror. We need to invest time and energy into the services that should be responding (better) to these children who are offending in our community. Anti-social behaviour/crime is a scourge. It grows up where we have poor infrastructure, poor investment, a lack of leadership and a lack of hope. Only a multi-agency approach involving the health, social care, police, justice and community sectors will make inroads here. Where is this response?

Earlier this week, our political representatives got very vexed about bonfires carrying sectarian and racist messages and images. And so they should have. But these fires only destroyed people in effigy. Bullets and bats destroy young lives in reality. Where is the political (and media) outcry over this horrendous maiming of our children? Are we happy to have ‘non-life-threatening injuries’ be the only narrative we produce to this shameful practice happening in our midst? We need to delve deeper into the mess of these attacks.

This will involve facing up to some difficult realities:

Many of the children attacked for dealing drugs have not paid their ‘rent’ to a paramilitary grouping that would have allowed them to deal with impunity.

Many of the children who are running amok in the community have been arrested before and are let free without restriction to bring more mayhem to our streets.

Many of these groupings carrying out the child abuse are tolerated by communities who feel powerless in the face of this antisocial behaviour- there is no real relationship in these communities with the police.

Many of our political representatives would rather play the old orange and green cards than get to grips with this issue- maybe there are no votes in it?

And many more children will be shot or beaten with nail-laden bats in the coming months if we don’t stop our reaction of collective apathy summed up by describing the horrible injuries they suffer as simply ‘non-life-threatening’.

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  • murdockp

    This and the bonfire culture / lawlessness are all one and the same. Law enforcement agencies refusing / scared to apply the rule of law.

    I call it middle class policing where middle class people join the police for the money rather than a deep desire to be officers. The then down their careers targeting middle classe people who dont fight back in organised groups.

    I think we need zero tolerance policing like the rest of the UK. After the riots and every football match every offence is followed up and much harsher sentences handed gown.

    In London possession of a gun is 15 years prison. In northern Ireland it is five. The only reason it seems to me sentences are so short is to keep the prison population low.

    In short the complete absence of law enforcement on the northern ireland estates and streets is allowing paramilitary policing to flourish.

    The police need to take a hard look at themselves.

  • friend-thru-the-storm

    This is horrific, i heard that these things happened during Northern Ireland/Ulster’s “troubles”(but not to bairns under 18) But is it still ongoing? Can’t the politicians there not do anything to outlaw this abuse?

  • Redstar

    Sadly it’s a lot more complicated. It’s naive indeed wrong to single out the foot soldiers in these organisations as where to take a stand when those at the top of these organisations are feted by our politicians and given literally millions of tax payer s money

    No point complaining about Sean or Billy firing the shots into knees- when Kevin or “Dee” are feted by the great and the good at Stormont

    It’s pathetic almost grotesque to talk of multi agency approach – when certain agencies given millions we all know to be nothing more than fronts for those ordering the shootings

    Yes a stand must be taken against this thuggery, but let’s not have our intelligence insulted by condemning the shooters and having our ” respectable” politicians stand shoulder to shoulder with those who send them out on their missions

  • mac tire

    “I was done for doing 45 mph in a 40mph road in Newry at the bottom of a
    housing estate with every racket under the sun happening at the same
    time I was being done by the officer. If the officer had driven 300m
    further up he hill from me they would have found criminality from
    prostitution through to drug dealing and not a police officer in sight
    on the estate as it would unnecessarily upset the locals.”

    Enough of your attacks on the people of Newry. I live in an estate that, just two weeks ago, held a meeting about anti-social behaviour. The solution? The people were demanding a police presence in the area!
    It would have even been nice if they had have accepted the invitation to attend.
    Remember, you were done because you broke the speed limit in that area. Good, you deserved it.

  • aquifer

    Another generation of career terrorists? Lets review what the last lot achieved.

    Kids were encouraged out of school to throw bricks at Brits and to graduate to hijacking and burning cars and burning out local businesses. They stayed out of school and took to stealing and racing cars owned by local people who needed them to get to what jobs were left, those jobs outside their local areas.

    One remaining route to independence for young women was to have children and claim social housing. The welfare system pays more for parents to stay apart, so many did. The results for new generations of young people were mixed, with some falling by the wayside.

    Terrorists broke these children, do they now want to finish them off?

    No, their pistols and p. poor arguments are aimed at the rest of us.

  • doopa

    I like the use of the term ‘life changing injuries’ to indicate something of the permanence of the injury. Yes the survivor won’t die, but their lives are changed. I think it is unfortunately appropriate in the example of punishment attacks.

  • runnymede

    Isn’t this the sort of thing one of Bliar’s henchmen referred to as ‘internal house-keeping’? Charming.

  • Little Franks

    Its a violent world. Thats what Sociology says. Sun Tzu says dont expose yourself.
    Thats why we have raincoats and Armor same diff. The law is violent. Its there to protect the few not the many. Blood of patriots and tyrants a man once said. Keep your head low.

  • Korhomme

    Is prostitution a crime?

  • Zorin001

    I’ve noted the same terminology being used to describe the aftermath of the recent acid attacks in London, while it’s probably the legally correct term to use it does tend to lessen the impact of what are no doubt quite horrrifc injuries.

  • doopa

    I’ve no idea if ‘life changing’ is a legal term – I too noticed it during those reports specifically. However, I had the opposite feeling. I thought it reinforced the severity of the injury. I think there is some utility in creating a distinction between a less severe injury, a more severe injury and a life threatening injury. At the moment we only really have injury and life threatening injury. The latter being cause for prosecution for attempted murder/manslaughter. With injury you can only prosecute and therefore sentence people for lesser crimes. Hence trying to create a new category below life threatening would allow a different enforcement/sentencing regime to emerge. I’d argue we need something like that.
    Ideally though people would stop shooting/throwing acid on others.

  • doopa

    It is outlawed. It did happen to children during the troubles. It is still ongoing.

  • Skibo

    I believe prostitution is illegal in northern Ireland or rather it is illegal to pay for sex. That said, I believe no prosecutions have taken place so I assume it isn’t happening!
    I believe the law was changed to make certain Christians sleep better in their beds and nothing to do with protecting the women, some who have chosen this as a career and too many who have been caught up in a dirty business, trafficked and pimped by organisations we wish would just disappear.

  • Neil

    Seems simple to me. Sort out the reason behind the demand for such action and it will stop. People want justice, and when the police fail to deliver it – as they most often do – people will go elsewhere. When people call the cops over something and the little ne’er do well is back on the streets later that day newly emboldened or indeed enriched by their encounter with the police, they then turn their attention back to whoever called the police in the first place. So you get to be a victim every day of your life thereafter. Some of these children can be quite well armed. So the answer has to be that the police provide the justice, spend less time recruiting criminals and more time trying to get them charged with a crime. Failing that people will turn where they have to to get what they can’t get anywhere else.

  • Korhomme

    Lord Morrow’s 2015 Act makes prostitution an asymmetric crime; it is illegal to pay for sex, but not to sell it. This was introduced as an anti-trafficking measure; there is no evidence that a significant number of women are trafficked for such services. But then, who needs evidence when you have belief?

    It is the Nordic model which began in Sweden, and is hailed by the police there as a success, as it has reduced the level of prostitution. As there are no statistics referring to the extent before the passage of their act, this seems questionable.

    It’s also seen as a law to protect women who, being such snowflakes, are unable to make a choice for themselves, and therefore need the protection of men who of course know better. Very few have been coerced; again, this doesn’t fit with the belief system of the legislators.

    The majority of people trafficking relates to agriculture, but this isn’t a ‘sexy’ sector of the economy. As you say, there seem to have been no prosecutions since the introduction of the Act.

    There is now a similar law in the Republic.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I’d be interested in a tally of the ‘appalled’ vs the ‘non-appalled’ on this topic.

    Bits of Belfast are truly alien to the rest of the land but make sense to those that reside in these areas.

  • notimetoshine

    I fall firmly in the appalled column. I think I actually had a comment deleted (first one ever), my fault, I was a bit overexcited, because I truly feel a sense of abject disgust with these people. I personally think that the people who had this done on their behalf, with their knowledge or at their request, do not deserve justice or sympathy even though they may feel the effects of anti social behaviour. That they think crippling a minor, is a productive way to counter anti social behaviour is just mind boggling and I can’t help thinking they are as much criminals as the rest.

    You say that bits of Belfast are truly alien to the rest, but surely basic human decency transcends localised socio economic difference? If these communities do accept this as a method of crime control (if not prevention), then one has to wonder what value these communities have to the country as a whole.

  • Toaster

    I think it’s very important to remember that this is part of the way of life in West Belfast and not to get involved in the politics of condemnation

  • Zeno3

    It used to be a line SF used always. “We don’t get into the politics of condemnation.” Then something changed and they flip flopped again and condemn every body.

  • Zeno3

    I live in Belfast and like most places there are 3 distinct areas. One is where the very rich live, Malone Road ,Cultra etc. Two is the middle where I live, mixed religion, no problems worth talking about and three is the nationalist and loyalist ghettos. I lived in a few and it’s not pretty, More crime, more drug problems, more suicides and more of every problem you can think of. People see owning a pitbull as some sense of status. The paramilitaries run those places and they are funded by the government. Any one with any sense wants out of those places. In England they are called Sink Estates.

  • Toaster

    Sf only condemn the relentless bigots who hold this provenince back with their sectarian hatred of respect and equality

  • Totally agree. The term “life changing” is dramatic and much more vivid than “non-life-threatening,” which seems highly sanitized, in many cases.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Unless it’s about bonfires.
    Or parades.
    Or wee union flags on Sainsbury’s poultry range.

  • Glenn

    I think it was Mo Mowlam, who coined that disgusting phrase around 1999. It allows the authorities to look the other way, while the shinners/provos exerted their summery civil rights based justice on the people they claim to be setting free.

    Then there are proxy shootings, which seems to be growing favour in republican circles. That old chestnut of plausible deniability “it wasn’t us gov”!!! That line was trotted out time and time again after the murder of Kevin McGuigan. However, no matter what their protestations the reality is it fools no
    not even the famous dogs in the street.

    (please play tune while reading the paragraphs below.)

    That is apart from the dogs in the street, who are the cults sycophants voters and supporters, who are getting their civil rights based justice form the so called freedom fighters as they are being set free.

    Republicans went from civil rights to a united Ireland in a gun shot. Now we are getting a view of what they mean by a civil rights based society in their new united Ireland. All brought to us by their so called freedom fighters. As they bring us their summery justice and civil rights, while proclaiming justice in the UK and the RoI is corrupt and biased against them.

    We shouldn’t forget there are also fiefdoms under the control of a selected group of so called freedom fighters that must be protected.
    Would you like some used cat litter with your cheep diesel???

    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/sinister-doctrine-of-internal-housekeeping-26142349.html

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sunday-life/fears-growing-over-shankill-bomber-sean-kellys-influence-on-new-ira-after-hes-linked-to-three-shootings-35530292.html

  • Granni Trixie

    You are correct of course to point to apparent failirure of the police and courts. You could also have mentioned failure of parenting.
    Plus You call kangaroo courts and barbaric shooting? justice…justice good enough for working class children? For it is wc children. what kind of a person carries out these mutilations I’d like to know? Criminality goes on across the water but you don’t hear of this kind of thing.

  • Granni Trixie

    As I commented above, this is wc children we are talking about and you seem to be asking people to look the other way. No, we ought to recognise the problem for what it is, brutality as a step in th direction of addressing it.

  • Granni Trixie

    I used to work on a scheme to deflect young people from car theft (“joyriding”) and as far as we could tell shootings didn’t stop them. What it takes is for all the adults in their lives to engage with them. Maturation usually does the rest.

  • Granni Trixie

    Previously we discussed The NOlan show, well you have to give the big man credit for expressing that human decency in the face of community callers arguing “these scumbags deserve all they get”. Painful though it is to hear such sentiments, it’s an authentic pov which we need to hear to counteract with analysis and action.

  • Old Mortality

    More likely non-working class? Parents who are constantly assured that they are ‘vulnerable’ as well as ‘deprived’ and so can’t possibly be expected to look after their children properly.

  • Glenn
  • runnymede

    Beyond parody. Murdering mothers and burying them on beaches, nailbombing children at memorial services, all about respect and equality of course.

  • Glenn

    I think it was Mo Mowlam, who coined that disgusting phrase around 1999.
    It allows the authorities to look the other way, while the shinners/provos exert their summery civil rights based justice system by their so called freedom fighters on the people they claim to be setting free.

    Then there are proxy shootings, which seems to be growing favour in republican circles. That old chestnut of plausible deniability “it wasn’t us gov”!!! That line was trotted out time and time again after the murder of Kevin McGuigan and others. However, no matter what their protestations the reality is it fools no one, not even those famous dogs in the street.

    Republican civil rights justice has come in may forms over the years starting with, tarring and feathering mainly of young girls, diapering people not excluding widowed mothers of 10, exclusions, death threats including those to children and in more recent times non open and transparent internal investigations Robert McCartney’s murder and Mairia Cahill rape to name but a few.
    None of the findings of these internal investigations where ever handed over to the PSNI for the prosecution of the accused. This notwithstanding the fact that Sinn Fein are signed up to policing. However there is of course the Sinn Fein/IRA way, why not just short circuit that long drawn out court process which could give people their civil rights to see the accused in an open court, and offer to shoot those involved.

    Then there is the republican priest form of punishment. That of moving on paedophiles within their ranks only for them to carry on their paedophilia where they were moved to. More evidence of republican civil rights justice.

    It should be noted the only people who can’t see this are the cults sycophantic voters and supporters. The very people who are not getting their civil rights based justice form their so called freedom fighters as they’re being set free.
    And strangely they are the same people who are so quick to see and find fault in others and put post after post on this forum.

    Republicans went from civil rights to a united Ireland in a gun shot, are we getting a view of what they mean by a (civil) rights based society in their new united Ireland. All brought to us by their so called freedom fighter foot soldiers as they bring their summery justice and (civil) rights to their own people in their ghettos. All the while proclaiming justice in the UK and the RoI is corrupt and biased against them.

    Lastly we shouldn’t forget there are fiefdoms under the control of a selected group of so called freedom fighters that must be protected.
    Would you like some used cat litter with your cheep diesel or 200 of the best fake cigarettes from our sweatshop in eastern Europe???

    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/sinister-doctrine-of-internal-housekeeping-26142349.html

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sunday-life/fears-growing-over-shankill-bomber-sean-kellys-influence-on-new-ira-after-hes-linked-to-three-shootings-35530292.html

  • james

    Some cultures aren’t worthy of respect.

  • james

    Self-condemnation, then?

  • james

    Eh?

  • james

    “Kids were encouraged out of school to throw bricks at Brits and to graduate to hijacking and burning cars and burning out local businesses. They stayed out of school and took to stealing and racing cars owned by local people who needed them to get to what jobs were left, those jobs outside their local areas.”

    One of many things that Sinn Fein should really be apologising for.

  • Glenn

    I think it was Mo Mowlam, who coined that disgusting phrase around 1999.
    It allows the authorities to look the other way, while the shinners/provos exert their summery civil rights based justice system by their so called freedom fighters on the people they claim to be setting free.

    Then there are proxy shootings, which seems to be growing favour in republican circles. That old chestnut of plausible deniability “it wasn’t us gov”!!! That line was trotted out time and time again after the murder of Kevin McGuigan and others. However, no matter what their protestations the reality is it fools no one, not even those famous dogs in the street.

    Republican civil rights justice has come in may forms over the years starting with, tarring and feathering mainly of young girls, diapering people not excluding widowed mothers of 10, exclusions, death threats including those to children and in more recent times non open and transparent internal investigations Robert McCartney’s murder and Mairia Cahill rape to name but a few.

    None of the findings of these internal investigations where ever handed over to the PSNI for the prosecution of the accused. This notwithstanding the fact that Sinn Fein are signed up to policing. However there is of course the Sinn Fein/IRA way, why not just short circuit that long drawn out court process which could give people their civil rights to see the accused in an open court, and offer to shoot those involved.
    Then there is the republican priest form of punishment. That of moving on paedophiles within their ranks only for them to carry on their paedophilia where they were moved to. More evidence of republican civil rights justice.
    It should be noted the only people who can’t see this are the cults sycophantic voters and supporters. The very people who are not getting their civil rights based justice form their so called freedom fighters as they’re being set free.
    And strangely they are the same people who are so quick to see and find fault in others and put post after post on this forum.

    Republicans went from civil rights to a united Ireland in a gun shot, are we getting a view of what they mean by a (civil) rights based society in their new united Ireland. All brought to us by their so called freedom fighter foot soldiers as they bring their summery justice and (civil) rights to their own people in their ghettos. All the while proclaiming justice in the UK and the RoI is corrupt and biased against them.

    Lastly we shouldn’t forget there are fiefdoms under the control of a selected group of so called freedom fighters that must be protected.
    Would you like some used cat litter with your cheep diesel or 200 of the best fake cigarettes from our sweatshop in eastern Europe???

  • runnymede

    Some of them are involved in it

  • 05OCT68

    I read on another on another that the DUP propose spending £100 million of the Tory ransom on community reps etc, the money should be targeted at criminality in the areas suffering instead. I would assume that the money will be spent in Republican communities because some on here would have us believe these are the only areas that beat or shoot children.

  • Barneyt

    I think you are in danger of glossing over many crimes here by preserving the term “child abuse” for these type of attacks. If they are 16 or 17 they are technically minors and are described as young adults by the system. The term child abuse congers up various images and comes in all forms. These shooting incidents are believe it or not, deemed acceptable in some communities and in many cases the victims have done something to attract this punishments and are seen to have brought this on themselves. Without justifying these methods or ignoring the social neglect that places these young adults in the mouth of crime and this style of “policing”, do not use the child abuse term in these cases. Kids who are physically, emotionally and sexually abused in their homes and institutions are the true victims of horrific child abuse and have done nothing to attract this kind of attention, other than simply being a child. If you over extend this child abuse category to punishment attacks, as emotively as you do, you lessen many forms of abuse and detract from it. You may be trying to apply the ugliness and evil of real child abuse to these attacks to add a demonic attribute to the attackers, however it’s not going to have any kind of impact especially when there is such an understanding as to why these attacks occur and how delinquents if you like fall prey to them. If you are looking down the barrrel of a gun with a 16 year old at the other end, and you pull the trigger, you are not easily going to be affected by misdirected labelling of the nature you engage in. Something else is afoot here.

  • Glenn

    I think it was Mo Mowlam, who coined that disgusting phrase IRA house keeping around 1999.
    It allows the authorities to look the other way, while the shinners/provos exert their summery civil rights based justice system by their so called freedom fighters on the people they claim to be setting free.
    Then there are proxy shootings, which seems to be growing favour in republican circles. That old chestnut of plausible deniability “it wasn’t us gov”!!! That line was trotted out time and time again after the murder of Kevin McGuigan and others. However, no matter what their protestations the reality is it fools no one, not even those famous dogs in the street.
    Republican civil rights justice has come in may forms over the years starting with, tarring and feathering mainly of young girls, diapering people not excluding widowed mothers of 10, exclusions, death threats including those to children and in more recent times non open and transparent internal investigations Robert McCartney’s murder and Mairia Cahill rape to name but a few.
    None of the findings of these internal investigations where ever handed over to the PSNI for the prosecution of the accused. This notwithstanding the fact that Sinn Fein are signed up to policing. However there is of course the Sinn Fein/IRA way, why not just short circuit that long drawn out court process which could give people their civil rights to see the accused in an open court, and offer to shoot those involved.
    Then there is the republican priest form of punishment. That of moving on paedophiles within their ranks only for them to carry on their paedophilia where they were moved to. More evidence of republican civil rights justice.
    It should be noted the only people who can’t see this are the cults sycophantic voters and supporters. The very people who are not getting their civil rights based justice form their so called freedom fighters as they’re being set free.
    And strangely they are the same people who are so quick to see and find fault in others and put post after post on this forum.
    Republicans went from civil rights to a united Ireland in a gun shot, are we getting a view of what they mean by a (civil) rights based society in their new united Ireland. All brought to us by their so called freedom fighter foot soldiers as they bring their summery justice and (civil) rights to their own people in their ghettos. All the while proclaiming justice in the UK and the RoI is corrupt and biased against them.
    Lastly we shouldn’t forget there are fiefdoms under the control of a selected group of so called freedom fighters that must be protected.
    Would you like some used cat litter with your cheep diesel or 200 of the best fake cigarettes from our sweatshop in eastern Europe???

  • Jim M

    Yeah it does appal me when otherwise decent people in West Belfast automatically assume ‘he must’ve done something’, when the decision to shoot someone is made by faceless losers with their own agendas… Even people who dislike dissidents will give them a ‘by-ball’ they’d never give the PSNI.

  • Skibo

    I wonder is anyone going to raise the issue of the banning of corporal punishment in schools and homes as a reason for the behaviour of children being so out of hand?
    Children nowadays have very little respect for authority and definitely no respect for other people’s property.
    They have little to no fear of the police and there is a band of young ones who look at a spell in a young offender’s centre as a medal of honour.

  • DOUG

    Probably should have stayed under 40.

  • Reader

    Barneyt: These shooting incidents are believe it or not, deemed acceptable in some communities and in many cases the victims have done something to attract this punishments and are seen to have brought this on themselves.
    Same as rioters back in the day, then?
    [For the avoidance of doubt, I disagree with violent reprisals in both cases. There are better ways to deal with the situation]

  • DOUG

    I doubt it has any bearing at all.
    I was beaten as a child at home and in school and these things were happening when I was younger. In fact I myself suffered ” life changing ” injuries when a car carrying 3 joyriders mounted a kerb and drove over me.
    They were older than I, I was 7, so I think it’s fair to assume that the presence of corporal punishment as the norm had no bearing.

  • Skibo

    Doug speak to teachers about how difficult it now is to be able to control pupils. There will always be an element of people who, no matter what restrictions you put in place, they will continue to break the law.
    The issue is there does not seem to be enough of a fear of the law for such people to obey the law.
    The fact that certain “law abiding” elements with the community seem to believe they can obey the law they like and ignore the law they don’t also leaves it difficult to convince people that the law is impartial and will be legislated regardless of who you are.
    The law, not only must be effective, it has to be seen as effective.

  • Jim M

    Problem is, if the police and courts did go really hardline, dissidents and their (often tacit) supporters would be complaining about injustice… There is some truth in what you say, though. I remember a taxi driver pointing out the hood who’d left his relative with brain injuries, but was out on bail; he didn’t say it in so many words but he obviously welcomed the idea of the hood facing consequences which the statutory bodies wouldn’t provide. I don’t think punishment shootings help anybody, and it’s rare for vigilantism to actually prevent crime, but people who back it aren’t necessarily bloodthirsty idiots. It does frustrate me, though, that punishment attacks are tolerated and often approved of, when they’d never be accepted in, say, England, and when people would be rightly disgusted if cops pinned people down and broke their ankles.

  • Jim M

    I agree with a lot of what you say, but corporal punishment is not the answer. There’s no evidence it was effective, and I’m sure it was sonetimes abused by teachers who got their kicks that way. There’s no way it could ever be brought back now – if kids are out of control, do you think they’d allow a teacher to beat them with a stick? As well as that, parents would never tolerate it, and the culture has changed so much.

  • Neil

    To me you’ve hit on something quite important in the discussion. Take a hypothetical young hood who has been told by a dissident group that they are under threat. The police here are primarily (in some cases people would say solely) interested in catching dissidents. So this young person will be recruited by the PSNI as he has seen a dissident or two when they came knocking. Now think how that feels to the victims of some of these young hoods.

    You may have been threatened, you may be in fear for your well being, you may have to live with constant abuse, criminal damage or vandalism, attacks and so on. And now the police are recruiting the person who is making your life hell. And that in a nutshell is why you don’t see the same thing in England. The Met don’t arrive in some run down London housing estate and set about recruiting and protecting some of the worst elements in the estate, thereby leaving the residents at the mercy of angry, emboldened criminals. The police in my opinion create the atmosphere where these things happen by denying people justice and leaving them to live in a hellish situation because they have tunnel vision when it comes to tracking down dissident republicans.

  • Barneyt

    I don’t agree either but I’m reflecting views I know existed

  • By the silence, it would seem that neither Amnesty NI nor the local NSPCC has much of a view on this topic.