Monday, March 28, 2011

Mob Mentality

There are some forms of human behaviour I suspect that I'll never really understand. One is that 'mob mentality' which drives people to gather outside courts and prisons, jeering and threatening suspects and defendants in criminal cases. What do they hope to achieve? To somehow intimidate the accused? What's the point? By this stage, they're either facing justice in the form of a criminal trial, or the loss of their liberty as the result of having been found guilty already. I was reminded of my confusion over these behaviours when watching today's news reports of the main suspect in the recent murder in Swindon arriving at court for a remand hearing - there was the mob outside, surrounding the prison van and shouting threats at him. Apparently it didn't stop inside the court, with threats and abuse being shouted from the public gallery. Now, I'm lucky enough never to have lost someone close to me through violent crime, but I'm sure that if it did happen I'd be pretty upset, and probably angry. Consequently, I could, perhaps, understand if the people shouting the abuse were friends and relatives of the victim. But, it seems, they're not. The overwhelming majority, maybe even all of them, have never even met the victim in this case. Yet they take it upon themselves to act as some kind of shit would-be vigilante mob.

But does it really matter if these morons decide to act like a lynch mob? Well, yes, I think it does. It represents yet another erosion of the concept that people are innocent until proven guilty when they start barracking suspects before they've even been tried in a court of law. A fair trial and the presumption of innocence are two of our fundamental tights in this country, but clearly, the mob thinks differently. It doesn't help that the media in the UK seem to encourage these idiots in their belief that as soon as someone is arrested, they're guilty and are fair game for threats of violence. Just look at the pictures of the accused they always use - they seem to deliberately use one which makes them look like a psychopath, sex offender, weirdo, or all three. The Swindon case is no different, with a photo of the accused pictured shirtless, looking like some kind of macho serial killer being widely circulated. On yesterday's TV news they were also pretty much giving out his address, complete with footage of the house. Jesus! Is this for the benefit of the vigilante morons, so they know which property to burn down, or, at the very least, which letterbox they can shove dog shit through? But hey, should I really be surprised? After all, isn't this just more evidence of what I've been ranting about for years: the rise of the idiots? Despair everyone, for we are inevitably heading for a dictatorship of dunces.

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