Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Arresting Behaviour?

I see that arrests have been made in connection with the burning  on a bonfire of an effigy of Grenfell Tower that I mentioned in yesterday's post.  Which, of course,  begs the question as to whether any arrests actually were necessary?  While setting fire to a model of Grenfell Tower might well be considered, at the very least, thoughtless, definitely tasteless, certainly reprehensible and probably offensive to the majority of people, it isn't actually a criminal act.  But here in the UK we seem to like arresting people for causing offence, whether it be drunkenly urinating on war memorials or posying idiotic things on social media.  Whilst these sorts of things might well be anti-social and most definitely reprehensible, do they really warrant arresting and prosecuting the perpetrators?  BUt that's the sort of society the UK has become: one obsessed with 'punishing' supposed 'wrong doers'.  The trouble is that, all too often, the real miscreants are simply not being caught and punished, be they burglars and muggers, con men and fraudsters, or top level tax evaders.  Probably because the police are spending so much time investigating complaints that someone said something rude about someone else on Twitter.

The Grenfell Tower effigy burning provides a typical example of this sort of very British overreaction to something, with both the traditional media and social media doing their best to whip up some moral outrage over something which, while undoubtedly offensive, is, in the scheme of things, quite trivial.  It is unclear (to me at least) whether any criminal offence has actually been committed.  (Unless they've criminalised stupidity, that is).  So, do we really think that it is a good use of police resources to identify and arrest the sort of morons who not only burn models of Grenfell Tower, but also film it and put it online?  Or do we think that the police's time would be better spent catching sex offenders and murderers, (or even right wing millionaires who have been illegally bank rolling Brexit)?  Would it be more appropriate to publicly vilify and shame these arseholes?  Most certainly.  It's the best way to ram home to them and their ilk that this sort of thing is socially unacceptable, that the majority of us think that they are sick, bigoted, bastards.  By arresting them, we are are risking giving them and their idiotic antics even more publicity, turning them into heroes in the eyes of other morons.  Indeed, there's always the risk that we will make martyrs out of them in the eyes of those right-wing extremists who like to cry 'free speech!' every time someone refuses to give a platform to racism and bigotry.

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