Articles, notes and other items: 2008 (and early 2009)
Killed for being a Goth: “A chilling 999 call from a hysterical teenager, seeing a girl being kicked to death for being dressed as a Goth, was played to a jury yesterday. The sobbing 14-year-old girl begs for an ambulance as two of her friends are heard in the background trying to stop the horrific attack on Sophie Lancaster and boyfriend Robert Maltby, by a gang of youths in a park. The group had been talking to the couple when they turned into a ‘pack of wild animals’ kicking 21-year-old Mr Maltby and stamping on his head. They then attacked Miss Lancaster, 21, as she [knelt on the ground and] cradled his head in her lap, Preston Crown Court heard...An unknown male can be heard shouting, ‘Oy, get the f*** off him now!’ [which, I take to mean that he wanted to kill Rob but she was in the way so they turned on her instead].” The caller goes on to say that Penny was choking on her blood and that blood was coming out of their ‘eyes, nose and everything.’” (Ross McGuinness, Metro, 13 March 2008, p.9). “Miss Lancaster, 20, pleased with them to stop and tried to pull them away, said witnesses to the attack...Mr Maltby was seriously injured and cannot remember the attack.” (ibid, p.9). Rob, an art student who has been described as having an ‘unusual appearance coupled by a warm friendliness,’ says they ought to have left the park earlier to avoid any trouble. He also says he ‘wishes they’d left him there to die.’ He had been targeted by other violent youths four times previously so he was used to a small-town mentality.
From the BBC: “Two teenage boys have been jailed for life. Sophie Lancaster was kicked and stamped to death by Brendan Harris, 15, and Ryan Herbert, 16, in Stubbylee Park in Bacup, Lancashire, last summer...Judge Anthony Russell QC described the attack as ‘feral thuggery’ which raised serious questions about the ‘sort of society which exists in this country.’ He added: "This was a terrible case which has shocked and outraged all who have heard about it. ‘At least wild animals, when they hunt in packs, have a legitimate reason for so doing, to obtain food. You have none and your behaviour on that night degrades humanity itself.’
From police statements: ‘To inflict such extreme injuries using brute force, with no weapons involved, on two innocent individuals was shocking. It is often possible to pinpoint something that sparks acts of violence but nothing happened to spark off the violence in ths case. The youths simply attacked two innocent people because they were different. They showed no remorse and the degree of rejoicing afterwards - walking away, whooping and celebrating - is shocking by anyone’s standards. They walked away laughing, boasting, offering a phone that had been taken from Robert Maltby in the course of the incident and there seemed to be no remorse even when the seriousness of what they had done must have been apparent to them.’
We are a nation whose inhabitants need to stop following the materialist bandwagon and start fixing our individual purpose and intention. People settle for mediocrity through fear, ignorance and lethargy. Yes, it provides wonderful opportunities for those among us who are selfish, aggressive and greedy...or even those who remain dull, resigned and obedient to the end. The paradox of human society is that, although indulging our bestial and individualistic desires can turn us into wild beasts, when we deepen our identity, will and passion we find, ultimately, that exploring our highest potential is rewarding both for ourselves and society. I believe, with awareness increasing rapidly owing to the widespread circulation of ideas and information through books and the internet (rather than television and newspapers), that it is only a matter of time before humanity as a whole arrives at this conclusion. So, we English really need to let go of our fears. Individual identity does not have to sprout from national pride. It is nothing more than a choice.