Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The State of the Nation

It's probably more detail than you need, but when I am grinding out the virtual miles up the virtual hills in Virgin of a lunchtime, I plug earphones into the exercise bike and watch the built in TV.

This explains how when I started cursing footage on the news of a smirking scumbag swaggering free from court even though he had punched a 96-year-old war veteran in the face leaving him blind in one eye, my voice was rather louder than intended and I got some strange looks from people who imagined I was psyching myself up.

From The Telegraph today:

Stephen Gordon, 44, was captured on CCTV launching a savage, unprovoked attack on defenceless Shah Chaudhury after they bumped into each other on a crowded tram in south London.
Other afternoon passengers, including children, looked on in horror as Gordon called Mr Chaudhury a "b******" and lashed out at the great-grandfather with his clenched right fist.

It's obvious to me that he should be punished for that attack. I am far less interested in jaded sophistry about whether or not banging him up is in the best interests of the public.

Judge Kenneth Macrae told the court.
“That said it would do nothing to protect the public in the future and my real concern is the public. It seems to me that the best way of ensuring that he is not a risk, is in relying on various support from psychiatrists and probation officers.”

Thanks 'n all Judge, we can all sleep sounder in our beds.

Here's a small detail, insignificant from some viewpoints I suppose, that seems to me to illustrate how degraded we have become as a civic society:

In a statement to Croydon Crown Court Mr Chaudhury, a British citizen, said he had been standing in the aisle of the tram because nobody would give up their seat for him.
He was gripping a rail with both hands to steady himself when Gordon tried to squeeze by under his arms.

I'm ashamed to live in a country where one offers a seat on a busy tram to a frail nonagenarian. In Edmund Burke's words:
Manners are of more importance than laws. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in.

There is a sliver of hope for us though, two school children who were on the tram chased Gordon and later gave evidence against him.
So shines a good deed in a weary world.
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