Friday, 19 April 2013

Sweet and Tender Hooligans

Something that has annoyed me a lot lately is the ongoing googlyness that certain people are reduced to when faced with a sociopath, hooligan or just a brat who shows some human sensitivity.

Throughout history we have had bad guys. The Roman Empire had Julius Caesar. There was Genghis Khan. Then Adolf Hitler centuries later and Osama Bin Laden. Problem is that human beings like to be able to categorise their monsters and do not like to think of evil people as capable of being in any way “fluffy”.

An example would be when you realise that Hitler had a wife and a pet dog. My God!!! The Fuhrer had a woof woof and a significant other? Then you see that despite Julius Caesar’s various unpleasant behaviour throughout his career as a soldier, politician and later Emperor; it is recorded that he was heartbroken when he realised Brutus was involved in his assassination and at that point stopped fighting, sat still and let them kill him.

The recent TV show SPARTACUS had season 4 (or season 3.5 if you're a SPARTACUS geek) with a young Julius Caesar and a borderline psychotic Marcus Crassus. However both had sympathetic qualities. Caesar had compassion and bravery. Crassus was tender hearted and tried to be a good father. However they were also grade A bastards with Caesar gleefully crucifying captured prisoners personally, and Crassus firing flaming ballistas upon his own men...because it was strategically logical as a lot of the slave army were also in the line of fire


The way that twats the world over attempt to deal with this jarring juxtaposition of good vs evil is to say something like “ah, but he was only putting that on to pretend”.

We like our villains like our burgers. Predictable. So it’s easier to believe that Osama Bin Laden only had SO MANY children simply to preserve his evil bloodline. Similarly the average Chav who says to the judge prior to sentencing for murder by knife attack “I am so sorry for what I did”…is probably fibbing just to get sympathy and a lesser sentence.

No one likes to believe that people we metaphorically spit on from a great, moral height could EVER attain or be born with emotions and feelings that we ourselves consider worthy. If you read the awesome Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris, the character of Lecter is so frightening because he DOES have sympathetic traits. He is intelligent (terrifyingly so), charismatic, hates “discourtesy”, keeps his word and is socially delightful amongst many other positive qualities. Everyone’s worst nightmare. A serial killer and cannibal who is not superficially charming to hide his monstrous side BUT is genuinely like that BUT happens to like killing people and eating them.

We all see Jimmy Saville’s actions on Jim’ll Fix It and Top of the Pops with different eyes now. He looked like a nonce anyway, but retrospective viewings show him as a dirty old ephebophile who was only being nice to kids to find young teenage girls to ravish with his sweaty hands. Another way of looking at it was that maybe he genuinely DID like kids, but also happened to like shagging underage girls. It’s an argument that pisses a lot of people off as they prefer to simply see him as 100% evil and won’t debate the issue.

The ridiculous rules around racism in the UK are now tailor made to turn anyone caught using the N Word or the P Word into swastika-adorned thugs of the highest new order. Doesn’t matter if you meant it as a joke or if you burn crosses and wear pointy white hoods. You are a monster for ONE racist remark, regardless of how you may have meant what you said.

A trick tried by defence lawyers and barristers in the UK is to say prior to sentencing that their client is “very sorry”. They may also get the guilty one to stand up and say that he/ she is “very sorry” and that they “deeply regret” beating that old man into a coma for his pension money. They might add that their girlfriend Sharon is expecting another baby and that they are starting a new job on Monday. Most of the time this is undiluted pigswill BUT there might just occasionally be someone who does regret what they did.

Simon Harwood was a police officer. He made the mistake in a riot, of pushing obstructive, petulant, drunken idiot Ian Tomlinson too hard to make him move out of the way. Tomlinson died 20 minutes later and Harwood’s career was over the next day. He spent over a year waiting for trial and when it finally came he stated in court in tears that he would never have gone near Tomlinson had he known that the man was ill and in generally bad physical shape. He was acquitted of manslaughter (and rightly so) but still lost his job as the Metropolitan Police care more for public opinion than looking after their officers. Very few people felt sorry for him though. They simply demonised him for things such as not having his Police number visible when he was filmed pushing Tomlinson (deemed deliberate so he couldn’t be identified), that his face was covered (same reason) and that he had previous history for violent behaviour (NONE of which had been proved). It was beyond most people’s intelligence to step back and say “hey, maybe the guy IS sorry for pushing Tomlinson and is possibly heartbroken that the guy died. The push was borne of frustration and was not meant to end a man’s life”. But…predicatably…it’s easier to simply see the guy as mindless thug than any of those things.

We need to realise that hooligans and thugs and killers and rapists have normal lives and that this in not some staggeringly unique fluke. The movie and book The Godfather were meant to show the horrors of the Italian Mafia in America. Unfortunately because of the expensive clothes, nice houses and the positive emotions on display by the gangsters (such as loyalty, friendship and love) the majority of people thought “these gangsters are different. It’s the others that suck. These are gentlemen who just happen to kill people”. This was shown decades later in the wonderful Sopranos TV show where Tony Soprano would kill a traitor with his bare hands (who was crying and pleading for his life) and then go to pick his daughter up from college, who he loved very much. Sympathetic qualities in monsters have always been something that intrigues humankind.

At the end of the day we need to realise this very simple statement.

He might be sorry. He might read Shakespeare sonnets. He might love his mum. He might give money to charity. He might, after all, be a really nice guy…BUT he killed/ robbed/ hurt someone deliberately. That means he’s a shitbag and has to pay for it.

We ALL have sympathetic qualities. Monsters only exist in the minds of small children and the mentally ill. It’s erring from them that means you need to be punished.

Having them is NOT mitigation for being a cunt.


  1. Very thoughtful piece.

    It reminded me of the controversy, a few years back, and speaking of Hitler, over the movie "Downfall" ('Der Untergang'). Some American critics were upset that Bruno Ganz (the German/Swiss actor who played the part of Hitler) gave a performance that was so in-depth and powerful that he humanized Hitler to the point that the audience, seeing his humanity, might feel sorry for him.

    History demands monsters.

  2. Lance, you will know we differ very much on this matter. The police are to be respected and yes, officers are only human and make mistakes yet Harwood was caught using excessive force at other times on camera as well. Harwood lacked good judgement in his dealings that day. Police officers should always try to use good judgement at all times even if they are wrong. I didn't see any other colleague of Harwoods feel the need to push Tomlinson out the way.

    The other thing that bothers me Lance, is I do not think you knew Tomlinson personally. Therefore to keep on insinuating that he was irrelevant to society is not your call. I am sure you are aware that addicts or such usually become so because of situations in life and not about choice.

    Although there is possibility that Harwood was not responsible for the death of Tomlinson, he has hardly got clean hands has he? The right decision has been made.


    1. Actually you see another officer push Tomlinson (slightly off camera) just before Harwood does. It was no more forceful than kids playing Army in the playground. I never said he was irrelevant to society. Just that he was a fat, piss taking, drunken arse who was trying to get that reaction all along.

  3. Lance.

    As much as I love you, I sometimes despair at your attitude.

    Maybe an officer did push Tomlinson, I never saw or knew that. What I will say is Tomlinson was walking away and I don't know how you came to the conclusion he wanted to be pushed hitting his head on the floor? He asked to die? Is that what you are saying? Knowing he was an ill man, he asked for assault? If he asked for assault, surely he would have assaulted a cop in the first place? Kids playing army in a playground do not cause people to lose their lives. Besides,kids are not police officers. Police officers are there to uphold the law and to be trusted by the public.

    And yes, I know you have had your fair share of arseholes bothering you, but this just doesn't cut the mustard I'm afraid. Harwood was wrong. The right decision has been made and Harwood is lucky he never got a sentence.


  4. I don't agree with you Feral however for once your point of view has actually been put across quite well!

    My two cents are this ... Tomlinson was an annoying drunken knob who had been seen at various Police lines that day persistantly goading officers. He'd been giving them verbal all day and had been as awkward as possible. Harwood has lost his cool and has shoved him away. He's that pissed he's fallen and banged his head. That fall alone did not cause Tomlinson to die. Tomlinson was a drunk who was in poor health living in a shithole flat supported by the state (me and the likes of myself who work and pay tazes) ... so to say Harwood caused his death is not exactly correct really ..... Harwood was unlucky. If that drunk fister had gotten up and walked away only to fall over a few days later and died none of this would matter. Tomlinson was thrown to the Wolves by the Met as its leaders, much like the leaders of my force as cowards catering to the government and public opinion before anyting else ....
    I can understand Harwood losing his job but being charged with manslaughter no f**king way .... that was completely politically motivated and everyone knows it.

    1. apologies for the bad grammer .... I'vejust got back off lates and are knackered and not quite with it!

    2. Three out of four doctors said the push killed Thomlinson. The fourth was struck off for gross incompetence and an I quest jury found that Harwood had unlawfully killed Thomlinson. That's not politics that's evidence.

    3. 8 out of 10 owners (who expressed a preference) said their cats preferred it.

  5. Well, you have your view and I have mine. We will just have to agree to disagree. Although I will point out that I said that there was a possibility that Harwood was not responsible fot the death and also it still surprises me that officers still seem to think they will never come across drunks or criminals in their career and should always use good judgement in dealing with them. When you take on a job to boost your ego rather than doing it for selfless reasons, you are in the wrong job.


  6. Who are you saying joined the job to boost his ego? Harwood I take it?? What brings you to this conclusion then ... wheres your evidence for that statement? I hope you have more than 'a shove' to substantiate that claim ...

  7. The day cops are given training to G level in Krav Maga; are taught extensively how to deal with the psychological effects of mental and physical trauma and are given the appropriate equipment and training for public order situations...THEN I'll regard shoving a fat bloke as excessive force.

  8. Lance,

    This is the last time I will comment on here.

    'Shoving a fat bloke'.

    The bloke is dead. There appears to be no compassion from you even though Harwood claimed 'if he knew'.....

    The right decision was made about Harwood and I regard him as very lucky it didn't go further.

    Good luck.


  9. It did go further.He was charged with manslaughter and 12 independent people heard ALL the ,not just edited soundbites.They found him not guilty.
    He was then summonsed to a misconduct hearing with the press waiting with sharpened knives and senior officers falling over themselves to be the most outraged.He walked in and threw his warrant card on the table and walked out.I would have loved to have seen everyone's face.
    PS Feral "This is the last time I will comment on here"-no it won't be.


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