Friday, 17 August 2007

Letter to The Times re violence in society

The Editor,
The Times

16 August 2007

Dear Sir,

It is my view that the recent callous murders of upstanding citizens Garry Newlove and Evren Anil who stood up to anti-social youths indicate the almost complete failure of civilised society to enforce its will over a minority of criminals. One can only assume that those who perpetrated these and other murders had absolutely no compunction in using extreme, lethal violence. They were not deterred by the law or by the police and were obviously impervious to the moral outrage of ordinary law-abiding citizenry.

Clearly much more needs to be done on the 'causes of crime' side: improving the provision of youth facilities, increasing educational opportunities; tackling the availability of alcohol among the young. However, it is also imperative that the Government leads a national campaign against the use of physical violence within our society. This must be robust, thoughtful and radical. It will require the police, the courts, schools, social services and families to tackle, head on, violent behaviour among the young. Society as a whole and young people particularly, must know that the threat or use of any form of violence will be punished severely. Perhaps then violent tendancies will be dealt with at an early stage, before such behaviour results in the murder of innocent people. Perhaps then, people will be deterred from using violence as if they were a rampaging character in a computer game.

Yours faithfully,

John Slinger

Letter to The Times on 'terrorism.'

The Editor
The Times


17 August 2007

Dear Sir,

I note that The Times does not use the words ‘terrorists’, or ‘terrorism’ in its coverage of the slaughter of up to 500 Yazidi civilians in Northern Iraq. Instead, your report (August 16, 2007, Al-Qaeda bombing kills and maims 600) refers to ‘suicide truck bombers’ and ‘bombings.’. It seems that the media, sadly including your newspaper, is reluctant call a spade a spade. This is disrespectful to the victims, gives subtle cover to the terrorists and is an inaccurate use of language. The people who carried out this atrocity were clearly ‘using violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims’. This quotation is the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of a terrorist. Therefore, it would be correct to refer to the attacks as acts terrorism, and those who carried them out as terrorists, rather than the anodyne definition you choose.

Yours faithfully,

John Slinger