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The police have a woman problem The Sarah Everard vigil could have been a moment to show solidarity and promise reform

The Clapham vigil could have been a moment for police to show solidarity with women (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The Clapham vigil could have been a moment for police to show solidarity with women (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)


March 15, 2021   4 mins

It would have been a peaceful vigil. Women laid flowers for Sarah Everard, lit candles, held placards: “She was walking home,” read one. “We will not stop until women are safe,” another said. The Duchess of Cambridge was there, quietly adding a bouquet to the tributes. It would have been a peaceful vigil, and then it wasn’t anymore. Now the defining image of the protest on Clapham Common isn’t the flowers or the candles or the placards. It’s of a young woman, pinned to the ground by male police officers, eyes wide over her mask.

It is hard to imagine how this could look worse. The man charged with abducting and murdering Everard is a serving police officer; and the Independent Office for Police Conduct is now investigating the Met over its handling of various matters relating to the case. All week we women had been asking ourselves why we don’t feel safe in public spaces, why we so rarely report assaults to the police and why we get so little justice when we do.

Here, in one picture, was the bleakest possible answer: women don’t feel safe because the police are against us, just as they were against the vigil even taking place. Earlier on Saturday, the organisers of Reclaim These Streets had formally cancelled the gathering, saying that the Met “would not engage with our suggestions to help ensure that a legal, Covid-secure vigil could take place”. A representative of the police said: “We take no joy in this event being cancelled, but it is the right thing to do given the real and present threat of Covid-19.”

But the “real and present threat of Covid-19” had not seemed to apply to last summer’s Black Lives Matter rallies, which were policed with an admirably light touch (so light that in Bristol, protesters were able to topple the hated statue of slaver Edward Colston and chuck it in the harbour while the police looked on). And a week ago, in Glasgow, police seemed to take a much less aggressive approach to Rangers fans, who packed their bodies into a heaving mass of virus-sharing celebration.

We know that outside events are low-risk for Covid transmission. So an outside event where women quietly mourned together at a safe two-metre distance from each other is not a plausible superspreader event. Put these things together, and there’s an ugly undertone that when male-dominated crowds occupy public spaces, they’re exercising an essential human right; but when women do it, they do not.

This suspicion only grows when you consider the immediate police reactions to Everard’s disappearance, which included telling women in Clapham to “be careful going out alone”, an echo of the advice given in Yorkshire when the police were failing to capture Peter Sutcliffe. Women were outraged then, just as they are today: why should their freedom be curtailed because of a violent man’s actions?

Sure, it’s appropriate to urge vigilance when an active offender is on the loose; but it would also be appropriate to warn men that those acting suspiciously in the area will be challenged by police. This would send a message to perpetrators that they’re being watched, and another to women that they’re being protected. Somehow, though, that never seems to happen, because only women’s presence in public spaces is conditional.

This effectively means that men commit crimes, and women get policed for them. And look at who women are policed by. Less than a third of officers are female — and notwithstanding that the Met currently has a female commissioner in Cressida Dick, the police have a track record of appalling failures when it comes to serving women.

Look at the Rotherham care scandal, where men were permitted to carry on exploiting the most vulnerable girls by police who dismissed the abuse, disgustingly, as “p*** shagging” (so much for the pretence that their inaction was down to fear of “inflaming racial tensions”). Look at John Worboys, free to continue raping women because police ignored his victims’s testimony. One woman recalled police laughing when she described her injuries. Look at the collapse in convictions for rape, which Harriet Wistrich of the Centre for Women’s Justice has described as “sending out a message that rape is decriminalised, virtually”.

The Clapham vigil could have been a moment for police to show solidarity with women, to make a public commitment to deep reform. Had the Met cooperated with Reclaim These Streets in the first place, we might now be seeing pictures of officers standing alongside the protesters in a moment of communal grief. But the Met didn’t do that. Instead of helping to organise a safe and peaceful demonstration, it created a vacuum into which the reckless and vicious could rush.

Anti-lockdown speakers hijacked the stage, showing their typical sensitivity to the value of human life by making a dead woman into the vehicle for their idiocy. The anti-austerity organisation Sisters Uncut promoted itself to a leadership role in the protests — as though a group that previously defended Tara Wolf, a transgender woman convicted of assaulting a 60-year-old woman, has any moral authority on the issue of male violence against women. Now they can point to the actions on Clapham Common and make statements such: “Police are perpetrators of individual and state violence against women”.

The police’s own failures have made it easy for the hard Left to luxuriate in the pretend feminism of anti-law-and-order. But only people with no real fear of becoming victims can afford to treat “abolishing the prison industrial complex” as a serious political ambition. The police, courts and penal system all let women down disastrously; but “abolishing” those things isn’t going to make women safer. Women have a right to policing that treats us fairly and protects our freedoms and interests.

Before Saturday, the police had a heavy burden to convince women that the service could be part of the solution to men’s violence against women. After Saturday, the burden is a boulder. It’s hard to see what, exactly, can fix such a toxic situation — though if I were Cressida Dick, I might start by begging feminist legal groups (such as the Centre for Women’s Justice) for root-to-branch recommendations on making policing work for women. Every woman who becomes a victim of men’s violence deserves justice under the law; the police’s manifest errors can’t be a reason to let that slip away, least of all for Sarah Everard and the people who love her.


Sarah Ditum is a columnist, critic and feature writer.

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Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago

If there were eyewitness reports of a black man being a stalker/ killer, I wonder if the author think it would “be appropriate to warn [black] men that those acting suspiciously in the area will be challenged by police.” I sincerely hope she would not.

Should suspicious men be challenged? Absolutely. I think police should have very broad latitude to follow their instincts; those instincts are honed by years of experience in spotting dirtbags before the rest of us. We are foolish to hamstring them with woke policies that make us all less safe. But “challenging” 50% of the population is is a waste of police resources.

“Women are being policed” for mens’ bad behavior? No. Women are being told to be careful. Because women are being targeted. If someone was targeting people in wheelchairs, it would make sense to warn the disabled to be extra careful. Same if men were being targeted. Or Labour supporters. Or barristers. Again, let’s not let woke aphorisms distort reality.

No one is curtailing your freedom; you’re free to walk down as many dark alleys as you like. But if bad things happen in that dark alley, it’s not the fault of the police officer who “didn’t protect you.” Telling women to be careful isn’t “policing their behavior”, it’s encouraging them to be cognizant of the risks of the real world.

Last edited 3 years ago by Brian Villanueva
John Lewis
John Lewis
3 years ago

Rent a mob show up anywhere they can cause trouble but how many of the “genuine grieving women wishing to show solidarity” would have done so for a vigil in memory of all the young women abused, raped and even murdered in Northern towns? (Not that I can recall any taking place which rather proves the point).

The answer is pretty much none of them. This was mainly about the perpetrators with an unhealthy dose of “it’s important because she was like me” thrown in.

Edit. Sorry this was meant to be a general comment, not a specific reply to Brian.

Last edited 3 years ago by John Lewis
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  John Lewis

I agree. The only people protesting about the systematic rape and torture of working class girls in the north were called ‘far right’. Disgusting double standards and to em shows the truly despicable nature of woke activists.

Chris Davidge
Chris Davidge
3 years ago

I wonder why barristers would be targeted? Lol.

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Davidge

It’s in Shakespeare: “First let’s kill all the lawyers.” No-one asked _him_ why.

Elizabeth Agarwal
Elizabeth Agarwal
3 years ago

I am sorry to hear that.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
3 years ago

Although I am white, several years ago when I was a teenager I was regularly getting stopped by police on my way back home from my friends house. It is shameful if they now only target black people like yourself.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

It’s a shame Sarah Everard could not defend herself with a firearm. She might be alive today had she had that right.
As it is, her attacker could be assured that she was not armed.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Legal firearms are not the problem. It’s the illegal ones and you already have an illegal firearm problem in the UK. A rapidly rising one, in fact. Disarming the people who don’t cause gun crime seems to penalize only law abiding people like Sarah.
And then, of course there are always knives but I doubt Sarah would have been saved by carrying a knife.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
3 years ago

thanks but seeing the stats we are just better off without guns! Your system has failed if you can’t walk the streets safely! – the answer is not to arm the population but to fix the underlying problem.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

You’re not without guns, you’re just without legal guns. As Sarah Everard’s case indicates, you can’t walk the streets safely. Had she been able to defend herself, she’d likely be alive today. Preventing women like Everard from defending themselves because someone else may commit a crime with an illegal gun doesn’t make much sense. The underlying problem is murder. Making a lot of progress fixing it, are you?
I would not suggest arming the population although it seems to work in Switzerland.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

This case IS a fact. Not to mention the fact that probably wouldn’t make either Sarah Everard’s family or many posters here agree with you.
How many people killed in knife attacks could be alive today had they had the right to self defense?

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Sarah is a fact. An inconvenient one, maybe, but a fact nonetheless.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Exceptions are facts. If people could walk the streets safely, Sarah would be alive.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago

Excellently argued throughout.

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago

I want to be able to defend myself. I am pro legal guns. Those who advocate against guns need to think through the whole story because they are stuck in the “guns are bad” narrative.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago

A fact, yes, but not a statistic.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago

‘The underlying problem is murder. Making a lot of progress fixing it, are you?’

Actually, yes we are.

Crime in the UK has generally been falling.

We’re not particularly keen on wide public ownership of guns in the UK.

We’re not even keen on the police having them, at least not routinely.

We tend to see them as the problem itself, not the solution to the very problem they too often create.

For example, on a very quick look on the internet: Murders with firearm per million population: UK 0.236 vs USA 32.57 (138 times more).

So guns would make us safer in the UK how exactly?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

Would Sarah Everard have been safer had she been able to defend herself?

Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall
3 years ago

No. In this particular case she was – allegedly – dealing with a rogue diplomatic protection officer who would be trained to disarm and incapacitate an armed and dangerous male assassin at close quarters. Short of holding a cocked & loaded pistol at the ready and spinning around on the pavement like a gun fighter in a saloon bar shoot out, you’re not going to see and hit/deter a potential assailant in the street. Even for a pepper spray the same logic holds true. Walking in pairs is a better strategy imo. Or cycling/driving.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Hall

Well, we will never know, will we, since Sarah didn’t have any self defense. In any case, there are certainly people who have used firearms to defend their lives. A recent case in the US was an 86 year old woman who would definitely have been as dead as Sarah had she not had a firearm.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Hall

I think you overrate the lethality of ‘PC ‘Blobby. He can’t even kill himself it seems.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Hall

Nobody has actually said this was a random killing. Right at the start of this being reported I read something which made me think it was not random.

Josie Bowen
Josie Bowen
3 years ago

Who knows what would have happened had she been armed? It’s a moot point.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Josie Bowen

Had she been armed she might have stood a chance. As it is she was a sitting duck. Hardly moot in my view.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

Please give it a rest. Have you never heard the saying “if you live by the sword you die by the sword”
You are advocating a gunfight would be a good idea.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

And if you don’t have a “sword” we find your body the next day.
Had Sarah had a “sword” she might be alive today. Let’s not pretend otherwise.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
3 years ago

As you can see the ratio of people walking about on the street safely and without problem far exceeds.
gun crime is a problem (a real problem – not “might be” a problem)

Last edited 3 years ago by Natalija Svobodné
Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago
Reply to  Josie Bowen

No, is not! I think Brits were taught to be submissive, this is why there are so many crimes and so many innocent people die.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Sirb

Unlikely! unlike the rest of europe only royalty they approved of stayed in power. They fought to get all the rights taken for granted! Brits are not submissive at all!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

Up until about 1964 you didn’t need a licence for a shot gun in the UK.
In fact if needed one quickly you could hire one from Moss Bros, in Covent Garden.
Was the country devastated by people loosing off sawn off shotguns at each other?
No, off course not, even though we had also sadly, just given up hanging as well.

Last edited 3 years ago by Charles Stanhope
Kathleen Stern
Kathleen Stern
2 years ago

In Britain only the criminals and selected police have guns.

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

You are not keen on arms in UK because you don’t believe in freedom. This is why thousands of girls were raped by “Asian gangs” and British men are hiding somewhere.
I stand with Ben Shapiro who said that Many Jews were exterminated during WWII because they could not defend themselves. I believe that law abiding citizens should have the right to own guns!
Never trust the govern to the extent that you disarm yourselves!

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago

Well, here is a little statistic that the media won’t tell you. The single highest gun ownership per head of population in the world, is Alaska, and yet they’ve had no mass shootings, and a low murder rate from guns..

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Yes, I find that to illuminate the issue in a nutshell. Alaska also has an exceptionally low illegal gun ownership rate. Some have problems understanding who is committing gun crime in the US. It isn’t legal gun owners.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

That’s even better than the Land of William Tell!

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago

In 1979 in Shaffhausen I passed a smart Peugeot saloon and noticed a submachine gun on the rear seat. Isolated lapse by its trained owner, I hope. Between its challenging geography and its lavishly armed militia, Switzerland would be one tough country to occupy.

Harrison Bergeron
Harrison Bergeron
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

How low?

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Interesting, but given Alaska’s sIze in relation to its population density and lack of urbanisation maybe less so.

Also what type of gun ownership are we talking about here in rural Alaska when the vast proportion of gun deaths in the US are attributed to smaller firearms?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

Switzerland is perhaps the best run, and happiest country in the world in my experience.

It should be a beacon for all, including the wretchedly incompetent and woefully conceited UK.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Yes, although enforced arms bearing goes too far for me. I’m satisfied with having the right as it should be a choice.
it would be interesting to see what Switzerland would do with a flood of illegal firearms and a subsequent elevated gun crime rate. Would it disarm the law abiding leaving people like Sarah defenseless like the UK or would it refuse to address illegal gun ownership like the US? A third path could be leave the legally owned gun owners alone and throw the book at anyone caught with an illegal firearm whether in the commission of a crime or not.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

The Swiss would undoubtedly go for your third option.
They are a very pragmatic people and have already had one major gun incident back in 2004 in Zug that left 14 dead.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Yes it’s interesting that they did not respond to Zug by disarming legal gun owners. Very pragmatic indeed!

Harrison Bergeron
Harrison Bergeron
3 years ago

Here in North America ‘already’ and ‘2004’ make a peculiar-sounding pair.
And that’s even for someone in Toronto, called by Peter Ustinov ‘New York run by the Swiss.’
(Back then, 1973 or so, it was 40 homicides a year for 2m people. Last year it was 71 for 3m, mostly gun murders. We’re all scared crapless it will all of a sudden be 200, and more or less expect it.)

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago

You are missing the point!
You are talking about guns owned by criminals. We advocate for guns for law abiding people.
Criminals will always have a way of getting guns, but disarming good citizens is foolish to say the least.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
3 years ago

Switzerland is no panacea of peaceful gun possession, with the highest rates of gun violence in Europe!

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago

The American, Thomas Sowell, who favours gun ownership, has said that burglary increased in the UK when gun licenses were introduced for the simple reason that burglars knew they would not be shot. I haven’t checked the figures, but ownership is one thing, walking around with a gun is another.
I suspect the big factor in this case was the government lockdown rules. She was breaking the rules with the visit and when accused of breaking them she complied with the arrest without putting up a fight. Nobody wants to discuss this. The government killed her.

Tom Jennings
Tom Jennings
3 years ago

Good luck with that. In the early nineties a then elderly Russian women was telling me about the high level of street crime in Moscow. She remembered fondly how one could safely walk the streets at any time of the night when Stalin was in charge. The solution can be worse than the problem

Harrison Bergeron
Harrison Bergeron
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Jennings

I guess it went in a smooth gradient. In Kharkhov in Brezhnev times, you’d carry a screwdriver, according to my acquaintance.

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Jennings

This is a proof for what? That Stalinism was great? Do you realize that Russians are so brainwashed that even now, 50% of them regard genocidal criminal Stalin a good guy that they regret? I hope you don’t want the UK to sink to that level.
Stalin’s track record was tens of millions of deaths.

Tom Jennings
Tom Jennings
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Sirb

Proof that the price of safety may be lost liberty.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago

Annette, you post in so many places that it is hard to keep up with you!

You say: ‘Disarming the people who don’t cause gun crime seems to penalize only law abiding people like Sarah.’

Are you sure? Murders with firearm per million population: UK 0.236 vs USA 32.57 (138 times more).

That’s murders, note, not gun deaths in general.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

Yes, I’m sure. Unless you believe that Sarah Everard could not own a gun without becoming a criminal it’s patently obvious that disarming the people who don’t cause gun crime penalizes law abiding citizens like her.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
3 years ago

Your conflating safety with gun ownership… How about look at american culture of violence (its rape culture, its glorification of gun ownership. You have a violent culture with or without guns – Although violent incidents occur in other western countries, they are not as frequent… what is it about americans and use of violence… 
ï»ż

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
3 years ago

Maybe, but we don’t know what happened. It’s possible the guy used his position as a policeman to abduct her. Was she supposed to gun a policeman down in the street?

Does carrying a firearm around with you genuinely protect you, or does it create a criminal ‘arms race’? The amount of gun deaths in the USA would suggest more guns, legal or otherwise, are not the answer.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

You’re correct, we don’t know all the details. but people have certainly saved their own lives through legal firearm ownership.
Carrying a legally owned firearm, may indeed protect you. An arms race isn’t required when one has the right to bear arms. In my view, it’s highly unlikely that Sarah Everard would immediately commit gun crime were she to have the legal right to self defense with a firearm, which is why legal gun ownership is an important right.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Harrison Bergeron
Harrison Bergeron
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

It’s true that the very most cunning fiend is unstoppable, and could spirit the king’s daughter away from her mother’s funeral with no one noticing, though she carried a pistol. You make a real and depressing point even if it doesn’t cover ordinary situations.

Last edited 3 years ago by Harrison Bergeron
Harrison Bergeron
Harrison Bergeron
3 years ago

Just like expressways with no speed limits, public drinking, and universal suffrage, you can institute it as soon as the people are ready. Otherwise it’s reckless.

jules Ritchie
jules Ritchie
3 years ago

Surely you don’t need a handgun to walk the streets. Look at the stats for murder by a stranger. Very low yet no media states them. We are mostly murdered by people we know.Women could carry tasers, illegal or not. The problem for women will always be that whatever you carry to defend yourself could be taken from you and used against you. Then you’re in an even worse situation.
We have no idea yet how it was that she’d safely crossed the common and was taken on a suburban street at that time of night.
It is always going to be the individual’s responsibility to assess the risks of various actions they take. Until we know more about her abduction and murder we cannot make any judgements. It is impossible for there to be a police officer accompanying each of us wherever we go.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  jules Ritchie

If a handgun can be taken away from you so can a taser. But two points 1) in the US an attacker can never be sure (unless they live somewhere like Chicago where legal gun restrictions are very tight while illegal guns flood the streets) their intended victim isn’t armed so they are always taking a chance. And 2) faced with an armed intended victim, some attackers may decide to choose another victim. These are not judgements they are facts.
In the UK, an attacker can be sure their intended victim does not have a firearm.
I don’t personally need a handgun to walk the streets but then I chose where I live specifically because while legal gun ownership is very high, gun crime is almost non existent (and other reasons, good schools, nice climate, etc) . Maybe the fact that there are many people with legal guns here is not a deterrent to people seeking to commit gun crime with an illegal handgun but if you were an attacker wouldn’t you like to be pretty sure that your victim wasn’t armed?
I’m unwilling to blame Sarah no matter what the circumstances.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
diana_holder
diana_holder
3 years ago

deleted

Last edited 3 years ago by diana_holder
Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

If she was able to carry a gun it’s more than likely her attacker would also have a gun.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

Well, that makes no sense unless you believe that legal gun ownership turns everyone into an attacker. In my view, Sarah would not have suddenly turned into a murderer simply because she owned a gun and her attacker would have been one without a gun. A murderer is a murderer. You’re stuck on ideology.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
3 years ago

“that makes no sense” Actually it makes every sense.! If person A can have a gun So can person B.
ï»ż

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

It is shameful that a real problem – police racism – gets bundled together with imaginary issues like this latest woke diatribe.
In the middle of a pandemic, with standing orders prohibiting group gatherings, a bunch of woke feminists decide that they are above the law and will thus exercise their “right” to gather anyways. Police performs its public-supported duty of enforcing the law, with clear forewarning to disperse or face arrest. The wokes decide to play martyr because they are being “brutalized”. All they manage to achieve is embarrass themselves, as the world witness their pitiful try to twist into peaceful vs violent an issue that is clearly about legal vs illegal.
To compound their moral misery, they add the suggestion that police’s duty to protect females is somehow to be above their duty to protect the rest of the population… So yeah, what about the gender equality? Only when suitable, right? What a sad lot.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
3 years ago
Reply to  Andre Lower

A solid body of evidence finds no structural bias in the U.S. criminal justice system with regard to arrests, prosecution, or sentencing. Crime and suspect behaviour, not race, determine most police actions.https://medium.com/@arkhanguelski/evidence-based-examination-of-systemic-police-bias-in-the-united-states-c2bdce0e1f4c

Harrison Bergeron
Harrison Bergeron
3 years ago

Thanks. I read that with interest.
I buy it for the most part but not entirely. I really don’t think a woman who murders faces the same consequences (intensity of suspicion, thoroughness of investigation, likelihood of arrest, length of sentence) as a man who murders, on average.
Once charged she probably, in my unlearned but slowly considered view, faces an equally energetic prosecution, and occasionally she may be punished just as severely, or (rarely) more severely.
(I have real-life cases in mind, of course, but also a TV show which may somewhat colourfully give an idea of the spirit of the thing which I’m getting at. The wonderful actress Naomi Watts uttered a memorable line in a Netflix show where she played a criminally wicked character: “If I robbed a bank,” she avowed to her interlocutor, having privately in mind her many awful misdeeds, “they’d probably hold the door open for me on the way out.”)
But if such differences exist and a study failed to find them despite the best efforts of the investigators, I’d understand that. It’d be mildly shocking if it were otherwise.
——
If anyone involved in such matters wants to agree or disagree, I’d welcome that. Their views would be worth something; mine are of little value.
——
Dislike it though I may, I’m not bitter about this. The police deal with situations far more trying and immeasurably more urgent than almost all the rest of us. Not to put too fine a point on it, they clean up our stinking garbage for insufficient pay. They are commanded, ordinarily, and so are the courts, by principles distilled over a number of lifetimes, and I am thankful for that.
I concur with the David Bowie who (Stationtostation) enjoined us to “drink to the men who protect you and I / Oh, drink, drink, raise your glass, raise your glass high.”
I likewise agree with Jane Austen and the 18th century that prejudice is on the whole a salutary thing. (By that word they of course meant judgment.) It’s pride that wrecks things more often than what we call judgment.
Pride is the enemy, and it’s what generated this news story.

Last edited 3 years ago by Harrison Bergeron
Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
3 years ago

Women murdering and incarceration rates – I would agree with, they probably don’t get as long! About 90% of all perpetrators are men, and ∌81% of their victims are men. Moreover, 78% of the victims of female offenders are also men the majority of crimes are interpersonal conflict
But if a woman does a crime i’m happy to see her locked up for the same amount of time. Such an individual is dangerous.
the issue you have then is with sentencing but not police!

Last edited 3 years ago by Natalija Svobodné
Harrison Bergeron
Harrison Bergeron
3 years ago
Reply to  Andre Lower

It’s a simple matter of triumphalism. Once a given party has won, they often can’t resist making a show of it.
Triumphalism is a fancy word, mind you: the regular phrase is rubbing their faces in it.
And nothing will ever change this. I mean, not as long as instincts, hormones, and neurotransmitters are still what we’re all about.
Mr. Musk, have you thought of a technological solution to this yet, with your brain plug-ins? Hurry up, will you?

Last edited 3 years ago by Harrison Bergeron
Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

It’s not a race thing; if it were, police would be going around harassing non-white women all the time. Police are overwhelmingly suspicious of young men because young men commit an overwhelming proportion of crime. I guess that’s the cross young men will always have to bear. If I were the parent of a young man I would just counsel him to understand and accept this basic reality, to try to minimize any reason the police might have for targeting him (not dressing like a stereotypical thug, for example, not driving recklessly, not behaving loudly or belligerently in public, not being drunk or high in public, etc.) and to go along with whatever over-vigilant nonsense the police might subject him to no matter how unjustified he thinks it is, to not argue or resist. You can always sue them later, but if they shoot you dead or bash your skull in, there’s no recourse.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

I live in Canada and all our police – urban, regional/provincial, and the RCMP – have always had guns. It’s just an accepted reality like in the US, so it’s hard sometimes to understand Europeans who are so nervous at the thought of their police forces being armed. In both countries, there’s always been a lot of firearms and a very high rate of firearm ownership (people are often surprised to learn that about Canada, but in rural and small-town Canada, almost everyone has always had shotguns and rifles, not just for hunting but for protecting oneself and livestock from wildlife), so it would have made no sense to forbid police forces to be armed. It would have just made them sitting ducks.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Good point. I cannot understand people who actively want people like Sarah Everard to have no means of defense of her own life.

Steve Craddock
Steve Craddock
3 years ago

I think the UK and European peoples were disarmed generally many hundreds of years ago to enable the easy oppression and slavery of the people by the feudal nobels and monarchys.
The US founding fathers in their, I believe, wisdom decided that the enforced helplessness of the common people was not going to be a thing for their new republic.
To avoid the eternal problem of the physically strong ruling over the weaker members in a society there are only 2 possible solutions I can see 1) many more police patrols 2) allow people to better defend themselves.
The only reason that neither of these things are being done is our rulers and the wealthy don’t care as they have acces to personnel security and because the original reason for disarming the population is still valid today.

Last edited 3 years ago by Steve Craddock
Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
3 years ago

Your conflating the situation. Defense is not certain! The gun can be used against her. Leaving her in a worse scenario. remembering she was up against a trained individual. The gun was not an asset.

Dorothy Slater
Dorothy Slater
3 years ago

I have no horse in this race as an American. However, I did have an experience some years ago which perhaps one must be a woman to understand completely.

I was at an all women’s retreat held in the Michigan woods, sleeping in tents and enjoying nature. Some of us ventured out at midnight to look at the stars and one said, can you imagine doing this anywhere else without looking over your shoulder?
As a city girl, I had not even realized that I was always unconsciously aware of that as I walked in even the safest areas. To be “safe” you had to have your street smarts on alert everywhere you went otherwise the question was, why were you walking in Central Park at all. I offer this only as an example of what life is like for a lot of us.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Dorothy Slater

As a NYC native myself, I completely see your point. I spent a lot of time in Central Park although never at night. Of course today, it doesn’t have to be night for there to be a problem. While I was never bothered in NYC I did have an unpleasant experience in Italy once, in a very public place, no less.
And while I miss NYC and so so many things about it, I am very happy to live in a low crime place now. It took me years to stop frantically locking everything up.

Bertie B
Bertie B
3 years ago
Reply to  Dorothy Slater

The preception that the requirment to “have your street smarts on alert” to be safe only applies to women is false. I hope when you were in the woods you had your nature smarts on alert. Despite what the modern world would like to believe no-one is ever 100% safe anywhere, its not possible. Realising that you aren’t and taking appropriate precautions is the only sensible course of action.
That isn’t to say I’m not cognisent of the additional dangers and harasment women face.

J D
J D
3 years ago
Reply to  Bertie B

The reality is that men are in far more danger than women, as statistically we are more than twice as likely to be attacked. Anecdotally, nearly every man I know has been attacked by a drunken stranger at least once, where as hardly any women have. Feminists think we stroll down the street at night carefree, when in reality I had to develop street awareness from being about seven years old.

Karen Lindquist
Karen Lindquist
3 years ago
Reply to  J D

Please. Every woman i know has been attacked while out in the world just living her life. Usually it’s because we refused the advances of some idiot.
I wish more women carried a weapon that could take an eye. That we’d men would be marked for their behavior.

John Paul
John Paul
3 years ago

“Please” what?! How the hell’s your comment in any way relevant to JD’s objectively correct and balanced post? In keeping with the theme of balance, I’ve known a fair few women down the years but none I’ve got to know at least reasonably well have ever been attacked – at least as far as I’m aware, and this has been sufficiently well that I’m sure it would have come up.
As the overwhelming majority of men will never rape and – I’m sure – find it abhorrent, increasing not decreasing the number of them on the streets at night would in all likelihood reduce the incidence of this vile crime. I’d explain why but wouldn’t want to lay myself open to accusations of ‘mansplaining’ or whatever the stupid term is.

Karen Lindquist
Karen Lindquist
3 years ago
Reply to  Dorothy Slater

I’ve been shot at by violent men in exactly one place on this planet: my own home state of Michigan, in the northern most woods on the shore of Lake Superior.
I was camping with my husband. The men were redneck thugs. We were terrified and my husband told me I could run through the woods faster than he could drive the trail so it might come to that.
The reason: men love violence.
It is not safe anywhere.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago

‘The reason: men love violence.’

Including your husband?

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago

I do not know the statistics for the USA, but in the UK most women are murdered by somebody they know. Only 6% are murdered on the streets. Facts matter and not unsupported and offensive opinions.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  Dorothy Slater

Including men!

Brian Hurst
Brian Hurst
3 years ago

No one should fell threatened because of their colour, choice clothing etc its just not acceptable in this day and age, ‘no name’ says get used to it and he sounds scared, I say change the institutionalised police ideas and misunderstandings. If ever there was a case to allow a vigil this was it and now it will be remembered as a riot on the common which is so wrong. This was a gathering of women to show solidarity and respect for this young lady murdered in cold blood and maybe wonder if this might happen to them one day. We the male population need to stand by our wives, sisters, daughters, friends and the lady in the street and ensure that if we hear or see anyone threatening a women we step in to assist not take over just support. The police need to show a little more understanding and it could change our perception of them, women are entitled to feel protected by the police and supported by the rest of us and the same goes for any non white person as well.

Reed Howe
Reed Howe
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Hurst

This was a bunch of lawbreakers showing that they felt entitled enough to play havoc with society AND the law if they were angry enough. The same applies to Black Lives Matter, muslim groups, far-right groups.
The “right to protest in public” should be removed and protests should only be allowed on private property, in agreement with the owners, and causing no additional inconvenience to others going about their lawful business.
And those who point out that some changes were only achieved by protests need to remember that mobs can also rule by “peaceful protest”.

Harrison Bergeron
Harrison Bergeron
3 years ago
Reply to  Reed Howe

There are four imaginable types of people. They say, respectively:
‘I will restrain myself, and others must too.’
‘I will restrain myself, but others needn’t’
‘I won’t restrain myself, but others must’
‘I won’t restrain myself, and others needn’t.’
Three of those kinds, there’s some good in them. Only the third kind is no good.

Last edited 3 years ago by Harrison Bergeron
Colin Colquhoun
Colin Colquhoun
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Hurst

that everyone in the majority should bend society so that the minority doesn’t feel like a minority. That is silly, most sensible people can see that, surely?”
It’s probably impossible, certainly complex and many (naive) efforts to achieve it seem to produce practical problems and even some injustice. But I don’t think it’s silly to try. You’re being too nice about it.

Colin Colquhoun
Colin Colquhoun
3 years ago

Yes that is silly. I am a US government scientist and I think race and gender are poor qualities on which to base promotions for these jobs. But that is happenning in a very overt and conspicuous way. It is true that there has been and still is some unfair descrimination based on those qualities. But it’s complex. It might be the case, for example, that very smart black applicants prefer careers that pay more and simply aren’t available to be government scientists. I think that is, in fact, the truth. When you look at some of those new hires, they haven’t published nearly enough.
On the other hand, I am a white man and so far I have not lost out. Moreover, probably more awareness is a good thing. It’s a just a shame people always have to push an idea to absurdity. The reason of course is that the individual people implementing these changes in policy derive personal power from them.

Last edited 3 years ago by Colin Colquhoun
Harrison Bergeron
Harrison Bergeron
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Hurst

What a rare awareness you’ve attained. If this rightly shows you, you are a complete human being with what I would call complete ethics and a complete mind.
(I’m not one myself, but luckily you don’t have to be one to recognize one.)
In my view you now have the right to do what you can to spread your wholeness outward and impress it on others until they partake of it and emulate it. I might call it a duty if it weren’t an imposition for me to do so.
Good luck in that endeavour if you choose to undertake it. I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t, since I expect it would be thankless work, and it won’t pay.
I wish you the best in any case.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago

Do you think part of then problem is that the Police cannot attract enough high calibre people and those that are, go into the various specialised units? Hearts and Minds has been British military strategy since Malay Conflict started in 1948 which is why so many are taught languages. Stopping people without cause is waste of resources and alienates the honest. When I suggested that a detective working in Bradford might learn Urdu she ws amazed. I suggested 6 months at SOAS or Army School of Languages and 6 months in Pakistan.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago

..and as a white Brit, I completely agree with you. We are all “innocent” until proven otherwise, but we should not be targeted because of colour, race, or suspicion.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
3 years ago

As the article makes clear, to me at least, there is no objection to issuing warnings to women: the problem is when that is where police communication stops. The silence that follows is a, “men, you just carry on as normal,” message. It’s almost as if women have no good reason the be on the streets, while men are, understandably, on the streets to go to work and, in happier times, to the pub or to a football match.

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
3 years ago

I’m white, but have been stopped on several occasions when I matched a description of a perp and was unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In my area of Canada, immigrants and “people of colour” are generally university profs, engineers, and doctors. The typical perp is white, skinny, with bad teeth from his drug habit so the police preferentially stop white males. Sadly, in other areas of Canada, crime is very much more rampant in “communities of colour” (I don’t know the best terminology now, thus the quotes). So POC are the ones who get stopped. I feel their pain, but police can’t go around stopping random little old ladies to make tings “fair and equitable”. It’s a waste of limited resources.

Harrison Bergeron
Harrison Bergeron
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Milburn

Thanks.

Last edited 3 years ago by Harrison Bergeron
Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago

I can understand that. I’m a white guy, so it’s a perspective I can’t ever really have. But I get why that would make you nervous, and probably for good reason. Trusting instincts needs to be tempered with understanding when those instincts are likely the result of prejudice and bias.

Nick Wright
Nick Wright
3 years ago

My only question is this: were you there? From footage I saw on the Sky News website, right at the front of the crowd, goading the police, was a group of (white) men, as there had been at the front of Extinction Rebellion and BLM protests. By blindly accepting what we’re being told is to become an accessory to anarchy. How about not making this about you and leaving this poor woman’s family, friends and colleagues to grieve this horrific murder?

Billy Wong
Billy Wong
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wright

You expect Sarah to do research?

Mark Graham
Mark Graham
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wright

I saw the same thing.
So why didn’t they arrest those white men, instead of attacking a 5’2″” woman.
Answer: The men were too much risk to them personally. The woman was not. As I said above, they have become cowards.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Graham

The writer complains that only 1/3 of the police are women! Then says men are a physical threat to women, and does not see the contradiction! I guess she feels a 999 call should ask ‘is the perp a man or woman’ so they know which police to send out, as I can tell you, women are not capable of fighting tough men except in rare cases. Unarmed women on the beat are one big reason the modern police are so useless. They are forced to travel in packs because this, cutting their effectiveness in half. May as well think that a woman on the force has to have another cop along to protect her, and really reduces the effectiveness of the force.

In USA the woman officer is alone, but has her pistol and thus is a very effective cop.

(edited for spelling, I cannot spell and this spelling program see3ms to be temperamental)

Last edited 3 years ago by Galeti Tavas
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

What woman (or man for that matter) would take a job at any amount of money as an unarmed cop in Chicago or Newark?

Nick Wright
Nick Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wright
Last edited 3 years ago by Nick Wright
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago

We are in the middle of a pandemic. Gatherings are banned. The police breaks up an illegal gathering. What do you expect – that the police should help you break the law? Because your political views are so right it puts you above the law?
If football crowds and BLM were treated with ‘light touch’ it was surely because the alternative was serious violence. Understandable, but in hindsight it might have been better to have suppressed BLM with force, to avoid setting the precedent that you are invoking here.

Last edited 3 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
G Matthews
G Matthews
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The police even JOINED IN the BLM protests, so at that point in time they lost all credibility.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

Yes indeed all that “taking a knee” (in English: grovelling) outside Downing St, by Mr Plod & his chums.
How embarrassing can it get?
I don’t think Sgt Dixon of Dock Green would have abased himself in such a manner!

Richard Starkey
Richard Starkey
3 years ago

Took the knee and ran away. Not only an embarrassment but a disgrace.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

And to think the ‘running away’ was within yards of the Cenotaph.

J A Thompson
J A Thompson
3 years ago

Not to mention Kneel Starmer!

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago
Reply to  J A Thompson

When Kneel Starmer’s toe curling photo was published, I was instantly reminded of that brilliant line by the chief baddie in Superman 2. The alien gang bust into the White House and command the President to kneel. An aide kneels to protect the President. The baddie sneers: “You are not the President. No one who commands so many could kneel so quickly”.

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

Yes, I think the police may oppress peaceful women & anti-Covid demos, and tolerate rowdy football fans, for practical/operational reasons, but the kneeling to BLM and also the tolerance for Extinction Rebellion seemed more ideological/political than operational.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The modern view of policing appears to be that the police don’t actually enforce the law. Unless you’re hurting someone’s feefees on Twitter of course.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

So why did Cressida d**k go on a rally at the height of Covid?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

When was that?

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

So this gathering should have been organised to be violent so the police would stand back? H’mm

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Not necessarily violent. The organisers should just have arranged for a ring of Jamaican gentlemen, all down on one knee, to circle the vigil.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

If you had a legal right to peaceful assembly as in the US, it could not be banned. According to SCOTUS, you don’t dispense with civil rights due to a pandemic.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago

Annette would it sastify you if you were to learn that the below represents the right to peaceful assembly and protest in the UK?
‘
there are often compelling reasons to limit the time, place or manner of communication
. I may not give speeches in the middle of the street without a permit, because the free flow of traffic takes priority
 How important is it to speak at this particular time and place and in this particular manner, and how pressing are the countervailing interests of the state? 
. Freedom of expression is certainly not absolute in [this country]’

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

What I am asking about is the actual affirmative law, similar to the first amendment in the US. An affirmative right to assembly. Speech is different from assembly and you may or may not have an affirmative civil right to that enshrined in law. I don’t see the word assembly in your quote which doesn’t appear to be from an actual written law. Is it? Freedom of expression or speech is not the same thing as assembly.
You seem verklempt over my asking this question. It isn’t a challenge I am simply interested in understanding whether there is or is not a right in the UK to peaceful assembly. So far, no one has been able to point to such a law which should be the starting point of the issue. Absent such a right enshrined in law, it’s left to courts and police to make individual determinations. So you have BLM and Extinction rebellion assemblies permitted even during a pandemic while Sarah Everard’s and lockdown assemblies not permitted with the pandemic being the excuse. And this will be the case absent an affirmative right.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago

Annette, if it’s any help, I think the difficulty arises in the way the question is posed. This is largely due to the different historic circumstances of the two countries.

In the USA, a citizen may readily say: ‘Look, my right is here in the Constitution, nth Amendment.’

In the UK, citizens very seldom ask what the constitution says. The reason is that, in cases such as we are looking at, the principle is ‘I have the right do anything that the law does not forbid.’

Or to put it another way, we in the UK less often look for a right in a document (Constitution). We have the right already, unless it is modified by a law. In other words, we don’t usually need to point to a page in a document, although I understand that this is what you are hoping for.

So I return to an extract on English law which I have recently posted in answer to you, but this time with italics:

‘These freedoms [of assembly and association] include taking part in public meetings, processions and demonstrations
 Freedom to assemble means that there is no law forbidding people to assemble. If a number of people choose to go to the same place at the same time this is not unlawful, provided that they keep within the limits of the law.’

The limits of the law are effectively respecting other citizen’s rights: not blocking the streets and roads, not causing disorder or violence, and so on. I should imagine similar considerations apply to safely managing assemblies and protests in the USA.

Last edited 3 years ago by Wilfred Davis
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

The question is posed as do you have an affirmative civil right to assembly enshrined in law in the UK. I have mentioned several times that the US does so I am aware there is a difference. In the US, freedom to assemble most definitely does not mean only as long as there is no law forbidding it. Neither does freedom of religion for example, you could not suddenly make Catholicism illegal in the US, the bill of rights would prevent that from happening.
It appears that the UK does not have an affirmative such right. Which means that it is a matter left to police and courts. Your “rights” or what you think of as your rights, are subject to the whims of police and courts. And they may be removed absent court adjudication, Or they may not be. It’s down to whim. and that may be fine with many in the UK although from the conversation here it appears that whim is a problem for many. If one group has the “right” to assembly merely because it hasn’t been removed by the police (which means there is no such right) and another doesn’t, do you see the problem?
Freedom to assemble based only on there not being a law that prohibits it means you have no affirmative civil right to assembly. An affirmative right is very different to having a “right” until lawmakers decide to remove it in some cases and not others.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

Annette, I always enjoy your posts, but google ‘Reading the Riot Act’ for your answer, basically it is an act from the 1700s Britain which means once an official reads the act to an assembly they have one hour to disperse or be committing a felony, which was a death sentence max back then. This is not used now, but could be.

The Riot Act, which read outlaws assembly, and any official can read it. ““Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God Save the King!””

UK has a hundred laws against speech allowed for any one which allows it! Do not believe the post below. UK is ‘Common Law’ which means law is based on judge’s rulings historically, and this means there is a tolerance of free speech, but NO RIGHT TO IT.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Yes I understand your point. The Riot Act is indicative of why the US has a bill of rights today. And I very much enjoy your informed posts as well. And the reason this makes a difference in my view is that if you are not starting any conversation or divisive issue from the point of basic rights that are not subject to whim, then you have little to stand on to complain when courts and police make varying decisions as to speech or assembly or any other “right”.
The right to petition in the US bill of rights, for example is based on the historical occurrence that King George III refused to accept a petition from the first continental congress. It was subject to his whim, IOW. The US bill of rights affirms that the right to petition one’s government is NOT subject to whim.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago

Two problems with the US approach:

  • It is subject to whim – only it is to the whim of the US Supreme Court. The court has several times found rights in the constitution, such as abortion or gay marriage, that manifestly could not have been meant by the people who wrote the relevant texts. The court may have been right to do this, but they were making fresh law.
  • When you reduce problems to legal interpretation of a constitution, you stop thinking about how the problems might be resolved, and instead argue about whether it can be said to fall within some particular definition in the text. I gather that in spite of the ferocious disagreements about it, US abortion law is among the most liberal in the world in terms of how late abortions can be performed. The obvious explanation would be that they had to either do nothing or make abortion a human right, whereas countries that dealt with the issue politically were free to make more nuanced decisions.
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Interesting post.
But even SCOTUS cannot alter the constitution on a whim. In the case of abortion, SCOTUS did not find a right to abortion in the constitution, it decided the case under the due process clause, specifically under the 14th amendments right to personal privacy. So they were not making fresh law so much as adjudicating that the law as it was, contravened the 14th amendment. So whether you agree or disagree with it, it all went back to the constitution, in that you have a right to privacy in your medical decisions. Abortion isn’t a human right in the US and the laws governing it vary by state. The right to personal privacy is.
In the same vein, SCOTUS has never found the right to gay marriage in the US Constitution. That case was also decided under the due process and equal protection clauses.
The purpose of a constitution isn’t to solve problems. Under such an understanding you wind up with something akin to the EU constitution, thousands of pages of law that is far above the purpose of a constitution. I subscribe to the original definition of a constitution as a “body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed”. Fundamental principles and legislation are two different things but the second must flow from or recognize and abide by the first.
IOW, it’s the foundational document. It isn’t meant to take the place of legislation, which changes over the decades while the principles enumerated in the constitution and bill of rights remain constant. To put it simply, it explains why no body of lawmakers could make Islam or Catholicism illegal in the US. Because even if some such lawmaking body wanted to, it contravenes one of our fundamental principles, freedom of religion. It also allows 50 sovereign states which have varying laws to all agree on the fundamental principles. This also explains why the US constitution doesn’t change much while laws do. The fundamental principles really don’t change.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago

It may be technically true that the Supreme Court did not make fresh law, but simply deemed? discovered? that the law had always been like that. But I think that is sophistry at best, substantially false at worst. Before the relevant judgements, abortion and gay marriage were illegal. I take it you will agree that none of the people who wrote the constitution would have wanted or written or dreamed of that their words could be interpreted in such a way. The laws being struck down would have been universally seen as constitutional, right up until the moment where the Supreme Court decided that they were not. When, and by whom was it introduced in US law that you had a right to abortion or gay marriage?
If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck it is a duck. What this quacks like is a group of judges entrusted with a right to decide the law is anything they think it ought to be, taking guidance by a vague statement of principles and infinite use of their imagination. It is not necessarily a bad system, and the professionalism and sense of reponsibility of the judges has done wonders in maintaining respect for the legitimacy of their decisions and their authority, even while they took all the most contentious and far-reaching political decisions over a couple of generations. But out of respect for the truth I think you have to say that e.g. the right to abortion was *introduced* (not discovered) into US law by the justices of the supreme Court.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

No SCOTUS doesn’t do anything other than determine if legislation meets our fundamental principles, I.e. the Constitution.
As to the Founders, it’s unlikely that medical privacy would have been a consideration for them.
Abortion was legal in some states prior to 1973. You might want to read the cases covering abortion and gay marriage. You are mistaking a right to abortion and gay marriage with a right to privacy, equal protection and due process. SCOTUS justices cannot “introduce” law, only the legislature can.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago

I think we must agree to disagree. But as a final comment I will say that it does not follow as a logical necessity that the right to privacy, equal protection and due process must mean that abortion and gay marriage must be allowed – or that there is a free-speech right to spend unlimited amounts of money on political donations. Another group of judges might have decided that the same clauses meant the opposite. Or they might have judged that polygamy was legal. If the legal situation is what it is, it is because a specific group of judges decided to interpret the founding document in a particular way. And they could have decided differently.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

We can certainly disagree on whether the right to privacy, due process and equal treatment necessarily lead to abortion or gay marriage (and there is a wide variety of opinion in the US) but there is no disagreement on the facts of the SCOTUS cases and what they decided.
And yes, you are correct, a right to polygamy could be decided, (should a state pass such legislation and a case be brought before SCOTUS by an entity with standing) on due process grounds as well as religious freedom grounds. In fact, those against the Obergefell decision pointed specifically to this, why could three people not legally get married if all were consenting adults. What would be the argument against that? But the fundamental principle doesn’t change that there is a right to religious freedom and no court can eliminate it.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

To the kind person or persons who down-voted this comment, and indeed other interested readers, if any: the above is actually an extract relating to US law.

The point is that the US rights to expression and assembly (often closely connected) included in the US Constitution are not absolute.

J A Thompson
J A Thompson
3 years ago

Unless it is the civil rights of Republicans, of course!

Last edited 3 years ago by J A Thompson
J A Thompson
J A Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

A light touch is one thing, kneeling to them and dancing with XR, quite another. Letting them get away with flaunting the rules (with which I do not agree, by the way), and subsequently using heavy enforcement on other protests was a terrible error on their part.
BLM should have been shut down to send a message to all that NO assemblies would be tolerated. Once one has set a precedent, rowing back on it is practically impossible.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  J A Thompson

Totally agree. If you’re not starting from the point that the right to assemble is an affirmative civil right, then you’re going to be all over the place deciding who can do what since people will make all kinds of different and contradictory choices. Whereas, if you do have an affirmative such right, the courts and police must start there. From that point, assembly management is a totally different issue from the right to assemble. Some here have mixed the two issues. One concerns a right, the other crowd management, they are totally different issues.
If there are no affirmative rights, then some will have the “right” and others not. It’s how humanity works absent enshrined civil rights.

Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall
3 years ago

England doesn’t have a written constitution although famously it is said to possess an unwritten one as a consequences of Magna Carta, parliamentary statutes and common law mashups from the 14th century. The US Constitution has provided endless opportunity for the Supreme Court and the Legislative Assembly to modify, amend and and interpret to the point that it is become a noble palimpsest of afterthoughts. Lord Sumption spoke eloquently on the respective merits of English Common Law and the American Constitution in his recent Reith Lectures. I rather agree with his conclusions.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Hall

In actuality, the US constitution is modified or amended very infrequently, (and never by the judiciary) which is probably why it has survived so long. It’s quite hard to amend the US constitution, by design, in fact. Courts, contrary to your claim, cannot amend or modify the constitution, it’s a state process. Don’t forget, the US is a constitutional republic. Getting 2/3 of the states to agree to an amendment is exceptionally difficult. I’m sort of surprised that it would not be commonly known that the US constitution is not easily amended or subject to judicial branch amendment. Perhaps your Lord missed that day in colonial history.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Middle of a Plandemic! The covi-bovine love their shepherd, but us feral sheep refuse to be herded about, we unherd, as it were. ‘The feral sheep have nothing to lose but their masks/chains’ to paraphrase Marx, and I have refused to mask at all –

Sue Julians
Sue Julians
3 years ago

I didn’t go last night.
I wanted to. Wanted to join in with others who felt so personally connected to this loss, this crime.
I didn’t go. Planned to. Wanted to show my daughters the strength of female solidarity.
But as soon as the victim’s family asked people to stay away, I felt I couldn’t. Because at that point, the nature of the event had changed.
Instead of this being a moment to reflect on this loss, it became a tool for people to air their political grievances. An opportunity for grandstanding and self-publicity.
I went today.
All the trampled flowers replaced. Women laying their Mother’s Day bouquets. Men, women, children. The young and the old. Quietly paying tribute. No megaphones, no speeches. No agitation, no aggression.
Watching the images of last night was extremely disturbing. But being there today was humbling. A collective sense of wanting the world to be a better place, and the question of how our society has deteriorated to such a degree. Sadness, but also hope.
I want my daughters’ futures to be in the hands of those present today. Not the police of last night. And not the girl with the red hair.

G Matthews
G Matthews
3 years ago
Reply to  Sue Julians

I’d like to ask you a question. What is it that made you feel so personally connected to this event? Because a couple of years ago near where I live, in a murder covered in national media, two young muslim women had their throats cut, and while one was being dismembered and shoved into a freezer the other managed to crawl out into the street and raise the alarm. The family of one of the girls had put a hit on her for the sin of planning to marry a darker-skinned man. In the week after there were maybe 4-5 wreaths placed outside, there were no marches, no protests, nothing, even though it made national news. So is it that you don’t feel a personal connection to the sufferring of muslim girls, but when you see a face familiar to your own you empathise? If that’s so then you need to attend unconscious bias training ASAP.

Mark Harris
Mark Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

I would perhaps lay the blame at the media who I imagine reported a lot less on the story about the two muslim women than they have about the Sarah Everard case. There is probably a case to make that media stories gain more traction when it is a murder case related to a young white woman, but to effectively accuse this person of racism just because they felt emotionally affected by the murder of a young woman in their community strikes me as very harsh and unjustified.

G Matthews
G Matthews
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Harris

Why do you think this woman is “in the same community” as Sarah? She does not mention that, you have interpolated that information. Unless by “in the same community” you mean that white women in London form a single community? And that people in one of your self-determined “communities” have no need to care for people in other “communities”? As I mentioned the national media made many reports on the case of the two muslim women, but I guess following your train of thought one “community” did not want to get involved with another “community” and so the death (only one died) went unmourned, the violence unprotested. This is the very definition of unconscious bias.

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

Middle class white British London women can see they are not likely to be murdered by their relatives over who they choose to marry, but are just as vulnerable to being abducted by complete strangers as anyone else. Things you cannot guard against are scarier than things that seem controllable.

Bertie B
Bertie B
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Newman

“Middle class white British London women” are actually statistically far more likely to be murdered by a partner or an ex-partner than by anyone else. They are far less likely to be randomly murdered by some-one they have never met than men.
That isn’t to detract from the additional harasment and abuse women do recieve from strangers in the street, but the two should not be conflated.

Mark Harris
Mark Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

My God, you are an expert at jumping to conclusions and going off down your own little rabbit hole. By “community” I mean where she lives, this happened to someone in the same general area (community) where she lives, so she responded emotionally to it.
And while we’re talking about interpolating information about someone, you asked a question of her and answered it yourself before she even had an opportunity to respond, effectively labelling her as a racist who only cares about white people dying and doesn’t give a crap about muslim people dying, based on nothing!
Go and redirect your rage at people who actually deserve it, rather than someone who just felt sad that a woman in her city was murdered.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

Your question is interesting and fair, but your suggested answer is unreasonable. It is both normal and reasonable that we react more strongly to events that also reflect our own worries, and show more solidarity with people we feel we have more in common with.
Let me ask you: Hundreds of women are killed every day across the world, in India, Papua New Guinea, South America, … Do you react to each of those murders as strongly as to this one, white British victim?
‘Unconscious bias training’, forsooth!

Last edited 3 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
G Matthews
G Matthews
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Don’t be ridiculous. We are not talking about Papua New Guinea. Both of these horrific murders took place in London. Both women abducted within 5 miles of each other. Both were reported in national media. Both were mutilated. We don’t know the motivation of Sarah’s killer yet, but the motivation of Celine Dookhran’s killer (for that is her name, I doubt many people even know it) was to exert control over her choice of who to marry. But not a peep from any protestor about the muslim. I am not saying the OP is a racist, I am saying she is displaying unconscious bias. How do you explain the difference in reaction to two very similar events taking place in the same city? The different outcome is a result of different biases acting on the information being processed.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

I dont agree. You are trying to bring the race issue in where it doesnt apply .
The better race related case is the indifference to young black men getting stabbed weekly. Why is this not the subject of empathy ? Is it because it requires criticality of those doing the stabbing ?
The race card causes more trouble than it solves.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

It’s kin preference. An evolutionary trait hardwired into us. For example would you expect to feel exactly the same way about a child killed in Myanmar, or just down the road, as you would at the loss of your own child?? If you did then you perhaps shouldn’t be a parent. Feeling more for your own, does not mean you don’t care about others – but to expect it to be the same flies against everything we know about evolutionary biology.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

You are exactly right. I was hoping that what you are saying showed through in my post as well.

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

I don’t think it’s just that. The French au pair murdered in north Wimbledon did not get so much attention, because “I’m not an au pair/my daughter’s not an au pair, so that would not happen to me”.

G Matthews
G Matthews
3 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

We are not talking about the love of a parent for a child. We are talking about two strangers, both equal. Both women, both in London, both abducted 5 miles apart, both mutilated, both murdered, critically both are UNKNOWN to the original poster. She isn’t their mother, sister, kin, kith, caste, tribe, whatever, both victims are equally unknown to her. She has no relationship with either and has never met either. And yet one triggered a huge response and the other triggered no response. This is the definition of unconscious bias. I am sure there are many reasons why it exists but the OP should not try to deny its existence, she should admit that this disturbing event has exposed her unconscious bias and challenge herself to confront her bias. Maybe next time an unknown stranger is murdered she will show her concern for fellow humanity rather than limiting her kindness to people with whom she shares certain similarities in physical appearance and socio-economic background.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

There is crucial difference . This tragic murder has no race dimension. To criticise the Muslim killings would have invited the accusation of racism.

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago

Or, a thousand times worse, accusations of Islamophobia.

Sue Julians
Sue Julians
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

Celine Dookhran was murdered in 2017, I remember how awful it was, I remember thinking how beautiful she was and how that beauty had made her more likely to be a victim. It’d take me an hour to get to wimbledon, it wasn’t in my backyard, so I didn’t take it as personally.
I was more shocked and upset by the knife attack of the young black boy from Stockwell who was murdered 100 yards from my house than I was for Celine Dookhran.
2-3 women are murdered every week by men in the UK, there have been many more since then: should I know the name and circumstance of each one?
I am more shocked by things that happen in my neighbourhood and want to ensure that the people I know and are dear to me are safe. It’s very sad that there are so many murders that it’s difficult to keep track.

Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

What’s wrong with the term ‘bias’? And by the way there is no measurable, objectivity to the phrase ‘unconscious bias’. It belongs in the same slop psychology bucket as ‘white fragility’, ‘white privilege’ and the other catch phrases of victimhood vocabulary.

Mark Harris
Mark Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

First of all, how on earth do you know what response she had to the murder of the two muslim women? You didn’t even give her an opportunity to response, you just labelled her a racist because it was beneficial for your rant.
Secondly, I sincerely doubt the story about the muslim women was reported on to the extent to this story is, so why don’t you lay the blame for that at the door of the media?

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

Interesting point.
Huge numbers of people go missing every year. Children go missing at an truly unbelievable rate every day, as do men and women. With the numbers that go missing in the UK every year I have often wondered what makes just one of these numbers in to a media story more than any one of the other numbers

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

It certainly is a fascinating question. Suzie Lamplugh back in 1986 is the textbook example. Biggest ever search for a missing person in Britain. At a press conference in the early days of the search, a reporter asked her desperate parents what sort of girl she was. Her father said that she was just an ordinary girl, i.e. she wasn’t involved in drugs/etc. Her mother declared: “No, she’ s a super girl”. The reporter who wrote the book on the case credited this sentence as the turning point in capturing media attention, which continues to this day.

But Suzie was white, attractive and middle class…..All three key factors to drive media interest. And she and her family were London based (extra Brownie points).

The only bigger factor to drive media attention is the disappearance/death of a photogenic child or children (as per the Soham murders).

Even terrorist victims get prioritised if they are young, female and appealing. (check the 8 year old in the 2017 Manchester bombing). The three pudgy middle aged guys murdered by a nutter 100 yards from the front door of my church in Reading in June 2020? Sorry guys, not so commercial…..

Last edited 3 years ago by William Murphy
Sue Julians
Sue Julians
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

Wow. Should I justify my sadness to someone who I’ve never met, who knows nothing about me, but has seen fit to accuse me of racism? I’ll try.
My sadness stemmed from many things. Knowing what it is like to feel physically vulnerable. I have been raped, groped, flashed at. I live in London, and know the area well: and I walked to the vigil yesterday. Sarah Everard’s journey home would have been a journey I took myself, taking similar precautions, so there was a sense of ‘there but for the grace of God’. It could easily have been me, it made me remember my close shaves.
There is also a sense that we are all currently incarcerated, that even now with fewer people on the street, she wasn’t safe. But more importantly Jess Phillips reading the ‘counting dead women’ list was a reminder that the most dangerous place for most women is in their own homes. It wasn’t just Sarah Everard.
That I was shocked by this case does not mean that I don’t care about other types murders or violence towards women. When I stood at the memorial yesterday I thought about not just Sarah Everard, but what sort of world it is that male violence and male attitude of entitlement and control over women, all women, is still tolerated. I also thought about the increase of antisocial behaviour and public aggression towards both women and men in recent years, and wondered what the cause was, and what could be done about it.
If that makes me a racist in your eyes, there’s not much I can do about that. I know my biases. Do you know yours, in particular your leap to judge me and make assumptions about the reason for my attitudes?

John Lewis
John Lewis
3 years ago
Reply to  Sue Julians

The same caring Jess Phillips who found the suggestion of a commons debate about the number of male suicides so hilarious.

Sue Julians
Sue Julians
3 years ago
Reply to  John Lewis

I’m not making a judgement for or against Jess Phillips, merely on the message conveyed by reading out the list.

Sue Julians
Sue Julians
3 years ago
Reply to  Sue Julians

You are making a discussion on violence towards women all about race, and about my attitude to different murders based on your prejudice towards me. You are making huge assumptions on my character based on what you perceive to be my lack of emotional response to other women who have been murdered, without knowing if your assumptions are true. How do you know my attitude to previous murders, whether i ignored them or not, or whether i was even aware of them? And summing up by telling me the reasons that adherents to CRT would deem me so, underlines your judgement that i fit the criteria of a racist.
I am aware of my biases. Emotional responses I cannot control & I am surprised that you think with a bit of correctional training that this would change. Maybe the thought police could help?
I worry now less about my own safety, but for that of my children. They commute via Clapham to go to school. Does it make me a racist to be shocked that someone travelling a similar route to them would be kidnapped and murdered?
You have me all summed up it would seem. But no insight into your own unconscious bias towards me.

G Matthews
G Matthews
3 years ago
Reply to  Sue Julians

Your responses are very revealing. You seem unable or unwilling to confront the issues presented. This illustrates why structural racism is so enduring. Those perpetuating it do not even realise they perpetuate it. A muslim woman is abducted, murdered and mutilated, it makes national media both at the time and during the subsequent court case, and yet it still does not penetrate the consciousness of women living within a 10 mile radius of the event. I am sure the vast majority of women protesting have never heard the name Celine Dookhran because they closed their consciousness to her, whereas they opened their consciousness to Sarah. The question is why.

Last edited 3 years ago by G Matthews
Sue Julians
Sue Julians
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

I didn’t consider what the race of her assailant would be, I was just concerned that she had gone missing and hoped that she would be found alive.
She was walking along the South Circular, Clapham Common, when she disappeared, which is a very sought after area which is predominately white, as it goes. The only assumption i did make was that her abductor was likely to be a man. So maybe I’m sexist rather than racist? Though I’d suggest that assumption was realistic, given the proportion of violent crimes committed by men. (All of my assailants have been white men)
Men in positions of authority often abuse it. Without wanting to elaborate further as public comment may prejudice the trial, the profession and colour of the assailant is of no surprise. The only thing that would have made me pause if I was wrong about the sex.

Sue Julians
Sue Julians
3 years ago
Reply to  Sue Julians

Oh, you’ve edited your previous comment to me in order to make my response inappropriate, changing the argument you made into something else entirely?
For anyone else reading, G Matthews asked me if I’d assumed the assailant was black, since the attack was in Brixton, and whether i was surprised that the alleged assailant was a white police officer.

G Matthews
G Matthews
3 years ago
Reply to  Sue Julians

You assume too much. I started drafting a point and had to take the dog for a walk so deleted it half-completed.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

I think accusing everyone of being racist in this context makes no sense whatever.

Pauline Ivison
Pauline Ivison
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

You really do come across as a person who possesses a closed mind and displays an undercurrent of aggression in his musings.

G Matthews
G Matthews
3 years ago
Reply to  Pauline Ivison

? Do you have no aggression? I suppose you have no biases either.

Weyland Smith
Weyland Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

“Your responses are very revealing” self-parody but no self-awareness.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Sue Julians

So there is a choice: Either you systematically work to change your feelings, reactions beliefs, actions … into the proper antiracist pattern. Or you are a racist. No problem.I think what I think. If you, or ‘critical race theory’ want to call me racist, you are welcome.
I still think that Sue Julians reactions are a perfectly normal and positive human behaviour, and that blaming her for not feeling what your politics tell you she ought to be feeling is unreasonable and wrong.

G Matthews
G Matthews
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The first paragraph sums up the position correctly. I am amazed people still don’t understand this. If you read Unherd, if you have any curiousity about e.g. BLM, then how can you not explore what CRT is?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

So, you are saying I presented the situation correctly? Thanks.

I would say that people understand very well what is happening here – which is that you are using an invalid rhetorical argument to bully them. In normal English, ‘racism’ means an irrational or unbalanced idea that some races are inherently inferior to yours, which is accepted to be a very ‘bad thing’. In critical race theory, apparently it means something quite different, namely anyone who does not accept the demand to rework their own attitudes, feelings and thoughts completely to fit into a very specific political template. So you are trying to impose a completely new definition, while tricking people into carrying over the moral judgement that applied to the old definition.

The answer is simple: In the sense meant in normal English I am not a racist. In the sense meant by critical race theory being a racist is perfectly morally acceptable. It is only if you apply the two contradictory definitions at the same time that your argument has any weight.

G Matthews
G Matthews
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

In fact I am a devil’s advocate. I am merely trying to explain what CRT is. I have not made up my mind about it yet. In CRT you are either racist or anti-racist. It means if you are not actively anti-racist, then you fall into the residual category of racist, whether conscious of it or not. It’s not me being a bully, the basis of CRT is that society is structurally racist (i.e. it is white supremacist society that is the bully, and uses all kinds of nefarious and insidious ways to enforce its supremacy) and only if this bully is confronted with no middle ground allowed (because it is so entrenched, it cannot be shifted without a cultural-revolution style fight) can equality be achieved. I’m just the messenger.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  Sue Julians

There is nothing wrong with having a bias favouring your own .

G Matthews
G Matthews
3 years ago

OK, well I hope you aren’t a judge and I never meet you in a court of law.

Elaine Hunt
Elaine Hunt
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

In the current climate, non Muslim women might feel rather uneasy protesting about Muslim attitudes towards women, horrid ( yes , I have dared to say it) though they are to English eyes.

I feel a great deal of empathy ( or maybe sympathy, since I was fortunate enough to be born into a culture and at a time, when women are not seen as chattels) towards girls forced into cousin marriage, girls having their c******s excised , women being tricked into being a second ‘wife’ in a country where that has no legal status, women being ‘discouraged from speaking the language of the country they have lived in for twenty years.

I wonder though what the OPs attitude to my condemnation would be? I have a sneaky feeling he would criticise me for having insufficient appreciation and tolerance for the mores of other cultures.

Last edited 3 years ago by Elaine Hunt
Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

Unusual news wins out over the common.

huddyian
huddyian
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

I believe the lack of mass demos / vigils over the murders of muslim girls is because the perpetrators almost exclusively belong to the same community . Nothing for the middle class left leaning women to get upset about.

Jon Quirk
Jon Quirk
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

You are conflating issues and very unfairly attacking someone who sounds like a fine young woman.
I’m sure we can all agree that the cultural practices within some communities, some religions are a throwback to the stone ages and abhorrent in any modern multi-cultural society.
We certainly need far more education in this area within these communities, and I think the law needs to come down hard when such instances occur. There is, or certainly ought to be, an implied acceptance of the norms of behaviour of any host society once refuge is sought and given there. The crime should be nonetheless a crime for it apparently being accepted practice in other communities, from which the perpetrators have escaped.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

Unconcious bias training doesnt work. You should have asked a different question. Where are the outpourings of grief for the young men killed almost every week in London by knives.

Neil John
Neil John
3 years ago

No one has been killed BY a knife, they have been killed by someone WITH a knife. Knives, like guns or even cars are inanimate objects incapable of feeling or independent action without the human hand and more over the human mind to direct them.

Michael Whittock
Michael Whittock
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

What an unreasonable response to Sue Julians’ comment. According to you our response to an event is only valid if it is influenced by every piece of relevant information which we cannot possibly know.

Geoff H
Geoff H
3 years ago
Reply to  Sue Julians

I like your answer and I agree with it.

Pauline Ivison
Pauline Ivison
3 years ago
Reply to  Sue Julians

Well I like the answer.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Sue Julians

I was thinking this exact same thing today driving back from work. By making Man the center of things the West has lost its moral compass. The grievance industry in unholy alliance with corporate interests have become the new producers of morality.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  Sue Julians

About 670 people are murdered every year. about 67% of them men and most women are murdered by somebody they know. Why don’t people feel connected to all of them, or even the 1800 or so killed on the roads?

Deborah Wrap
Deborah Wrap
3 years ago

This was never about Sarah. Clapham Common wasn’t safe to walk across 40 years ago and I don’t suppose it is any better now.

But if you allow vigils during lockdown, then why not unlimited numbers at funerals, football matches, gay pride parades etc. There cannot be exceptions to the Law for one group but not another. And remember, this wasn’t about Sarah.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Deborah Wrap

But this protest was politically approved by lots of journalists – laws, logic or fairness should not come into it, the mighty have spoken.
On a serious note what could the police do, it wasn’t spontaneous as it had already been ruled illegal – the huge press coverage meant that turning a blind eye wasn’t possible either.

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago
Reply to  Deborah Wrap

If we had proper police patrolling this would almost certainly not have happened. There are plenty of countries where police are all over the streets – I remember being in Romania, amazed at all the police I saw.
Clapham Common is hardly an isolated locale – the collapse of British policing since the 1960s has to take part of the blame.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Newman

When it comes to the met. Cressida d**k would look out of her office window at New Scotland Yard and year after year see the Romanian mafia operating with imputing on Westminster bridge.
Nothing was done.
I came across a wanted poster in Frankfurt airport. Wanted for homicide and I recognized criminals from the Bridge. I checked with some friendly officers, and they picked the same out without prompting.
They are clueless. d**k won’t do a thing. Lots of police won’t. It’s more important to eat donuts and coffee and protect buildings etc.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Newman

I fully agree. You rarely see a policeman on the beat so the streets are basically unpoliced in this country. It surprises me that crime is as low as it is.
If the Met put out a message that plain-clothed female police would now be patrolling you would see a sudden decrease in crime against women even if the patrols never happened.

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

If the Met put out the message that plain clothed female police with full military training and lethal weapons under their designer garments were patrolling…..conceivably that might reduce crime against women.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago
Reply to  Deborah Wrap

I agree with you. BUT, BLM marches were held last year – during lockdown. Those marches were illegal too. The police not only ‘took the knee’ but stood by and watched as property was destroyed.
Sometimes the police need to use common sense, even when something ‘illegal’ is happening.
Whatever reasons those ‘protestors’ had for turning up when they had been told not to, the Met moving in on them when it was one of their own who allegedly killed Sarah was a great big PR disaster, and simply adds to the ‘men commit violence against women’ trope.
This reminds me of Dany Cotton telling people to stay in Grenfell whilst it burned. Two women promoted to their level of incompetence.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago

The Met were certainly wrong to take several steps back during the BLM protests. Perhaps Saturday’s events show they have learned from their mistakes, perhaps not. We’ll find out during the inevitable BLM protests this summer.
Meanwhile, if the Met arrest Piers Corbyn for an unlawful gathering they can’t really not arrest protesters on Clapham Common, just because they were protesting a different issue. The organisers went to the High Court and lost. They correctly cancelled the event but people still turned up. What were those people expecting to happen? Of course the event was hijacked by the far left – it’s what they do.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

The police were intimidated by BLM protests, they clearly were not intimidated in Sarah’s case. But is that the law? Protests allowed as long as they intimidate the police?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Deborah Wrap

Is there a law that allows the police to “not allow” vigils? What’s the authority for this?

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago

Is there a specific US law for ‘vigils’?

Is it in the US Constitution?

I’m just guessing wildly here, and happy to be proved wrong, but I imagine the answers are No and No.

Are you dissatisfied with UK law for its deficiency in provisions for ‘vigils’? If so, how would you propose to frame such a law?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

A vigil would be an assembly, so yes. What occurred yesterday in the UK would be covered by the first amendment in the US. What is the authority for not allowing it in the UK?
I am an American so dissatisfaction with laws that don’t affect me is rather beside the point, is it not? You seem extremely offended at my question. If so, you aren’t required to participate.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago

Your question was: ‘Is there a law that allows the police to “not allow” vigils? What’s the authority for this?’
My reply was: is there a US law specifically for ‘vigils’. You have answered that vigils are assemblies. That’s the point that I am making: vigils are covered by the law on assemblies. So there is no need for a separate law about ‘vigils’ specifically.

You say: I am an American so dissatisfaction with laws that don’t affect me is rather beside the point, is it not?

If that is so, why have you posted quite so many comments about your dissatisfaction that UK law does not have a constitutional provision for assembly, protest, and so on?

If you don’t want to read other peoples’ posts, then don’t. But it would be sensible if you at least read your own.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

I never said there was a need for a law that covers vigils. I asked what the authority to not allow them was. Read more carefully. Weyland Smith provided the answer below, btw in case you are interested in the answer to my question.
If my asking a question, bothers you, feel free to skip my posts. You are not entitled to an answer as to why I have asked a question although you may choose not to respond, particularly if you don’t know the answer.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Weyland Smith
Weyland Smith
3 years ago

Currently, the emergency covid legislation makes gatherings of more than two people illegal.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Weyland Smith

Thank you Weyland. I thought there must be some legislation that allowed the police to disburse assembly. Is it applied evenly? If not, who decrees how it is applied?

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

Way too much interpolation in this article.
Will identity-group mouthpieces ever stop inventing bias when there is no meaningful evidence ?
Probably not …. as many would struggle to earn a living any other way.
Based on the leading MSM image, I await the ‘“police have a ginger problem” rant with interest.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ian Barton
Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

What you can bet is that these mouth pieces want us to rejoin the EU.
So lets see. You can show women are discriminated against because they earn less on average than me. Statistical discrimination
The EU is statistically white. Indian is statistically brown. Going back to the EU means different rules. Statistically white get special treatment over the statistically brown.
They are just racists.

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago

We are living through the most peaceful and non-violent time in human history. For a detailed and nuanced exploration of the data, please see this link.
https://towardsdatascience.com/has-global-violence-declined-a-look-at-the-data-5af708f47fba
Yet, listening to the news and following the Guardian logic, what we really need is an outright race and gender war which white men must lose. Or else…..

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Guardian logic = oxymoron.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Vikram you’re talking too much sense

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

I beg to differ. The Romans got there first and did it better, with the fabled ‘Pax Romana’.

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
3 years ago

There are two quite different definitions of the word “fabled”.
1.famous, especially by reputation.
2.mythical; imaginary.
The general consensus amongst current historians would favour the second definition.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

I prefer the former, although I agree that many ‘modern ‘, historians, Mary Beard for example favour the later.

However let’s be positive it is the Ides of March after all.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

I’m glad someone has made this post. Its always a horrible thing to do, to introduce facts into a good emotional “debate”. I may have remembered then numbers wrongly but there was an article on the Beeb saying there were 214 murders of women last year (for men it was 5 times higher but we don’t count do we). It really does seem like a time to be scared to be on the street if female. I could understand that when the Ripper (the yorkshire or jack the) was about and if your lived or moved in their areas.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Those middle class types who influence public opinion have become so enfeebled in spirit, body ad mind that what little violence occurs induces panic or petrification. It is not the magnitude of violence; it is the ability to control one fear, through training of the mind and body which is important. England won at Crecy, Poitiers, Agincourt, the Armada , etc because even though though outnumbered, training induced a level of skill, courage and discipline which won the victories. The same can be said for the Romans, Alexander, The Zulus, etc
Ibn Khaldun said men protected by walls and garrisons lose their uprightness and manliness. Genghis Khan said ” It is not the height of the walls which matter or the numbers of soldiers on the walls but the fighting spirit of the soldiers on the walls”.
To those scared of their shadows, shadows induce fear.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago

Here, in one picture, was the bleakest possible answer: women don’t feel safe because the police are against us, just as they were against the vigil even taking place.

Oh, please. That’s such a sweeping and dishonest representation of reality that it’s hard to take the author seriously.
You claim “the police are against us”: okay, then, imagine a world where there are no police at all. Feeling safe, are you?

But the “real and present threat of Covid-19” had not seemed to apply to last summer’s Black Lives Matter rallies

And a lot of people were appalled by the double standards on display.

Put these things together, and there’s an ugly undertone that when male-dominated crowds occupy public spaces, they’re exercising an essential human right; but when women do it, they do not.

You’d have to be a bit thick to come to that conclusion.

Women were outraged then, just as they are today: why should their freedom be curtailed because of a violent man’s actions?

Because you live in the real world, not in some utopia in your heads.

Sure, it’s appropriate to urge vigilance when an active offender is on the loose; but it would also be appropriate to warn men that those acting suspiciously in the area will be challenged by police.

So you’re in favour of sexual profiling. Are you in favour of racial profiling?

it created a vacuum into which the reckless and vicious could rush.

The vicious? The police acted in the same way as they would when breaking up any unauthorised demonstration. Are you suggesting that women should get softer treatment?

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

Excellent points, well made. Modern day feminists see everything through the lens of victimhood and active oppression to the exclusion of everything else. Now I will not argue that male violence is a wide problem, the figures overwhelmingly bear that out, but it seems to be that making ‘men’ the enemy is not helpful. Women are more than capable of cruelty and violence and quite often get away with it by virtue of being female. The language the author uses is full of Marxist-feminist tropes – and I recognise it because it was drilled into me at Uni in the 90s, and I became quite the little militant for a while. But fortunately I grew out of it, because being in a constant of fear and anger, that bears only a little resemblance to the real world, is exhausting, debilitating and doesn’t help you have healthy relationships with 50% of the population.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

.

Last edited 3 years ago by Andre Lower
Helen Barbara Doyle
Helen Barbara Doyle
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

Please know that very few women actually think like the author

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago

Unfortunately few bother to say so, which is really taking a toll on intergender perceptions. You are a welcome exception!

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago

Thankfully, you’re right. It’s incredible how many journalists have opinions that are completely out of line with the population in general.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago

“Women were outraged then, just as they are today: why should their freedom be curtailed because of a violent man’s actions?”
You deal with the world as it is. Why should my freedom be curtailed because there is a virus on the loose? It shouldn’t – but the virus is there.
The question is not what is fair, but what should occur?
It is hard to argue that a protest vigil was a good reason to undermine anti-virus public-health laws. Talk of curfews on men borders on brainless.
We should have calm, sane and fact-based discussions on what to do to prevent street violence. Posturing is not what we need.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
3 years ago