On being murdered in your own home

1) Murder, of any kind, is an almost unimaginably horrible thing to happen to you or anyone you know.

2) Being randomly murdered by a stranger in your own home is among the most horrible subsets of murder to happen to you or anyone you know.

3) When this incredibly horrible and rare thing happens to someone you know, it’s understandable to jump to conclusions about the appalling state of society, and use them to justify whatever your own personal cause may be.

4) It’s in rather poor taste, however, for someone who doesn’t know the victim to use said grief-sticken exhortations as a peg for their own personal conspiracy theories. Especially ill-informed xenophobic ones.

5) It’s entirely daft in such a situation to claim that such things never happened before Labour’s gun laws, no matter how much of an arse you think David Blunkett is.

Tangentially, I’m glad my friends and I rejected the option of renting the flat we saw 100 metres from the murder site in Chelsea and picked Finsbury Park instead, otherwise we’d've been greeted by police tape and fear-of-being-murdered-in-our-beds within two weeks of moving in [*].

Still more tangentially, found on a related Google search – Ian Huntley was innocent, and it was the Americans wot done it. People are strange.

[*] The irony here may be lost on people who don’t know about the relative perceived niceness of the two areas.

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Sophistry

Page 19 of this week’s New Scientist features the most content-free piece of toss I’ve seen in years. Why is theology still viewed as an academic discipline?

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Not just over there…

There are now pharmacists in Britain who refuse to dispense contraceptive pills. Scandalous nonsense; anyone who refuses to perform such an essential part of the job should instantly be struck off.

I wonder if the pharmacist’s job currently is, or will soon be, protected under religious discrimination legislation? I have a horrible suspicion that the answer is ‘yes’ to at least one. Stupid, stupid laws.

In case anyone were wondering, I’d apply exactly the same standards to Muslims in a similar position, or to blood-drinking Satanists with pentagram brands on their foreheads being rejected from customer-facing jobs. If you’re incapable of being an adequate pharmacist because you’re a member of a demented cult, then you shouldn’t be a pharmacist.

(via Green Fairy)

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Mild, but only mild, paranoia

In view of the certainty of economic collapse in the US, I’m going to spend a couple of hours over the weekend checking out my financial institutions’ investments in American assets, and potentially switching to firms that don’t have significant US involvement.

Also, I’d recommend buying gold, canned food and bottled water. And large pointy sticks to beat anyone who mentions a "US economic miracle", or otherwise implies that its recent economic performance serves as anything other than a cautionary tale for people in Europe.

"So Professor, would you say that now is the time for our viewers to crack open each other’s heads and feast on the goo inside?" "Yes, Kent, I would."

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Hero

Desert Island Discs today featured the rather excellent Clive Stafford Smith, who fights against people being tortured to death.

A Good Lad indeed, and you can’t argue with that.

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Liberal uprising scheduled

When even middle-aged, wealthy, white city types are victimised by the government’s authoritarianism [*] in street policing and ‘counter-terrorism’, it’s pretty clear there’s a problem.

The article’s writer was stopped in his car, arrested, treated like crap and then charged for carrying a lockable penknife in his briefcase. The policemen involved used outrageously poor judgement in rounding up anyone who infringed their rules irrespective of the threat posed; then they exceeded all acceptable limits in the way they pursued the case. The end result is that an innocent man is being tried for an at-best nominal crime that posed no threat to anyone.

This is completely outrageous and unacceptable. The only thing that makes it slightly less shocking than otherwise is that it’s exactly the same thing that’s been happening to ethnic minorities and other ‘suspect’ groups in the UK for at least the last 30 years. Tactics that mainstream society largely ignored because they only hurt the niggers and the Paddies (and after all, those muggers and IRA men did terribly bad things) have now come back to bite us.

I hope this will drive conservatives and liberals alike into rejecting authoritarian policing, even if the result is that our chances of being the victims of serious crime rise from infinitessimal to still-infinitessimal-but-slightly-higher (and there’s no convincing evidence that even that would be the case).

However, I fear I might be being optimistic. At least until *every* family in the UK knows someone innocent who’s been screwed over by these insane rules [**].

(article via Peter Briffa)

[*] Registration-only; Bug Me Not can provide one.

[**] This seems to be one of the *very* few positive aspects of the drug war, at least in the UK. Almost everyone my age knows someone who’s been unjustly victimised for drug possession. As a result, the social stigma associated with a criminal conviction has vastly diminished in the context of drug cases.

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