Teens, Thugs and Taunts

Monday, January 23, 2012, 16:29


A penny will hide the biggest star in the Universe if you hold it close enough to your eye. Samuel Grafton, liberal newspaper columnist and  author of the syndicated column I’d Rather Be Right was a wise man, bless his soul.

He could have written the above sentence about the hullaballoo surrounding the recent attack on a young lady, some days ago, as reported in this newspaper: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20120122/local/Thugs-attack-lesbian-16-on-a-bench.403284 .

I gave up reading the comments after the first clutch – and I think I am safe to assume that the rest of them harped on the same issue – that “Amy is a lesbian and she was beaten up because of that”.

Alas, we are missing the wood for trees. Before this simplistic Q.E.D., there are several other factors to consider.

The attack happened at 7.30 p.m. – a time when the area is teeming with people. Is it possible that not one of the layabouts always watching the world go by from the square and its peripheral areas, including a couple of bars, or all the people who happened to be passing by, did not deign to run to the Hamrun police station?

For those who are not familiar with the area – this is just a stone’s throw away from where this incident happened.

The newspaper report tells us that there were four girls in the group, two of whom were set upon by a pair of brothers. How did the two girls who were not attacked react? Did they run away? Or did they put up a fight on the premise that since they outnumbered the boys, they could at least inflict some damage, or at least damage control? Logic tells me that if two of them had clambered on the boys’ backs, the ruffians would not have been as capable of beating up the girls. Instinct, if not a knowledge of self-defence tactics or a yen for self-preservation, might have made all the difference.

Did the girls not seek to protect themselves by tooth and nail? Or at least, did they not scream to attract attention before trying to run away from their tormentors?

Again, I have to ask – is it possible that not one of the persons present sought to defend Amy and her friend after the first blow was struck, or were they too afraid of being dragged to court as potential witnesses?

We have heard atrocious stories of hate campaigns and suicides – and, I hasten to add, these cases have not always centred on the sexual orientation of a person. Bullies will always find something about which to harass others.

Yet it is understandable that the pro-homosexual movements would use this as a poster case. Will any of them – or even the Police Department itself – sue the perpetrators in Amy’s name, even if she decides not to pursue the matter herself?

There is another point that people are not considering.

The fact that someone feels he has a “right” to invade the personal space of someone else, and moreover, beat up this person, whatever the reason, shows that there is something drastically wrong in the way justice is meted out in our courts.

A teen who picks pockets because he has to fend for himself, is sent to prison. A teen who turns to prostitution or steals because she thinks it is the only way to go, would be likewise penalised.

But teens who go around terrorising others could well get away with a slap on the wrist…unless the people who have anything to do with it realise that Amy could have been their daughter.

I do not make any reference to the excuse for this beating, as evidenced by the boys’ spiteful words, on purpose. The motivation for it could run much deeper than a mere hatred for people with a different lifestyle from the one embraced by the muggers. Yobs beat up people for many reasons – theft, dares, racism, emulating action heroes, love affairs gone awry… or simply boredom.

Who’s to know what was really inside the minds of these self-styled heavies when they assaulted Amy and her friend, despite what they were reported to have said?

All I want is to see Amy’s rights, as well as those of people who become victims of hooligans for any reason, respected. There are no excuses; the victims and the attackers (as well as the place from where the verbal taunts began) have been identified; the bruises and cuts have been recorded on film.

Prevention is better than cure – and if this case is used as a deterrent, we might have less crime on the streets, literally and figuratively.




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