Thursday, March 15, 2012
Myself or one of my friends would have to end up on the receiving end of one of these vendettas carried out by a nightmare family that most people only think could possibly exist in fiction like Eden Lake. Only it's not fiction is it. This happens to people daily across the UK who live in terror of their fellow "citizens" and are often left to suffer right up until the point someone is permanently injured or even killed.
He's a nice, well liked lad - an ex-soldier who always tries to do the right thing. Those of you who know me from Sheffield likely know him too. He was a Corp regular. He lives with his girlfriend and together their means are quite modest, so they live in "social" housing on one of Sheffield's less desirable estates. The cheaper rent enables them a few creature comforts - a few pets and a room for him to indulge in one of his favourite hobbies - making and painting airfix models.
Yet he has suffered a continual tirade of abuse, threats, assaults and damage to his property for over two years now from a family of neighbors who are - apparently - above the law. He's done nothing to provoke it. He's just a big, distinctive looking lad trying to get by and mind his own business. As is usual in these kind of affairs, the council and police take less interest than they would in cleaning dogshit off the street. And - as always - this intimidation just continues to escalate.
He's gone out of his way to do the right thing over the last year - recording as many of these incidents as possible, whether with audio devices, videos, photos or keeping a diary of events. He has submitted this regularly to Sheffield City Council and the police, to be met with indifference at best and - unbelievably - outright hostility at worst. He's shown more patience and restraint than anything I think I could have endured without snapping.
About a week ago it started to come to a head. His girlfriend was badly beaten when on the way back from the local shop. She didn't even see her attackers and they didn't steal anything.
Then the night before last they put through the windows of their house and camper van.
Due to the escalating threats and violence, he installed a CCTV system and filmed them in the act. He has shared the images with a few of us and I post a sample up here with his permission:
They did this while they were in the house. The bricks apparently just missed the cats and dogs.
The only time they have received any direct assistance from the police is when they happened to be outside the house on one of the occasions when he was being abused by one of the neighbors. They gave her an £80 on the spot fine and she said - with police present - that she would "do something about it" and "didn't care about the cameras".
In some parts of the U.S. he could have rightfully shot these people. After the windows were smashed they of course phoned the police only to be told there was no one available to look for the perpetrators as they only had one car in the area. He has recorded evidence of them stating "we're going to firebomb you both".
Yet only now has the council moved, after she has been beaten and their windows have been put through and even then all they are offering to do is find them emergency housing with a month's wait. And apparently the cats and dogs can't come. PCSOs visited them last week and told them (also recorded) that they would not arrest the neighbors as "It would only make things worse". His girlfriend got a phone call from the police last night telling them to remove any gas bottles from the van or fuel cans, "they have had info its going to be firebombed". No police came to their assistance of course. As regular readers will know, South Yorkshire Police Farce will apparently only work fast when doormen are involved (an easy target, being licensed by the state), or a university technician who provides free anonymous web hosting. Everyone else can just go rot apparently.
And on that note, I wanted to briefly highlight two other recent occurences by contrast. Richard O'Dwyer is to be extradited to the U.S. to probably face 10 years in prison for "copyright infringement", only the basis of that accusation is extremely tenuous anyway. As many have noted previously, he set up a site that provided links to such content but did not host it itself. It's a dangerous precedent to have been set. And the extradition link is even more tenuous - the U.S. has laid claim to him because the domain name he used was registered with a U.S. based registrar. Meanwhile, a pub which has been trading under the name of 'The Hobbit' for two decades is now facing legal trouble because of - you guessed it - a copyright infringement claim.
Why do I mention these? It's to give consequence to the 'Orwellian' part of the blog title above. Our society has reached an unbearably kafkaesque stage where minor infractions of vagaries such as "copyright infringement" are vigorously pursued whilst people on the receiving end of threats, violence and outright property destruction are left to fend for themselves. That's when they're not being victimised under the guise of the European Arrest Warrant that is.
The situation I've outlined above simply cannot end well. It should never have reached this stage anyway, though there is almost certainly more to come. He has a few handy mates. Something will snap at some point and this will be dealt with the old fashioned way. At which point the victims and whoever comes to their defence will be blamed as per usual in this fucked up society that I no longer recognise.
Much of this scenario leaves me too speechless to comment further except to say one thing with certainty:
I do not want to grow old in this country.