Sunday, 4 January 2009

Crime and Punishment...

. This is a hard blog for me to write; I pride myself on trying to keep the personal and the political separate but on this occasion feel I can't, besides there is an element of catharsis. I hope the reader will indulge me just this once. I was mugged yesterday; my assailant asked me for a cigarette and lighter which I provided and then I was told not to move or be beaten while he frisked the rest of my pockets. I lost about £50 cash and my mobile phone and it seems somewhere along the line a bit of self-esteem too.

By far the worse feeling is a feeling of responsibility; I attempted to shout for help and was passed by (understandably) and gave momentary chase but I do feel I could have done more and that I 'asked for it' in a way. Rationally, I know neither of those things is true but that doesn't stop me feeling that way; and nothing will. Successful prosecution is unlikely because he had his face mostly concealed and even if it happened I know it would not change how I am feeling right now.

Words cannot begin to describe the whirl of fear and anger I felt as the event happened. It is all very much a blur and I have kept it that in a rather lame attempt at emotional suppression. I can walk out of my door and intend to keep doing so; I don't intend to let this make me a prisoner though right now I am in intermittent floods of tears and I know its going to be a few days before I am back to normal.

Politically, I don't intend to change any of my positions though I now know first-hand how tempting it is to want vengeance. Since it was an opportunist crime and the offender clearly was desperate I cant help but feel that confronted with the consequences of his actions he might change. I see no harm in bringing an offender face-to-face with their victim if it is possible in controlled circumstances; it might even show some people the damage they do and change their ways.

Looking at the debate on Liberal Conspiracy I can't help wanting the police to concentrate on catching criminals. Anti-social behaviour is something the community has to deal with within legal terms. Also, incidentally I know I am in no fit emotional state to determine a just punishment so cannot see how Labour's proposals to give people a say over punishments would be just; and as for putting the victim first as the Conservatives want to do, well, as I said restorative justice is simply an alien concept to my mind. Nothing can compensate me for how I feel now; nor can it compensate my poor partner for having to watch me go through this. The crucial thing is that victims have the support they need to work through their emotions; something which I now am trying to do.

Luckily, I am blessed in the support offered me. My partner deserves thanks for her above-and-beyond supportiveness. I would also like to publicly thank Leeds North West Liberal Democrats who have been very supportive and understanding (I was coming back from a leaflet drop at the time). Finally, I want to thank West Yorkshire Police who I know are doing everything they can and responded swiftly and efficiently.

Crime and punishment is a highly emotive political issue for precisely the reasons I am now feeling. This blog has been an attempt to offer a perspective....normal service will soon be resumed and I will be back to my usual, abrasive, self. :)

4 comments:

Chris Lovell said...

I know this is easy for me to say but don't let things like this get you down. Hope you feel better soon!

Darrell G said...

Chris,

Thank you :), I have no intention of letting it change me, just been a rough day today coming out of shock I think. I will be back bright and breezy in the office tomorrow and like I said intend to be back to my normal, politically combatative, self very soon indeed :)

Letters From A Tory said...

Sorry to hear about that, it sounds like a horrible thing to happen.

Darrell G said...

Thanks Letters :), ye it was...but i'm determined to not let it get to me...