I’ve been away from this thing known as the blogosphere for the last two days and Twenty, One for the Road and some others are rightly and really angry by the murder of two Polish men by some random punter on the street for refusing to buy him and his mates some booze. Shocking are these murders, really shocking – not that some aren’t. What these guys have done is horrific and the best thing now is for the local people to help the police catch these murderers and try them with the full rigour of the law available to the DPP. What’s encouraging is that some people have told what they can to the police. Some people in Drimnagh will not talk to the police because they have historical beef with them. What these people have done transcends any grudge you might have with the force. No amount of left wing hand wringing over social conditions or lack of educational opportunities can excuse the behaviour of the people who murdered two men who had been here merely nine months and had been getting on with their new lives in Dublin.
Calling the perpetrators scum and scumbags doesn’t really help things along. I think that this language tends to take away from the fact that it was one human being shoving a screwdriver into another’s head with such malice and deliberation. It is not as if there are words solely used for one group of people and the rest of us are human. I can understand the rush to judgement because it can be a way to release a frustration that you are powerless to do anything about it. We are not powerless in this situation though and calling them scum denies the connection between me as a middle class professional and these murderers. If we don’t have that link I think it makes it easier to ‘lock them up and throw away the key’ which is not the answer either.
Seeing the shots on the news allowed me to notice that the shops involved (pictured) are less than 3km from my bourgeois idyll with its bakery and friendly newsagent.
These ‘scum’ are the guys who pass me on the way into the supermarket, these ‘scum’ are the same guys I see driving behind me aggressively but of course they are also people. They’re my neighbours I guess. They are people who think that the right response to being refused a favour is to stab someone in the head. What did he think would happen by doing this? Are we afraid to use the one word that an older generation might use: evil? Has calling them scum merely replaced our revulsion and not understanding their actions allows us to separate ourselves further? I’m just asking because I suppose I am struggling with this myself.