Posts Tagged ‘violence’

The slow progress of peace

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 | Thoughts

Earlier today, new figures for the UK Peace Index showed that murder and violent crime rates have fallen significantly over the last decade.

The figures, reported on BBC News, show that the murder rate has almost halved since 2003, and violent crimes have fallen by a quarter too.

Obviously this is good news. It’s easy to become demoralised about the state of society because an ever increasing global news coverage can sometimes bring out the worst. But the reality is that every year progress is made, the world gets better and people live longer and happier lives.

The Chisora Haye saga

Sunday, February 26th, 2012 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

As you’ve probably heard about Dereck Chisora and David Haye recently came to blows during a press conference in Munich.

Officials and commentators have called it a disgrace to the sport of boxing and suggested that the two boxers should be given life time bans – not to mention that the police might want to get involved.

But actually, it isn’t a disgrace. What is a disgrace, is that in this day and age, we as a society, still condone the idea of two men getting into a ring together and knocking the shit out of each other until one goes down to the count.

Surely incidents such as this show us what is wrong with boxing as a general concept? Two men beat each other unconscious outside of the ring and it’s a criminal offence – but do it inside a ring and you’re a world champion! How does that make sense? No wonder these guys have a bit of a punch up at a press conference when there how life is based around violence.

Of course, the libertarian view is that if two people choose to get into a ring and beat each other half to death, then they should be allowed to. But that doesn’t mean we should be condoning it as a society – being racist for example is legal; the way we control it is to condem it as a society. Why should boxing receive a special exception?

Ultimately, we can only hope that boxing will go the way of Fox Hunting – we’ll come to the realisation that it probably isn’t the best idea to let two men tear into each other until one of them lies a bruised mess on the floor.


Sunday, August 21st, 2011 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

As you may have noticed, we recently experienced some riots in the UK.

Everything was fine here in Leeds. Someone got shot in Chapeltown, but that is just a normal evening in Chapeltown. In fact, rather than a riot, we had a march of peace while other cities were kicking off. Good old Yorkshire values present such destruction, as we just stick kettle on instead (and it’s important to note I didn’t say stick the kettle on.

Two things I found interesting though.

Firstly, the amount of people who turn out to be rather right wing when it affects their lives. We should lock them up, evict them, beat school children with a cane and possibly bring back the death penalty should Facebook comments and tweets be believed.

Obviously we shouldn’t do this, we want to live in a fear-free progressive society, not a police state.

The second is that, the remaining people, though relatively few in number, seemed to think that those who were behind the riots, shouldn’t take much responsibility at all. It’s due to underlying social issues and the forgotten generation, so it isn’t their fault.

Of course this is equally nonsense. Even if there are underlying social causes, which there are, but rather contributing factors than absolute causes, people need to take some responsibility for their actions and nothing that took place in the past week is justified – stealing a loaf of bread for your starving family is justified, looting a shop isn’t.

So basically, if you expressed an opinion on the riots, you were probably wrong about it ;). But I look forward to blog posts from other people explaining to me why my middle of the road approach is nonsense as well… :D.

Lil is a bad person

Sunday, April 4th, 2010 | Friends, Life

I just wanted to make that clear for the record because I don’t really feel enough has been said about it.

Last week myself, Oli, George and Lil headed out for a night out which ended when Lil got really drunk, decided to attack a group of guys and earned Oli a rather beat up eye for his trouble when he tried to calm things down.

Still, spoils of war and all that, at least I got myself a nice new hat.

Violent video games don’t lead to violent crime

Monday, February 22nd, 2010 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

I was recently in a discussion about whether violent video games led to violent crime or not.

The main argument from the other side was “well, it’s just obvious isn’t it” and, on a slightly more substance based strand, “kids just think violence such as they experience on a video game is normal and acceptable.”

My argument was that there simply isn’t any evidence for this. I wasn’t going to chase it up or anything but I have work to do that I’m procrastinating from and as I saw a related article in the news just now, I thought I would double check my facts.

A quick consultation of the encyclopedia helpfully points out the bottom line – that Harvard Medical School and the British Medical Journal have both done studies into this topic “have shown no conclusive link between video game usage and violent activity.”

The fact is the evidence shows there isn’t a link between violent video games and kids going out and committing violent crimes.

But I would also goes as far as to say that, if you put some thought into it, it’s actually obvious that there isn’t a link. I think there are two main reasons for this.

The first is that Wikipedia also points out that over the past 20 years violent crime has been consistently in decline whereas sales of video games have been consistently growing. If there was a link we would expect that as more violent video games were sold, violent crime would increase. But it doesn’t. In fact it goes the opposite way. I’m not suggesting that violent video games actually decrease violent crimes but it certainly is evidence against the idea that encourage it.

Secondly, society hasn’t really got any more violent than it used to be.

Video games may be a relative new comer (although of course the ZX81 is actually older than I am) but the idea of violent games certainly isn’t. For years kids have been running around playing cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, playing with toy soliders and toy guns. Indeed my dad has often told me that one of the must have toys of his era was the Johnny 5 Gun, so called because it had five different modes of shooting. The only difference today is that kids run around a virtual world connected by their X Box Live rather than doing it in real life – which is arguably far more real than in a computer game.

Given these two reasons alone, it does not seem intuative that the popularisation of video games including some which are violent, would automatically lead to violent crime – and you would be right, because the evidence backs up that it doesn’t.

Saturday night’s alright (for working)

Sunday, May 31st, 2009 | Life

Yesterday there were no less than seven of us on the close.

I mean, what do you even do with that many staff? This only actually had an effect from 10pm or so onwards as we had a reduced night shift because of it but it did mean we walked out a little over half an hour after closing – the fastest close I’ve ever done.

With all the post-close drinking and talking I didn’t actually get home until gone 3:30 though where I found John, Tom and Michelle still up drinking after a rather eventful evening containing such wacky events as Liz punching B in the face. Crazy times.