Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 24 September 2014

We should be ashamed of our silence over evil attacks

The father of a 15-year-old boy who was attacked with hammers by a masked gang in Derry has described how he was stopped from running for help by a man wielding a gun.

So the father stood there powerless - he had no option - listening to his boy screaming as he was beaten.

"He was shouting, 'help me, help me.' I know if it was me, it would scare me," the father says, "so what's it going to do to a child?"

It is a good question. And another good question - what does such barbarism do to our society as a whole?

I have always felt that our tolerance of what used to be called "punishment style attacks" is despicable, immoral and something that history will rightly look back upon with uncomprehending abhorrence.

Ah, but we don't tolerate such attacks, you might say.

Well, we do ...

Where is the joint cross-community campaign against them? The general sense of revulsion and outrage so loudly and universally articulated that the evil morons who carry out such attacks are forced to stop?

A 15-year-old being beaten with hammers is something we'd rail against if we heard about it happening in some Third World hell-hole.

Here, it's something that we say we certainly don't support.

But still not something that galvanises the entire population into taking a concerted stand against it.

It's shocking, yes, but hardly remarkable because we've seen it, heard about it so many times.

And besides, what can we do about it?

Well, we can speak out against it for a start. Raise a clamour of our disgust.

There is no possible excuse on this earth for a child being beaten with hammers. It is evil and cruel and wrong.

It is intolerable.

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