Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Black brutes who killed grandfather outside mosque sent down for a total eight years... but could walk free in months
Harrowing images of the moment a Muslim pensioner was killed outside a mosque by two members of a 'happy slapping' gang were released by appalled police yesterday.
They show how deeply religious Ekram Haque, 67, was struck to the ground in front of his three-year-old granddaughter Marian after being ambushed by the delinquent pair.
Little Marian can be seen trying to comfort her grandfather, who suffered irreparable brain damage and died a week after the assault last August.
The attack happened only minutes after Mr Haque and his granddaughter had attended prayers in the mosque for the holy season of Ramadan.
Yesterday a court order was lifted, allowing Mr Haque's killers - Leon Elcock, now 16, and Hamza Lyzai, now 15, both of Tooting, South-West London - to be named.
But to the disgust of the dead man's family, gang leader Elcock was locked up for only four-and-a-half years and Lyzai for three-and-a-half years.
Mr Haque's son Arfan, 35, attacked the Crown Prosecution Service for dropping murder charges against the pair. He said: 'Justice has not been served. I have been let down. The CPS really need to buck up their ideas because people are getting away with murder. My father died. It's a disgrace.'
He added that his daughter Marian still has nightmares about the attack. The Old
Bailey heard that Elcock and Ugandan-born Lyzai approached Mr Haque from opposite directions and both landed blows to his head, which felled him.
The pair pleaded guilty to manslaughter and also admitted their parts in other assaults. Brian Altman, QC, prosecuting, said the series of 'wanton and cowardly' attacks were 'deliberately targeted on middle-aged and elderly men for fun and for the defendants' own pleasure'.
He said of the attack on Mr Haque: 'It is a case of two youths creeping up on a defenceless, elderly and vulnerable man minding his own business and deliberately attacking him with the obvious intention to do him some harm.
'The two blows did not themselves inflict serious injury. It was the all too familiar tale of a blow stunning or rendering Mr Haque unconscious by which he fell backwards, hitting the back of his head, suffering a complex fracture leading to secondary brain injury of which he died a week later.'
The death of the retired care worker was the culmination of a series of 'happy slapping' incidents recorded on mobile phone cameras.
Only 20 seconds before the fatal assault on Mr Haque the two killers, then aged 14 and 15, had assaulted two other men in the same road with a 14-year-old friend.
Elcock and the 14-year-old, who cannot be named, had also attacked a married elderly couple five days before, kicking and stamping on them in their own home. A series of 'happy slapping' clips were found stored on the 14-year-old's mobile phone. The gang regularly filmed the attacks under the name 'Lane Gang Productions'.
A short clip shot by the unnamed 14-year-old showed Elcock hitting a bus driver who was talking on his mobile phone during a rest period.
The 14-year-old had been permanently excluded from school and was being educated at a centre for unruly children. Elcock and Lyzai had been due to face trial for murder-but the prosecution accepted pleas to lesser offences after reviewing the evidence.
In addition to manslaughter, Elcock - who at the time of Mr Haque's death was on police bail for a previous happy slapping attack - admitted four counts of causing actual bodily harm.
He has spent almost a year in custody already and will be freed once he has served two years and three months, half the term he received. Lyzai, who also admitted two counts of assault, has served almost a year in custody and will be freed within months.
Their friend, now 15, admitted four counts of causing actual bodily harm and was given a six-month detention and training order. He has spent 324 days in custody and will be released immediately.
Judge Martin Stephens, QC, told the killers: 'As a result of your so-called bit of fun he [Mr Haque] was deprived of a full and contented life, and his family of a devoted, inspiring and beloved father and grandfather.'
Mr Haque was born in Calcutta and moved to Belfast in search of work in 1972. He met his wife there and they moved to London in the 1980s. He worked in textiles, later becoming a warden in a home for the disabled. He retired last year.
His son said: 'My father was a very loving individual. He gave his time to anybody and everybody. It is tragic he died in the way he did, he was such a peaceful man.'
Faith may be good for you
Don't scoff at those lucky rabbit feet. New research indicates that having some kind of "lucky" token can actually improve your performance by increasing your selfconfidence.
"I watch a lot of sports, and I read about sports, and I noticed that very often athletes also famous athletes hold superstitions," said Lysann Damisch of the University of Cologne in Germany.
New research shows that having some kind of "lucky" token can actually improve your performance by increasing your selfconfidence. Above, a necklace with traditional goodluck tokens.
Michael Jordan wore his college team shorts underneath his NBA uniform for good luck; Tiger Woods wears a red shirt on tournament Sundays, usually the last and most important day of a tournament.
"I was wondering, why are they doing so?" Damisch hypothesized that a belief in superstition might help people do better by improving their confidence. With colleagues Barbara Stoberock and Thomas Mussweiler, also of the university, she designed a set of experiments to see if activating people's superstitious beliefs would improve their performance on memory and dexterity games.
In one of the experiments, volunteers were told to bring a lucky charm with them. Then the researchers took it away to take a picture. People brought in all kinds of items, from old stuffed animals to wedding rings to lucky stones. Half of the volunteers were given their charm back before the test started; the other half were told there was a problem with the camera equipment and they would get it back later.
Volunteers who had their lucky charm did better at a computer memory game, and other tests showed that this difference was because they felt more confident, she said. They also set higher goals for themselves.
Just wishing someone good luck with "I press the thumbs for you," the German version of crossing your fingers improved volunteers' success at a task that required manual dexterity, the scientists reported. The findings are published in the research journal Psychological Science.
Of course, even Michael Jordan lost basketball games sometimes. "It doesn't mean you win, because of course winning and losing is something else," said Damisch. "Maybe the other person is stronger."
Immunized against Failure
Pick up any self-help book at the local bookstore (or, in more modern parlance, order it via your Kindle or iPad) and you’ll invariably read a collection of quotes about failure. Most of these quotes frame failure as an opportunity to learn from mistakes; success is defined as enduring failure numerous times until you reach a favorable outcome. One of the qualities that makes America so unique is the freedom to fail continually until you finally reach your goal.
Some of America’s greatest political and business leaders understood that failure isn’t a bad thing—unless you allow the verb to become a noun. Theodore Roosevelt observed, “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” And American tycoon Henry Ford commented, “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”
The great inventor Thomas Edison perfectly represented the unrestricted, can-do spirit of American inventiveness when he proclaimed, “Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something.” Americans want to accomplish something—but they need the freedom from government intrusion to do so—even if it means they might fail along the path to success.
More recently, Glenn Beck succinctly summed up America’s unparalleled opportunity this way: “The American experiment was about freedom. Freedom to be stupid, freedom to fail, freedom to succeed.”
If there is one overarching motivation for progressives, aside from their desire for control, it seems to be preventing failure. One way to achieve this is for all men to be the same (what progressives mislabel “equal”). If there is no difference, there is no opportunity for failure.
Another way to ensure no one fails is to place such restrictions on liberty that no risks are taken—the very risks that are necessary to achieve success. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. This seems benevolent, but really it’s the exact opposite. Why would a parent allow their child to ever remove the training wheels from their bicycle? After all, the child could fall and be injured. True, but then the child would never learn to really ride a bicycle and experience all the joys and freedom that skill provides.
Somewhere along the way, America’s confidence in itself was shaken to the core. Instead of abiding by its intrinsic instinct to risk failure for the option of great success, America suddenly flinched. Now every government policy, law or regulation is justified by how many people it will protect from failure, or from feeling the sting of their poor decisions. But protecting people from failure means that their freedom must necessarily be limited.
The Dodd-Frank financial reform bill was sold as a means to protect investors (and especially the little guy) from another financial crisis and the risk of losing their money. At 2,300 hundred pages long, the Wall Street Journal called it “the biggest expansion of government power over banking and markets since the Depression.” Such a pronouncement should send a chill down the spine of any capitalist.
One of the big selling points for the bill is getting rid of the “too big to fail” bailouts that were so odious to taxpayers during the Wall Street bailout. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner pronounced, “These reforms will benefit the prudent and constrain the imprudent.” (Interestingly, the bill doesn’t constrain the powers of the imprudent government that pushed the risky loans almost guaranteed to fail.)
Despite the claims of its proponents, the bill doesn’t actually address any of the problems that led to the financial meltdown. In explaining their opposition, many Republicans pointed out a glaring absence of any reforms for the two institutions at the center of the market crisis—Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Instead, it empowers unelected bureaucrats at 10 regulatory agencies to institute their own rules—estimated to be hundreds of new regulations that will be established over the next several years.
No wonder the market is so skittish these days—Wall Street can’t even read the laws that will govern it until regulators make up their minds at some point in the future. Government predictably fosters market stability.
And while the financial reform bill is supposed to protect average citizens from financial panics in the future, the new regulations will actually make it more difficult for businesses and consumers to get loans. The very people the bill was designed to aid will actually find their opportunities restricted. That’s a complete immunization against failure—never even having the opportunity to succeed or fail.
Australia: More child abuse in the name of child protection
Government "child protection" at work! And the doctors who were complicit in this pointless abuse are just as guilty
It was a decision no parent should have to make. When Mark and Dianne Westley were told their daughter Sarah was dying from a rare cancer, they refused chemotherapy - hoping to give her the best quality of life in the time she had left. But that choice was taken from them.
The Department of Community Services made Sarah a ward of the state and forced chemotherapy on her - a decision the Westleys said had a devastating impact on their daughter in the last months of her life.
Six years after Sarah's death the Westleys have now spoken against the DOCS intervention that they call an "incarceration", one of almost 7000 such decisions made every year to allow medical procedures on children.
"The forced treatment was a complete failure," the couple from Gloucester, north of Newcastle in New South Waels, said in a statement. "It was only after Sarah died that we got hold of the medical records and found out that Sarah already had late-stage cancer when she was first diagnosed and she was terminal when they forced her into having the painful treatments."
The Westleys relived their nightmare in the book Sarah's Last Wish, telling how the deadly ovarian tumour was first misdiagnosed as a pregnancy when their daughter was just 11.
They said their decision to refuse chemotherapy was only made after they found out as much as they could about the rare cancer.
"The authorities incarcerated Sarah in two NSW hospitals for most of 2003, where she was forced to have continuous rounds of chemotherapy for many months," the Westleys said. Between hospital visits Sarah was forced to attend school and, at times in the two years before her death, her parents were restricted to just two hours with their daughter each day.
DOCS figures showed in 12 months in 2008 and 2009, caseworkers acted on 6791 cases classified as "medical treatment not provided".
A spokeswoman said the cases could be as simple as chronic head lice or an untreated broken bone to parents refusing their child a blood transfusion for personal or cultural beliefs. "It is estimated that Community Services would receive approximately two cases each year in which parents refuse medical treatment for their child on the basis of cultural or personal beliefs," she said.
"In these matters, Community Services only intervenes based on expert medical opinion that a child or young person could be seriously harmed or even die without medical treatment."
In one case DOCS took a mother with an infectious disease to the Supreme Court to obtain an order for her child to be vaccinated.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.