Thursday, March 29, 2012
Some justice at last in Britain: Father who killed burglar with meat cleaver to end 'harrowing and brutal' attack was 'justified', coroner rules
Why was he arrested in the first place? The British police HATE self-defence
A terrified father who killed a burglar by hitting him in the head with a meat cleaver was justified in his actions, a coroner ruled yesterday.
Xiaopeng Wang had been bludgeoned with a wheel brace and his wife punched in the face as she cradled their two-year-old daughter after Steven Shaw and his brother Craig raided their home on a notorious estate in the middle of the night.
A court heard the brothers subjected taxi driver Mr Wang and his family to a ‘harrowing and brutal attack’ lasting 15 minutes.
The violence stopped only when Mr Wang, now 33, found a meat cleaver and hit Steven Shaw with it, causing a ‘sharp force trauma’ to his head. The burglar, 32, was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital.
Police initially launched a murder inquiry and arrested four people, including Mr and Mrs Wang, now 32, and the victim’s brother. But no charges were ever brought against the couple after it was accepted Mr Wang had acted in self-defence.
Police established the brothers had been targeting another person they thought lived at the address. When they realised they had the wrong victim, they decided to demand money from the Wangs anyway.
Craig Shaw, 21, later admitted aggravated burglary and was jailed for eight-and-a-half years in December. Sentencing him at Nottingham Crown Court, Judge Michael Stokes said Mr Wang had been ‘fully entitled’ to pick up the cleaver to defend his family.
The incident happened after Mr Wang was marched into the sitting room of his home on Nottingham’s Bestwood Estate to get cash for the burglars. He hit Shaw with the cleaver a number of times as the burglar attacked his wife and daughter.
Recording a verdict of lawful killing at an inquest in Nottingham on Monday, coroner Mairin Casey said: ‘The defensive action taken by Mr Wang was proportionate and justified. ‘This was a harrowing and brutal experience for them, and I understand they are still traumatised.’
The inquest heard Steven Shaw punched Mrs Wang in the face and pulled her hair to force her to watch as her husband was assaulted. He was left with blood streaming into his eyes from a head wound.
Toxicology reports found traces of cocaine and alcohol in Shaw’s bloodstream.
Miss Casey said: ‘Mr Wang and his family were subjected to extreme violence and trauma. In the course of the action, Mr Wang assaulted Steven Shaw, causing catastrophic injuries which led to his death.’
A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: ‘When deciding whether to prosecute any offence, the CPS will consider the Code for Crown Prosecutors and any relevant guidance. The CPS has published guidelines concerning the reasonable use of force in cases where householders choose to defend themselves or their property.
‘In this case, these guidelines were applied and the CPS accepted that the householder had acted in self-defence, and that the correct course of action was to proceed with charges of aggravated burglary against the intruder and to take no further action against the householder.’
Residents in the street where the attack took place said police moved the Wangs to a secret location after the incident, telling their former neighbours: ‘You won’t be seeing them again.’
A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Police said yesterday the family remained ‘very traumatised’ and had since moved out of the region to make a fresh start.
Cantuar grows some balls
Society is in danger of becoming fragmented by a preoccupation with homosexual rights, feminism and separate racial identities, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned. Dr Rowan Williams claimed that identity had become a ‘slippery’ word and that, while much had been achieved for minority groups, it was time to focus on the common good.
In a speech to teenagers in Cardiff, the Archbishop, 61, warned of a ‘pendulum swinging back’.
In a separate address to members of the Welsh Assembly in the city, he also attacked a culture of dependence on welfare handouts, which he said was harmful to society and ‘not good news’.
Dr Williams, who is stepping down as leader of the Anglican communion later this year, has always supported gay rights and has also promoted the cause of women bishops during his tenure.
Since announcing his resignation earlier this month, at a time of continuing rancour inside the Church over both those topics, the Archbishop has made a series of outspoken interventions.
He signalled last week that he plans to use his final months in office to speak out forcefully on issues about which he feels passionate.
In his speech to the teenagers, he said: ‘Identity politics, whether it is the politics of feminism, whether it is the politics of ethnic minorities or the politics of sexual minorities, has been a very important part of the last ten or 20 years because before that I think there was a sense that diversity was not really welcome.
‘And so minorities of various kinds and … women began to say, “Actually we need to say who we are in our terms, not yours” and that led to identity politics of a very strong kind and legislation that followed it.
'We are now, I think, beginning to see the pendulum swinging back and saying identity politics is all very well but we have to have some way of putting it all back together again and discovering what is good for all of us and share something of who we are with each other so as to discover more about who we are.’
He added: ‘Identity isn’t just something sealed off and finished with … it’s always work in progress. ‘Once we start saying, “This is my identity and that’s it” then I think we are in danger of really fragmenting the society we belong to.’
Canon Giles Goddard, chairman of Anglican group Inclusive Church, which campaigns for female and homosexual bishops, said talk of pendulums swinging back was premature.
He said: ‘We have got a long way to go yet. We have to achieve full equality which is the removal of barriers to full participation of what I call accidents of birth. We haven’t removed these in society and we certainly haven’t removed them in the Church yet.’
In his speech to the Assembly, Dr Williams also spoke of ‘spiralling’ differences between rich and poor but warned of the dangers of dependence on the state.
He said: ‘There is a problem about dependency, there is a problem about assuming somebody else resolves the problems and there is certainly a problem about centralised state provision as the solution to everything.
‘And those who have recently from both left and right pointed out that welfarism is not good news for those who want a mutually responsible active, creative community have not been wrong.’
Middle class children 'are held back by childcare' as they suffer 'significant declines' in their development
The proper place for little children is in a loving home
Middle class children are adversely affected by time spent in childcare, a study claims.
They suffer ‘significant declines’ in their development, health and standards of behaviour, researchers found.
The poorest youngsters benefit from being in nurseries or with childminders, and wealthy parents can afford the highest quality childcare.
But youngsters in the middle – the ‘lion’s share’ of the population – fall behind in developmental tests, suffer more ill health and behave more aggressively.
The study, being presented today at the Royal Economic Society’s annual conference, suggests that childcare leads to a substantial drop-off in parents’ involvement in their children’s upbringing.
The damaging effects are most marked for boys and for youngsters aged from birth to two, prompting the researchers to suggest that childcare may not ‘be suited for children aged zero to two’.
Academics from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, studied a highly subsidised childcare scheme in Quebec. Families who took part in the scheme were compared with similar families elsewhere in Canada, with 10,000 youngsters a year being studied.
Children were assigned a series of scores for their development and behaviour, based on the results of assessments and questionnaires.
Childcare was found to significantly improve development for disadvantaged children. But the ‘lion’s share of the population experienced significant declines in motor-social development and health measures as well as increased behavioural problems’, the study found.
It added: ‘The reported benefits for children with least advantage, the grounds on which universal childcare is often justified, stands opposite to negative outcomes for the bulk of children.’
Australia: Truth falls victim to the sparkling stone
"Finkelstein" is German/Yiddish for sparkling stone or gemstone. Judge Finkelstein seems to think he's one. Britain has a similar inquiry into the press that is still ongoing -- under Lord Justice Leveson. One hopes its recommendations will be less Fascistic
TELL the truth. Speak truth to power. These phrases are so familiar that we rarely stop to understand them. But in a coming age of censorship heralded by political phenomena such as hate speech legislation and the Finkelstein inquiry, humanity's relationship with truth is at breaking point.
Universities are partly to blame for events such as the Finkelstein inquiry. There is a veritable canon stretching from Russell Jacoby's The Last Intellectuals to Paul Berman's The Flight of the Intellectuals, which documents the fate of academics from the Left and Right who dared to tell unpalatable truths. Many were exiled or resigned their university posts on pain of ostracism.
Australian academics' latent refusal to have their intellectual activity monitored by the new sector regulator, the Tertiary Education and Quality Standards Agency, breathed life into the idea of intellectual freedom. But it doesn't appear to have vivified the liberty of the press.
The Finkelstein recommendations may do to the media in the 21st century what was done to higher education in the 20th.
Finkelstein, with his panel of lawyers and academics, proposes meta-regulation of the press under the lunatic pretext that gagging freedom of speech will expand democracy. They commend a progressive silencing of the press as beneficial to the public interest because "often readers are not in a position to make an appropriately informed judgment about the news". I beg your pardon?
Almost 100 pages later, we are told why we readers are apparently so witless: "Because of information asymmetry, readers are seldom in a position to judge the quality of news stories."
Information asymmetry sounds very much like the obfuscating language introduced into the higher education humanities by postmodernists in the 1980s and 1990s.
It was inevitably accompanied by the claim that there was no such thing as objective truth, the acceptance of which was supposedly prerequisite to social justice. Fret not, fellow witless reader; I never understood it either.
In fact, the culture of contemporary censorship makes little sense until you read the finest analysis of political phenomena such as the Finkelstein inquiry by philosopher John Ralston Saul: "The idea of governments invoking the public interest, as a justification for taking unjust or illegal action, has been with us since the French satirist Mathurin Regnier coined the phrase in 1609. Now raison d'etat is being turned into a blanket principle: the technocrat knows best."
On the 20th anniversary of Voltaire's Bastards, Ralston Saul has never looked more prescient. The technocrats became cultivated in their craft at leading universities that, by the 1970s, had come to resemble management schools.
What technocrats don't understand is the nature of truth; how to search for it, how to prove or disprove it and what to do with it. Their lack of knowledge about truth proves a significant impediment to the formation of public policy based on principle, rather than partisan political ideology.
The Finkelstein review's great undoing is that is has not established truth. It is deeply methodologically flawed, with statements of fact that lack supporting evidence, a line of causative argument without established cause and effect, and recommendations, however persuasively put, that consequently lack credibility.
A major claim of the report is that the Australian media is failing the public interest. There are five examples of malicious media action provided late in the report and reference to the News of the World phone hacking scandal as the origin of the inquiry. But the core evidence provided for the apparent failure of the media and subsequent recommendation for meta-regulation of the free press is a series of opinion surveys.
As Plato, Socrates and Galileo would tell us, opinion, however popular, is not truth. Nor is perception proof. The statement "I don't trust the media", which appears in the surveys, tells us nothing about the state of the media. It tells us simply that someone doesn't trust it. Public mistrust may very well be the result of a newspaper fulfilling its duty to tell the truth. Imagine a 17th-century newspaper running a series of articles on Galileo's discovery that the world was round. The Finkelstein inquiry proposes that the news media should be regulated for perceived bias and balance. So what would Galileo's reporters do -- report that the world was round-ish?
The pursuit of truth, once the common ground of journalists and academics, was sustained as an intellectual tradition by classical liberal arts universities that taught formal logic as a method of deducing fact. Formal logic was devised by Plato, Socrates and Aristotle, championed by the Enlightenment freethinkers and revived by 20th- and 21st-century philosophers such as Bertrand Russell, Hannah Arendt and A.C. Grayling. The willingness to seek truth, the ability to deduce it and the courage to publish it are what make a citizen truly free. The philosophical and legal recognition of citizen freedoms, tempered by John Stuart Mill's principle of not causing harm to another, is what makes a state democratic. Regulating the free press in the manner recommended by the Finkelstein inquiry violates these principles.
Jacob Mchangama, a lecturer in international human rights at the University of Copenhagen, wrote that "respect for freedom of expression is the hallmark of free societies and the first right to be circumscribed by illiberal states". Eleanor Roosevelt, that great democrat who drafted the UN Declaration of Human Rights, might have agreed with him. Roosevelt warned humanity about the suppression of freedom under the guise of protecting citizens against hostile speech. She was concerned in particular with Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which has been used successfully to lobby for anti-vilification laws in Australia and other Western countries.
In combination with hate speech laws, the proposed media meta-regulation recommended by the Finkelstein inquiry transforms the future of 21st-century journalism. In the new media landscape, journalists will be allowed to create their sentences from a pre-approved vocabulary, draw their own inferences from a sanctioned pool of populism and publish their own conclusions within the parameters of state ideology. It's freedom y'all. Wake up and smell the doublespeak.
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.
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