Thursday, November 26, 2015
A multicultural career criminal in Britain
A career criminal nicknamed 'Monster' who mowed down a five-year-old boy in front of his mother has been jailed more than 10 years after the schoolboy's death.
Nawnee Mackin, of Manchester, knocked down and killed little Samuel Walker as the youngster crossed the road with his mother and sister.
Mackin then 23 - who had no licence or insurance - then fled the scene in a Mitsubishi Gallant which was used as a 'pool car' for the estate where he lived.
He was jailed for nine years today for causing death by dangerous driving after being found guilty at Manchester Crown Court.
The case was reopened on the 10th anniversary of Samuel's death in 2013 and Mackin was later identified as the driver of the Mitsubishi which had been taken for a joyride around the Merseybank Estate in Chorlton. He was also picked out by Samuel's mother Jacqueline Tocmak in an identity parade.
The court heard that Samuel had been crossing Hardy Lane in Chorlton in February 2003 with his 11-year-old sister - who also witnessed him being struck, as they made their way to his grandmother's house. He was thrown up onto the car's bonnet and killed instantly days before his sixth birthday.
Prosecutor Mr Henry Blackshaw said that Mackin had been seen 'wheel-spinning' and driving 'aggressively' before the collision.
Tyres had been heard 'screeching' and his speed had been estimated at being between 40 and 50 mph.
Mackin - who had 30 previous offences on his record - drove from the scene after failing to stop and hiding his face as he went around a corner. The car was found abandoned after being reported stolen.
Mrs Tocmak said she never gave up on finding the man responsible for her son's death and would have 'fought for justice until the day I died'.
In a victim impact statement read to the court she said: 'Samuel was a wonderful child, he was bright and funny and he had a loving personality. He was observant and intelligent. As well as being my son he was my best friend.
'He was and always will be my angel. The day Samuel was killed my heart was ripped out. It is every parent's nightmare to lose a child.
'I have missed out on so many of the things that we as parents take for granted. My life was never the same again. He left my son in the road.
'There is not a day I do not think of Samuel. I often relive the events of that day. His sister then aged 11 saw him die. Twelve years later she still cries herself to sleep. Getting justice for Samuel has brought me a step closer for closure for my family and I.'
In passing sentence Judge Andrew Blake said it had been a 'tragic, tale of wanton driving'.
The judge said: 'You killed that little boy, something which you must have known was highly likely almost immediately. Nonetheless you drove on in the hope you would get away with it.
'You ploughed right through the group hitting Sam who at the last moment turned back towards his mother no doubt sensing the danger.'
The judge added that he had been witnessed committing the crime but was not reported to the police because of the 'moral code against criminals of no grassing'.
He added: 'This is as bad a case of death by dangerous driving as I have had the misfortune to deal with. The wanton driving, the callous disregard for life and the carefully orchestrated cover up are all matters which aggravate the offence.'
Mackin, now 35, was also disqualified from driving for 10 years.
Free speech: our best weapon in the war for the West’s soul
It may have been a deliberate sick joke or just another irony of history. But either way, it seemed symbolic that two of the terror attacks in Paris, including the bloodiest assault at the Bataclan theatre, took place on Boulevard Voltaire.
That Parisian thoroughfare is named after the eighteenth-century revolutionary writer Francois-Marie Arouet, known by his pen name Voltaire, who is associated with all the values that those Islamist terrorists despise. Most famously, Voltaire is widely credited with the historic declaration (actually formulated by his biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall as a summation of his views) that ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’. Those words ring down the centuries, encapsulating the Enlightenment ideals of free speech and tolerance with which IS and its ilk are at war today.
The appearance of the name Voltaire in the midst of last Friday’s slaughter was a reminder of that which we should hold dear in these times of conflict. It should also serve as a reminder that free speech remains the best weapon we have to defeat the enemies of freedom. That has often been forgotten in the rush to suppress ‘dangerous’ words and ideas in the aftermath of the latest Paris outrage, and of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in January.
This war is not only a military conflict over territory in the Middle East. It is a cultural and political battle for the future of the West itself, for the soul of an ostensibly free and civilised society. The danger is not that IS or similar will destroy our freedoms – no terrorist has the power to do that. The danger is that our fearful response to terror will itself further undermine freedom; that we will not simply lose this war, but surrender without a fight.
Reactions to Paris have already illustrated the pusillanimous attitude that prevails towards liberties in general and free speech in particular among the West’s elites. They begin by reaffirming the need to defend our freedoms and values in principle. Then they swiftly cut to the chase and start attacking freedom of speech in practice.
Thus on Monday, the French authorities announced that they had launched more than 150 raids on ‘militant targets’ – not only to hunt for armed terror suspects, but also to round up people who espouse dangerous ideas. France’s prime minister Manuel Valls said that the government was using its special powers under the state of emergency ‘to question people who are part of the radical jihadist movement… and all those who advocate hate of the republic’. Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said this offensive was the start of a crackdown that would lead to the ‘dissolution’ of ‘hate-preaching mosques’ across the country.
These raids followed on from the French authorities’ post-Charlie Hebdo campaign to silence ‘hate speech’ attributed to Islamist extremists and ‘Islamophobic’ racists alike. The crackdown involves new measures against ‘hatred online’, the deportation of radical preachers and tougher legal penalties for hate speech and racism.
After the Charlie Hebdo massacre in January and the related murders at a Parisian Jewish supermarket, notorious anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala was arrested and convicted of ‘condoning terrorism’ for tweeting ‘I feel like Charlie Coulibaly’ – a mash-up of ‘Je suis Charlie’ with the name of the kosher supermarket killer, Amedy Coulibaly. Ironic joke or attempted justification for violence, it was only words, and only one word – Coulibaly – made it controversial. Yet it earned Dieudonné a suspended jail sentence. The French authorities thus made clear that they would fight to the death for the right of people to say things of which the government and the judges approve.
In the UK, the official response to Friday’s slaughter in Paris was to affirm the British state’s support for freedom, while warning of the dangers of taking free speech too literally and speaking out of turn. One foolish woman who posted on Facebook that her Oxfordshire beauty salon would no longer accept bookings ‘from anyone from the Islamic faith’ was not only pilloried by social-media users but also reported to the police and arrested for publishing ‘written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting with the intention of stirring up racial hatred’. Which might seem a heavy-handed state response for advertising your reluctance to do somebody’s nails.
Meanwhile Brit comedian Jason Manford’s Facebook account was suspended after he posted that the Paris attackers were ‘Fucking cowards. Slaughtering innocent unarmed people for what? In whose name? Cos I’ve got news for you, if you think your “god” is gonna reward you for this type of atrocity then your god is a massive cunt. You are a shit stain on all of humanity.’ Harsh but fair some might think, but apparently enough to have Facebook reaching for the ‘Dislike – and Take Down’ button.
Slightly higher up in the UK cultural stratosphere, Economist writer Edward Lucas penned a classic piece of contemporary nonsense in which he effectively argued that in order to defend our freedoms, we must ‘compromise’ (aka sacrifice) some of them, including free speech. Civilisation, declared Lucas, ‘is a cause. We should fervently sing its praises, practise its principles at home and promote them abroad’. And how should we ‘practise its principles’? By accepting that we will have fewer freedoms and more constraints on democracy. And by purging our enemies from ‘social media or the comment fields of mainstream news organisations’. Of course Lucas insists that his proposal ‘does not constrain free speech’ – a sure sign these days that it would do precisely that.
Meanwhile, a 21-year-old toddler from Todmorden in West Yorkshire was arrested for posting an infantile Facebook rant in praise of the terror attacks. The unnamed idiot wrote that ‘My brothers did well in Paris. Now we have proved that there’s a bit of intelligence, planning and synchronisation going into our killings. WE ARE ISIS, THIS IS OUR TIME NOW. Keep your eyes on Manchester, AALUUACKHBAAR! Rip Jihadi John.’
His post met with a robust response from other Facebook users, and disappeared after 45 minutes. In the meantime, however, somebody had reported the jihadi groupie to West Yorkshire Police, who arrested him ‘for publishing material intending to incite racial hatred…West Yorkshire Police take this behaviour seriously, especially in light of the recent events in Paris.’ Why West Yorkshire Police should take this overgrown boy’s behaviour so seriously is unclear, since it appears unlikely that ‘intelligence and planning’ about an IS attack on Manchester would be posted on Facebook from his mum’s back bedroom in Todmorden, and the only ‘hatred’ he seems likely to incite is of himself. Free speech is for fools and fanatics, too.
In the aftermath of Charlie Hebdo and the latest Paris atrocities, it might be tempting to imagine going along with government attempts to crack down on ‘radical’ opinions and censor extremists in our universities. Wouldn’t it be good if we could simply gag them with the UK’s 2015 Counter-Terrorism and Security Act, and kick them off campus and social media, if not out of the country, altogether?
But such simple authoritarian solutions to offensive ideas won’t work. Trying to defend freedom by banning its enemies, to uphold our belief in free speech by censoring those who disagree, would be both wrong in principle and worse than useless in practice. What we need to do is fight them on the intellectual and political beaches, not try to bury the issues in the sand. The big problem Western society faces is not how to stop radical Islamists espousing their beliefs; it is how best to make a compelling case for what ‘we’ are supposed to believe in. Free speech is the potential solution, not the problem.
This should not be seen as a concession to the enemy, either. In the war over the future of the West, free speech is the greatest weapon in civilisation’s armoury. Our culture’s internal arguments about values today are often characterised by confusion rather than clarity. How are these problems to be resolved? Not by being afraid of and trying to exclude some ideas on any side, but by open argument in which all points of view can fight it out. Not by creating ‘safe zones’ and restricting debate to the same blandly conformist opinions, but by letting speech run free in a no-holds-barred debate.
The fight for free speech has been key to the historic struggle that has brought humanity from the caves to something approaching civilisation. It is how we decide what we believe to be the truth. That is why the freedom to question everything has been central to the advance of everything from scientific progress to political democracy. Today we need it more than ever.
One word which has come up in many responses to the Paris attacks is ‘Tolerance’. Yet that powerful notion is often abused. ‘Tolerance’ has been turned into a call for censoring ideas deemed too offensive or extreme, through slogans such as ‘we cannot tolerate intolerance’. This is the opposite of true tolerance, which means tolerating the expression of opinions you fiercely disagree with – in order that you might then challenge them in a battle to the bitter end.
That was the spirit of Voltaire’s famous, attributed, motto about defending to the death your right to say things with which we disagree. Or as he put it in his own words, ‘Think for yourself, and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so, too’. Today by contrast, from the university campus to the post-Paris media, our culture is coming under the influence of those I call the reverse-Voltaires, whose slogan is ‘I know I will despise what you say and I will fight to the end of free speech for my right to stop you saying it’.
This is not about upholding an abstract principle. Free speech remains a practical weapon to deal with the enemies of liberty. The alternative, of seeking to ban them and get the genie back in the bottle, can only store up more trouble and lend them perverse credibility as victims of censorship.
It is a hard truth about free speech that the acid test is always standing up for ‘freedom for the thought that we hate’, at the same time as exercising our own freedom ruthlessly to challenge it. In the end it is only those ideas deemed extreme or offensive that need defending on free-speech grounds. The mainstream can look after itself. Nobody ever tries to ban an opinion for being too mundane.
Should we really be scared of speech from bearded Islamists or hair-teasing Islamophobes? Must we turn the whole of our society into a campus-style ‘safe zone’, where we are all to be protected from offensive words that are viewed as if they were automatic weapons?
If we are not going to defend the civilisation-founding liberty of free speech, then what are we supposed to be fighting for in this war?
The feminists who want to silence men
If there’s one person who epitomises the University of York’s notable alumni, it’s Harriet Harman.
The Labour MP studied politics there in the early 1970s before becoming a lawyer and, subsequently, a politician who — not long ago — believed that touring Britain in a pink van might dismantle the ‘patriarchy’ (otherwise known as civilisation, to you and I; something men created, but women have long enhanced, benefited from and now co-own).
Needless to say, she was wrong. On paper her approach may have had all the hallmarks of a PR success story, but in today’s climate it simply smacked of tired tactics. Still, by the University of York’s standards, it was probably A-grade stuff. After all, stale with esoteric feminist professors and their wacky take on reality, they too remain locked in Harman’s time-warped mindset.
Earlier this week, the college u-turned plans for a modest International Men’s Day (IMD) meeting — even though it coincided with a parliamentary discussion on the 19 November event.
The reason? Melodramatic ‘outrage’ from the sisterhood.
Yep, rent-a-gob gender warriors — who, I often find, are some of the most privileged people in the world — decided that men responsibly discussing their collective issues (suicide, schools failing boys, fathers’ rights, violent partners, MGM, the life expectancy gap, etc) without feminist supervision was too risky of inducing a riot — or, at the very least, a hashtag.
This was despite the fact that, 24 hours earlier, a fellow student had tragically killed himself.
Still, in an open letter signed by 200 people (many of whom were former students or, more worryingly, incumbent lecturers) they declared: ‘A day that celebrates men’s issues – especially those outlined in the university’s statement – does not combat inequality, but merely amplifies existing, structurally imposed, inequalities [sic]. Men’s issues cannot be approached in the same way as discrimination towards women, because women are structurally unequal to men.’
It continued: ‘We recognise that patriarchy is damaging to both men and women. We do not, however, believe that the university statement engages with these complex issues with sufficient nuance or understanding. The failure of the Equality and Diversity Committee to do so undermines their self-proclaimed commitment to gender equality, and leaves us deeply concerned that their supposed investment in women’s rights is mere lip service.’
In other words: other narratives mustn’t threaten the lucrative status quo they’ve spent years cultivating.
It’s almost like competitive victimhood. Except, err, young women in further education are anything but victims, making feminism increasingly redundant for them.
Granted, this might be bittersweet news if you’re heavily invested in it’s ongoing survival, but, trust me, it’s ultimately a good thing. That’s surely what we’ve been working towards: men and women largely being equal, at least in terms of inequality, or lack thereof.
Perhaps somebody should tell campus feminists this because, judging by their poor level of enlightenment on the matter, they need some serious de-programming.
Earlier this year, spiked published the Free Speech University Rankings (FSUR), which highlighted the scale of the intolerance problem. They found that 80 per cent of UK colleges censor debate and expression; much of this is done by NUS officers preoccupied with Page 3, boisterous sports teams and Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, rather than anything pertinent.
But why? Certainly not for PR purposes. This latest battle has been humiliating, with the likes of Leeds Becket University — which is hosting its own IMD event - instantly appearing demonstrably younger, smarter and progressive than York by default.
So what gives? Is it more that, like George Orwell once said, the war is not meant to be won, but to be continuous?
Christina Hoff Somers, academic and host of YouTube’s Factual Feminist, thinks so. When I interviewed her earlier this year she told me: ‘In the early 1990s, I — along with several other feminist scholars (Wendy Kaminer, Daphne Patai, Camille Paglia, Mary Lefkowitz, Katie Roiphe, to name a few) — went to battle against the hardline, sex-panicked conspiracy feminists like Andrea Dworkin.
‘My side won the arguments, but their side quietly assumed all of the assistant professorships. So colleges are now full of gender scholars who instruct students on the ravages of the capitalist, hetero-patriachal system and its “rape culture”. Everywhere we hear about “micro-aggressions”, “trigger warnings”, and the toxicity of masculinity.’
At the Battle Of Ideas weekend in London last month, she added: ‘We won the battle, but they won the war. The question now is whether they can hold on to that power…’
The fact there’s already a 1,000-strong petition to reinstate the University of York’s Men’s Day event suggests not. Especially as, rather brilliantly, it was started by a woman.
Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission finds all Catholic Bishops might have a “case to answer”
A news story in The Australian this morning indicates that the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission has found a preliminary “case to answer” in relation to a claim of sexual orientation discrimination against not only the Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteous, but also “all Australia’s Catholic bishops.”
We have known for some time that Greens political candidate Martine Delaney had made a complaint against Archbishop Porteous, but the additional feature of the decision of the Anti-Discrimination Commission is the inclusion of other Catholic Bishops from all around Australia.
The booklet distributed to parents of students at Roman Catholic schools by Archbishop Porteous is entitled, “Don’t Mess with Marriage,” and was produced by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
The booklet eschews all forms of “unjust discrimination,” and goes on to say, “some suggest that it is unjustly discriminatory not to allow people with same-sex attraction to marry someone of the same sex. Others believe that marriage is an institution uniting a man and a woman. We wish by this pastoral letter to engage with this debate, present the Church’s teaching to the faithful, and explain the position of the Catholic faithful to the wider community.”
It continues: “the traditional view of marriage, which the Church has always supported, is different. It sees marriage as about connecting the values and people in our lives which otherwise have a tendency to get fragmented: sex and love, male and female, sex and babies, parents and children. This view has long influenced our law, literature, art, philosophy, religion and social practices. On this view, marriage includes an emotional union, but it goes further than that. It involves a substantial bodily and spiritual union of a man and a woman.
“Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships will have far reaching consequences for all of us. The world around us influences the communities in which we live. Cultural and legal norms shape our idea of what the world is like, what’s valuable, and what are appropriate standards of conduct. And this in turn shapes individual choices. That’s one of the main purposes of marriage law: to enable and encourage individuals to form and keep commitments of a certain kind. But if the civil definition of marriage were changed to include ‘same-sex marriage’ then our law and culture would teach that marriage is merely about emotional union of any two (or more?) people.”
The legal status of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, and whether it claims to represent, for example, the views of every Roman Catholic Bishop in Australia, is unclear. But it must also be said that it would be somewhat odd if a Tasmanian tribunal were legally able to exercise authority over Bishops who operate in other states of Australia.
The more important issue, of course, is whether the law will continue to protect the religious freedom of churches and believers to maintain and teach within their own communities the historical views of Christianity about marriage and sexuality.
These issues are brought sharply into focus when some of those supporting “marriage equality” consider this sort of attempted widespread suppression of speech and religious freedom a reasonable policy stance.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.