Via Hell in a Handbasket
Stephen Griffiths is 40. He has never worked and has always lived at taxpayers’ expense. At 17, he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for cutting the throat (not fatally) of a supermarket security guard who tried to arrest him for shoplifting. In prison, doctors reported, Griffiths had a “preoccupation with murder—particularly multiple murder.” They diagnosed him as a violent psychopath; that is, he had an intractable personality development that made him likely to commit new violent offenses.
The doctors were right. Shortly after his release from prison, Griffiths committed more violent acts, including holding a knife to a woman’s throat, and wound up imprisoned once more. He was then sent from prison to Rampton, a high-security mental hospital; but again, the doctors diagnosed him as a psychopath for whom they could do nothing, and after two months they returned him to prison, from which he was soon—much too soon, as it turned out—released.
He remained violent toward women. He managed to convince a jury that he was innocent of the charge of pouring boiling water on, and badly burning, a sleeping girlfriend who had decided to leave him. Other girlfriends went to the police but were too terrified to testify in court, knowing that he would receive a short sentence at most. One girlfriend—whose legs he had cut with broken glass, whose nose he had broken, and whom he had knocked out—later told a reporter that he would attack her if she so much as looked at another man. When she left him, he hunted her down (despite court orders to stay away from her), slashed the tires of her car, and daubed the wall outside her apartment with the word “slag.” He was convicted of harassment in 2009.
Such was the man whom the University of Bradford selected to pursue a doctorate in homicide studies, a subdivision of the Department of Criminal Justice Studies, with fees and living expenses paid by the government. Though computer checks on the criminal records of prospective employees are now routine in Britain, and medical students are checked, applicants for doctorates in homicide studies apparently are not; or if they are, no notice is taken of what is found. Griffiths did not hide his propensities with any great cunning; why should he have bothered, in these nonjudgmental times of peace and tolerance toward all men? He kept hundreds of books about serial killers in his apartment, disclosed to his psychiatrists his intention to become a serial killer, and told girlfriends that he skinned and ate rats alive, adding that his ambition was to become even more notorious than the Yorkshire Ripper, a man who had killed 13 women in the 1970s. Nor did Griffiths hesitate to proclaim his oddity to the public; he used to take his pet lizards, which he also fed with live rats, for walks on a leash.
In 2009 and 2010, while pursuing his doctorate in the program, Griffiths killed and ate three women, two cooked and one raw, according to his own account. He later told the police that he had killed other women.
There's alot I could say:
*The UK's laws being such that a woman would not even be allowed to have pepper spray let alone a handgun.
*That this "man" lived off government money for his entire life.
*That the prisons and mental institutions were such revolving doors that they let him out, repeatedly, knowing he would cause more trouble.
*That the people around him saw such, clear, clear warning signs but it took CCTV footage of him murdering a person for him to be caught.
But.. really what takes it is this bit on how the media portrays the victims.
Assuming, then, that not everyone is driven to what he does by his own equivalent of drug addiction, the Guardian must assume that Wright’s and Griffiths’s victims were fundamentally different from you and me. Unlike us, they were not responsible for their actions; they did not make choices; they were not human in the fullest sense.
It helps to objectify the victim. It helps separate them from the rest of "good society". Because if serial killers and rapists and buglers could hit anyone... well that's scary.
Yes, certain activities will put you at greater risk of bad things happening, but there's nothing you can do to make you totally safe.
And the idea of safety being largely illusionary is frightening.
Nope. Better to look at it that "good people" don't get victimized.
Added: Similar thoughts from Jay G
Unless "be vigilant" is code for "put a Mossberg 500 under the counter", what they're setting up for is more compliant victims. What the hell good does "being vigilant" help when someone comes in with the intention of slaughtering everyone in the room? The pharmacist might have an eagle eye for details and everything, but that's not going to help if the perp starts firing when he walks in the door. The likelihood of an updated police patrol happening to be exactly where Donnie Druggie opens fire are vanishingly small.
Like it or not, you are your best line of defense - have, and carry about your person, the best tools for the job.