Thursday, 15 January 2009

RIP Shaun

I had difficulty on Tuesday finding a subject on which to blog. Today, for the first time ever I am repeating a blog, for which I make no apology.The inquest of Shaun Dykes, aged seventeen took place on Wednesday and Thursday. The inevitable verdict was suicide and nothing will bring Shaun back. But hopefully some good may yet come out of this obscene tragedy. The police have called for the law to be changed so that they can enforce cordons even if there has been no crime committed at the time. The public revulsion in Derby also gives hope for the future. A group of his friends have talked of a lasting memorial to honour Shaun's memory. (Others could give Derby more credibility as a caring city by naming the individuals responsible for shouting abuse and placing photographs on You Tube and Facebook. An appeal to name those involved has proved fruitless, despite the seizing of CCT tapes and press photographs.) I did say at the time I would give the idiots concerned no more of my time. I changed my mind because it is obvious the majority are caring individuals, therein lies hope.
Saturday 4th October A City Shamed.
It was with some trepidation I joined the blogging world with my first blog on the 16th April. I enjoy the fact that amongst other things it helps keep a sixty eight year old mind active. This is my sixty second blog and for the first time it a blog I did not really want to write.
Derby is a somewhat innocuous, nondescript city though it is famous in small ways for a variety of reasons. It is the home of Rolls Royce, one of the most prestigious companies of the world. Joseph Wright is a world renowned and greatly admired artist born in Derby in 1734. Herbert Spencer the Victorian philosopher was born in Derby in 1820. Dr Samuel Johnson, man of letters married in St Werberghs Derby in 1753. Samuel Plimsoll, Derby's Member of Parliament from 1868 to 1880 did much to enhance the safety of vessels at sea; so much so that he was known as 'the sailors friend'. Bess of Hardwick's tomb is in the cathedral and Derby County Football Club is internationally known though it has suffered of late.
A catalogue of events typical of the history of many a town and city in 21st century Britain. Events that I feel were overshadowed the day Derby's small claims to fame were replaced by a single act of hideous infamy.
On Saturday afternoon, the 27th September, around 2.30pm a young man climbed onto the railing at the edge of the Westfield Centre car park. At about 5.45pm the young man fell to his death; a sad event at anytime. What made this particular occurrence particularly horrifying was that it was witnessed by a crowd of onlookers whose reactions were, to say the least, mystifying.
That anyone by choice would witness the sad demise of a fellow human being defies any understanding. That some enjoyed the drama, to the extent of giving abuse and shouting encouragement to jump defies comprehension. Plus the amazing fact that some allowed children to witness the unfolding spectacle. Add the fact that some recorded events on mobile phones (in some cases later posted on internet sites) and you have a 'happening' that is mind bendingly beyond the understanding of normal people.
In the days of public hanging a mob mentality existed. It was a day out, an entertainment for all. The last public hanging in Derby took place in 1862. Have we not moved on from ignorant, uncaring times; seemingly not. For make no mistake, the actions of many bystanders was worse than those of long gone times. For we now live in the main in more civilised times. So what fuels these unthinking, uncaring fools? The word scum is an overused collective noun, but for once where these imbeciles are concerned I think it is justified.
One or two things come to mind then I will give these idiots no more of my time. Do these people now realise in the cold light of day that their behaviour was totally unreprehesible, totally unacceptable to the majority; I hope so. What causes such disregard for our fellow human beings, particularly towards those who find life difficult in the extreme. (Blame is usually directed towards too much alcohol or the fact that a diet of horror movies desensitises but no excuse carries any real weight.)
One further concern occupies my thoughts. In 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie marched on London. Arriving in Derby he changed his mind and returned home with his rag tag army. Now the fact that it was near Derby that he turned back was irrelevant at the time. He knew nothing of Derby so it was not personal. But at the back of mind is the fact that the whole world seems to have read of Saturdays sad events. How many will now view the good citizens of Derby with contemptuous disgust. No matter that the majority are caring, concerned individuals. Presumably these awful events could have happened elsewhere but it would be wrong to say I hope so. Shaun Dykes, aged seventeen, rest in peace; you deserved better of the world.
It is interesting that the original blog attracted no comment whatsoever. I am not sure why.


J.J said...

I only recently discovered your blog Ken, and I came here just now in particular to see if you had written about this.

It is inexpicable to hear of how some individuals behaved that day and none of us can have any way of understanding just what on earth went on in their heads that day.

I am saddened that a young man felt the need to take his own life. The scene that day though could have happened anywhere in the UK - we who do not live in Derby are only too well aware of that.

Mean Mom said...

I hardly noticed where this tragic event took place. I felt that it was simply indicative of the times and could have happened anywhere.

I was saddened all over again, yesterday, for this poor lad and his friends and relations. I am ashamed that such a lack of humanity could be displayed by any member of the human race.

I'm not sure why they did it. Perhaps they thought that he was attention seeking. Perhaps they were incapable of empathy and thought that he was pathetic.

I rarely take the initiative to visit new sites, because I have difficulty keeping up with the current blogroll, to be honest, so you hadn't brought yourself to my attention, when you first published this post!

Parisgirl said...

I don't understand how those individuals could have jeered and goaded this poor lad either. Then again, years of covering brutal conflicts around the world have taught me - sadly - never to underestimate man's capacity for inhumanity against fellow man.

I don't understand either why, now the coroner has declared these people partly responsible for Shaun's death, the police cannot trace them and bring charges as they do in "assisted suicide" cases.

Unknown said...

I find it hard to believe that the police could not trace at least some of the individuals who posted their macabre videos on You Tube. Perhaps the will isn't there, or the resources, but it is certainly possible to trace by IP Address. The fact they didn't try is indicative of the 'uncaring times' we live in. I hadn't heard of the events until now - though the thought springs to mind that I surely would have heard about such a tragic incident fifteen or twenty years ago. It would have been national news and the City would've been shamed by it.

It's tragic and apalling.

Daphne said...

I hadn't heard that story - but what a tragedy. If they brought back public hangings I expect there'd still be people who would go.

DJ Kirkby said...

I don't think it matters where this event took place to the rest of the world but the fact that is happened at all is so shocking. I hope this changes many people's lives for the better somehow. Good has got to come from this if at all possible.

VioletSky said...

I do remember that post - and that in my disgust and horror I could think of nothing to say, to add.

But, sadly, as a few have said, it could happen anywhere.

Millennium Housewife said...

I dot know why either, it was wonderfully written. It's a sad thought though that the same thing could have happened anywhere nowadays. There are good and bad people everywhere, not just Derby. MH

Yorkshire Pudding said...

We think we are "civilised" but uncaring brutality smoulders just beneath the veneer of our "civilisation". We have seen it so many times - in Bosnia, during the floods of 2007, in Nazi Germany, most recently in Gaza and in school playgrounds when the chant goes up "Fight! Fight!" as the vultures circle with bloodlust in their eyes. Poor Shaun...

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Ken, I was shocked and really saddened at Shaun's passing - I could not believe what was reported to have occurred at the time, and can't help wondering if there was a trace of Schadenfreude on behalf of the Police, who pretty much stood by while the mob behaved in much the way that a disgusting mob does.

I could not have stood there and witnessed this, without trying to do something about their behaviour - We would not have stood by, would we?

I am sure that the rescue services tried to help Shaun, however, feel that they could have done more, as you say, to actually bring to justice those who were, yes were, responsible for the death of such a vibrant and loved child.

Beautifully written, Ken, and I hope, somewhere, Shaun feels at peace, and yet it feels such an empty hope...

Stinking Billy said...

ken, somebody had to say that. Well said. Bloody unbelievable!

ADDY said...

I agree with you. It is unbelievable how that lad could have been cheered to his death. I sometimes wonder whether some young people in particular live in a twilight world of computer-crazed games, where anything is possible and where actions can be undone and the score put back to zero. When they try to translate this into real life, it is clearly not possible and death cannot be undone. I really don't know the answer, but this story is so sad.

Debbies-English-Treasures said...

Hello Grumpy Old Ken,
its nice to have found your lovely blog!
Although it is a very sad story, it is very well written.
Thanks for sharing it with us all!
You have a great way with words!
Debbie Moss

Clippy Mat said...

this is unbelievable. I hadn't heard this story. Poor lad. If only they had chanted, don't do it, or tried to help him. Wouldn't that have been just as easy?

Grumpy Old Ken said...

To all fourteen commentators.

You have restored some of my faith in human nature. I think you are right it could have happened anyware but I am ashamed it was Derby. I also agree the sentiments that the police could have done more.Lets hope some good comes of it.

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