Emotional Rescue

“Hate crimes” is a new-ish phrase, as evidenced by Gene Hunt’s reaction to it in an episode of Life on Mars:


It’s all about helping and stopping people being targeted because of their race, religion, disability and sexuality. Which is, I hope we all agree, a bad thing (the targeting, not the stopping it).

The law has recently been expanded to cover people who belong to alternative cultures, especially the members of the goth and emo subcultures.

I have to say I think it’s a good idea. A subculture’s members are expressing their personal outlook and choices, often through physical appearance and clothing, in much the same way as religious people do. To target them is discrimination in the same way, they are just a newer group to be singled out.

It’s only right that they should be afforded the same protections.

I’ve never really put myself into a youth culture group, I’ve just always been a slacker or a geek I guess. I mean, I suppose I used to wear Rage Against the Machine and Blink 182 shirts back in the day, so I guess I was a rock kid or something, but I’m amazed by how cliquey things have got in the UK.

My youngest sister is 5 years younger than me, and when she was at comprehensive school it was like she was talking about a different world. I’m not going to lie and say it was a utopia where we all walked around smiling and holding hands, and we hung out in different groups, but it wasn’t like we were totally closed down from each other. My friends and I were a little geeky and I guess “alternative” but we always got on with the sporty types or the nerdier kids. The only people we didn’t have anything to do with were the people we disliked on a personal level, it was never about what group you belonged to, just whether or not you were a twat.

It just never seemed like a thing.

At uni the groups were a bit clearer, because of sports teams and societies and so on, but again I never felt there were people I couldn’t talk to and I’d chat and hang out with people from different sections. Sure, I wasn’t fond of some of the societies or some fellow students, but I never thought “You know what, I really don’t get that live action role playing stuff? Let’s go attack them” and not just because they had swords and stuff.

The law might be new but sadly in Britain starting a fight over some trivial difference is part of our heritage (football hooliganism, anti-English feeling in Scotland and Wales, inner city “turf wars”, Mods vs Rockers, the Teddy Boys vs whoever, the list goes on).

It’s something I’ve never understood, I mean, I’ve booed rival sporting teams and been argued with people about musical preferences and stuff, but at no point have I ever been tempted to kick off over it.

It just seems daft, no-one is ever going to agree with you about everything and a different opinion or way of life is something I’ve always found more interesting than threatening.

It might be that I’m a pussy, but I just think there are very few things that are actually worth fighting for in this world.

So, I’m glad that they’ve created this new law, especially because in my limited experience of them, emos look like they’re not the toughest of groups (I’ve always kind of regarded them as junior Goths, kind of like the Beavers are to the Cubs).

The thing is, just because a kid dresses in black clothes, listens to angsty music and cuts their hair a certain way doesn’t make them less of a person. And it’s not like they’re actually hurting anybody by choosing to follow that particular teenage fashion. I mean, nine times out of ten in five years they’ll have moved onto something else or at least relaxed their dedication to their subculture.

And that’s the other thing, they usually tend to be kids or young adults, I mean, who the hell beats up a random kid?

Well, it appears that two guys in Manchester did that and have become the first arrests under the new system. The duo beat up a 16 year old emo boy. What makes the story more disgusting is that while one of the attackers was another teen aged 14, the second attacker was a 44 year old man.

Seriously, what the hell, man?!

The 14 year old is pretty bad and unpleasant, but at least he has the excuse of being young and stupid and will hopefully mature into a decent person, but if you’re 44 years old and you attack a 16 year old boy just because of the way he dresses you’ve got serious problems. Hell, if you’re 44 and you attack random people in the street you’re clearly a grade A wanker and suggests you’re something of a failure in this game of life.

I use public transport frequently, so I’m well aware that teenagers can be irritating, but exercise some control, I mean, you can’t just go around smacking anybody who annoys you or who’s fashion sense you object to.  Especially not some kid who’s just expressing themselves.

You shouldn’t hit any teenagers, unless they attack you, or it’s Joffrey from the Song of Ice and Fire books. Or you’re giving Harry a slap when he’s being a whiny, angsty douche in Order of the Phoenix.

So, yeah, I like this new law. Save the Goths. Protect the Emo.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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