Two men who used their phones to film themselves brutally attacking a man with learning difficulties have been jailed for his murder.
Keith Lowe and Joshua Hack lured Brendan Mason to Abbey Park in Leicester where they beat him, stripped him naked to get rid of evidence, then left him for dead.
Mr Mason, 23, died in hospital after suffering 99 injuries.
Lowe, 22, and Hack, 21, were given life sentences at Leicester Crown Court.
Perhaps we should add some flesh to the bones of this report. I’m grateful to Sue Jones’s Politics and Insights blog for the following:
The court heard the attack had been planned the night before and that Hack and Lowe misinterpreted his behaviour towards a girl at a party. Prosecutor Miranda Moore QC said: “They were describing Brendan as a paedophile and nothing could be further from the truth.”
Mason’s learning difficulties led to a bias in how his ordinary social interactions were perceived.
A … video, lasting 53 seconds, was deliberately filmed on the mobile phone for others to see. The police managed to retrieve it from cloud storage, showing Lowe taking a direct part in the beating. Lowe had attempted to delete the footage from his phone.
[Prosecutor Miranda Moore QC] said: “The audio that goes with it makes that clear.”
The court heard that in the second video, Lowe says: “Brendan. Look at him. Told you whatever he’d done to you, I’d do worse to him, told you that. Move your hand away from your face. Move your hand away from your face now.”
How comforting to see that these two murderers were claiming that Mr Mason was a paedophile – now generally accepted as the lowest of the low – to justify their brutalisation of a disabled man!
Both their reactions – against paedophilia and against disability – are ‘learned’ traits from the rest of society. In the case of child abuse, they would be right to find it abhorrent – but the accusation was not true and it was not their place to take the law into their own hands in any event. But attacking a disabled person is itself abhorrent – or would be, if the government and the media had not spent years ‘normalising’ it.
The Vox Political Facebook page has been hosting a strong debate on this subject since I published a report on the Brendan Mason case yesterday, with many supporting the view that government propaganda, published in the mass media, played a large part. Others have disagreed, with some even suggesting that This Writer is guilty of grubby political point-scoring.
Let’s go back to Sue Jones and her article, which clarifies why that last claim isn’t accurate. “It’s comforting to imagine that these were uniquely cruel and savage people,” she writes, before going on to point out that they aren’t; they are a product of the society into which the UK has evolved.
Hate crime directed at disabled people has steadily risen over the past five years, and is now at the highest level it’s ever been since records began. That’s the kind of society we have become.
The media is far from objective, benign and politically neutral, in fact we have handful of offshore billionaires that have, along with the government, subverted democracy and established a cultural hegemony. This self-appointed elite are telling you that some human lives are worthless, whilst investing in their own, quite literally, at all cost to our society.
The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) reprimanded some British media outlets, particularly tabloid newspapers, for “offensive, discriminatory and provocative terminology”.
In their report, the ECRI said hate speech was a serious problem in the UK. It cited Katie Hopkins’ infamous column in The Sun, where she likened refugees to “cockroaches”.
It also named David Cameron and Nigel Farage as among the British politicians and institutions accused of fuelling rising xenophobia in the UK.
The media is being used by and large as a right-wing outlet for political techniques of persuasion, our culture has been saturated with a pathological persuasion to hate others. And prejudice tends to multitask, it doesn’t prefer one social group. It grows.
We have a government does not observe the basic rights of disabled people. Furthermore, the Conservatives have systematically contravened the human rights of disabled persons.
This is a government that uses gaslighting to avoid dialogue and democratic accountability regarding the consequences of their draconian, discriminatory and illegal policies.
She points out:
Techniques of neutralisation used by the government include the manipulative use of language that is designed to mislead, for example, using the word “help” and support” to describe punitive policies and harsh cuts to lifeline support for disabled people.
The stereotypical mainstream media portrayals of people with disability and medical conditions as “shirkers” and “fakes”, with a significant increase in articles focusing on disability benefit and fraud has impacted negatively on people’s views and perceptions of disability related benefits, leading to perceptual bias. This was a tactical political move.
There are political and economic constraints imposed on this group of people by a highly discriminatory government. This sends out a message to the public – that disabled people have fewer rights than other citizens; that disabled people are not experts of their own condition or experiences and need the state to “incentivise” them to “overcome” their disabilities, and institutionalised discrimination, and that it is okay to direct prejudice at disabled people as they are somehow “less” than other citizens.
The discriminatory cuts have caused ill people to feel desperate and worthless by depriving them of the practical means to live, and have become another means of promoting an ideology defined by exclusion and inequality. Many people with medical conditions have died as a consequence of not being able to meet their basic needs, people with mental distress and illness have been pushed over the precipice, and have taken their own lives.
The justification narrative for the last two government’s targeted austerity policies, and the policies themselves have entailed negative role modelling which has influenced the attitudes and behaviours of the public. Hate crimes are bias motivated behaviours.
The major contributing factor to the increase in hate crime is the collective bias, attitudes and behaviours of the current government, which has perpetuated, permitted and endorsed prejudices against social groups, with a largely complicit media amplifying these prejudices.
Perpetrators have become increasingly confident in the “validity” of their prejudice, the public are being systematically desensitised and indoctrinated. Mocking, negative stereotypes and negative images become a part of our everyday culture and language: hate speech is normalised, discriminatory policies and practices flourish, hate crimes – bias motivated behaviours – are permitted.
Because we have allowed this process to unfold, as a society.
Is it clear now?
If so, then I have only two questions for you:
How many more Brendan Masons are you willing to allow to die? And, since there is an obvious political cause, what are you going to do to stop it?
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