Ok, so police in Northern Ireland arrested two teens in connection with a series of attacks on Gypsy families this week, according to the Associated Press.
Evidently, some 20 families of Roma, or Gypsy, origin were forced to seek shelter in an area church earlier this week after local gangs threw bricks and bottles at their homes, the story notes.
The families are now being sheltered elsewhere.
What I find most interesting about this story, in a dark and disturbing way, is the AP’s suggestion that a surge in racist violence over the past few years in Northern Ireland may have something to do with the decline in fighting between Catholics and Protestants there.
The racist violence has “coincided with the decline in Northern Ireland’s traditional conflict between paramilitary groups rooted in rival Catholic and Protestant districts,” according to the story.
So, what are we saying here?
That if we can’t hate (insert favorite scapegoat here), then we’d better find someone else to hate?
Are the experts suggesting that something in human nature requires an object of hatred, for each self-identified group, and that if one is lost, another will be found?
Or maybe it means that populations reared on hatred and violence can’t so easily revese that tide, even when the supposed object of their hatred stops fighting them.
If this is the case, it means, for instance, that were peace to be declared today between the Palestinians and Israel, the Palestinians, who for so long have poisoned their children’s minds with hate, won’t be able to stop seeking to kill and maim.
Who knows how long it takes for that kind of deeply ingrained psychological damage to heal? Maybe it never can. I don’t know.
And that would be the more positive scenario of the two.
If the explanation is actually an innate human need to find some “other” group to pick on, then the idea of peace on earth is a wild, impossible fantasy.
And on the subject of crime, there may be some good news for those who have been concerned that Internet streetscape map sites are potentially dangerous.
While it may be that these sites can possibly provide criminals with ammunition, it appears that’s a two-way street.
According to a recent AP story, Dutch police arrested twin brothers on suspicion of robbery after their alleged victim spotted a picture of them following him on Google’s Street View map application.
A 14-year-old boy reported to police last September that he had been robbed of the equivalent of $230 and his cell phone after two men dragged him off his bicycle in a town near Amsterdam, according to the story.
The victim called again a couple months ago after seeing an image of himself and two men he thought he recognized as his attackers on Street View, the story says.
Prosecutors reportedly sent a formal request to Google for the original photo for a better look at the people’s faces. Evidently, if you give Google a good enough reason for needing the original images, like it may help solve a crime, they’ll send them to you as they did in this case.
A detective reportedly immediately recognized one of the twins.
So Big Brother watching might not be an entirely bad thing, after all.
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