Friday, 17 June 2016

Another tragedy

The Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin is alleged to have said to Averill Harriman, the then U.S. Ambassador to Russia, that 'The death of one man is a tragedy; the death of millions is a statistic.' From one point-of-view the death of many may just be a statistic, but from the point-of-view of the individuals and families that are affected by the violent killing of a friend and loved one, every death is a tragedy.

Earlier this week forty nine people who were just enjoying themselves were slain by someone who thought that they had a cause or a reason to justify taking the lives of others. Yesterday Jo Cox MP was killed by someone who may have thought that they also had good reason to use violence to make their point. All their deaths were tragedies.

Jo Cox's death was a tragedy for her husband and young children, but it was also a tragedy for the rest of her family, her friends, her constituents, and those who knew her. A brief look at her biography shows that she was someone who cared deeply about others, and for whom becoming a Member of Parliament was a way of taking that caring attitude into a forum where it could do good for an even larger number of people. Her death diminishes us all.

It appears from the news coverage that I have seen that the man who is alleged to have shot and stabbed Ms Cox may have been motivated in some way by the increasingly rancorous arguments both sides have been presenting in the current pre-referendum debate. Those campaigns have been put on hold for the moment as a result of Ms Cox's murder ... and one hopes that when they resume, everyone involved will try to tone down the level and style of rhetoric that was being expressed prior her death.

Yet again, I am sure that I am expressing the thoughts and feelings of all my regular blog readers when I state that our condolences and sympathy go out to Jo Cox's family and all those who have been affected by her murder.

18 comments:

  1. Violence is never the answer. It just put the perpetrator, and thus their cause, in the wrong, and hardens the hearts of those who could see the other side of the argument.

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    1. Joppy,

      Very true.

      Funnily enough, I find that most wargamers understand better than the majority of the population that violence is not the best way to decide differences.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Yet another sad, pointless killing. A friend of mine knew Jo Cox from work they did together at Oxfam and is truly devastated.

    Hopefully it might do something to reduce the current rancour and vitriol in the EU debates but I'm not holding my breath.

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    1. Alastair,

      At a time when so many politicians are held in such low regard by a majority of the people, it is a terrible tragedy that someone who seems to have been genuinely interested in improving the lot of people who is in need, has been needlessly killed before they could fulfil their potential.

      Hopefully the EU Referendum debate will now be conducted in a civilised manner, if only in honour to Jo Cox's memory.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. This would be a sad and deplorable event anywhere but from over here it seems somehow particularly disturbing for this to have heppened in England.

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    1. Ross Mac,

      The last MP to be killed was assassinated by the IRA at the height of their 'campaign' during the 1990s. This is one reason why this particular killing has been so shocking.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Our last MP assassinated wad D'Arcy Mcgee in 1868 by a Fenian supporter of Irish Independence.

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    3. Ross Mac,

      Luckily it doesn't happen very often.

      D'Arcy McGee ... what a great name!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. The IRA murdered 5 MPs between 1981 and 1990.

    Nigel Jones MP (LD) was injured and his assistant killed in a sword attack in 2000. The attacker admitted manslaughter.

    In 2010 Stephen Timms MP (Lab) was stabbed twice by Roshonara Choudhry who was jailed for attempted murder. Motivation was claimed to be the MP's support for the Iraq war.

    Fortunately neither of these last two attackers managed to obtain a firearm. Given how accessible our MPs are they are very vulnerable to nutters and/or terrorists.

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    Replies
    1. Nigel Drury,

      The loner is the most difficult type of attacker to counter, and I suspect that MPs may well have to take even great precautions when they are making themselves available to meet the public in the future.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. I was sorry to see that news. You're right about the rancour. There's way too much of it in too many places.

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    1. Fitz-Badger,

      The death of Jo Cox MP has shocked a huge number of people into realising how violent and aggressive political exchange in the UK has become. Hopefully things will change for the better ... but it is by no means a certainty that it will.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. I'd recommend reading this http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2016/06/17/the-way-we-treat-our-mps-who-would-want-to-enter-politics-now/

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    Replies
    1. Nigel Drury,

      You are right; it is a very interesting comment on the way we treat our MPs.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Quite apart from this unwelcome, vicious death is the craziness that the attacker thought it could help his cause because there will be a 'sympathy vote' to stay in the EU which in itself is also irrational, as this lone killer does not represent the average person on either side of the political spectrum who wants Britain to exit the EU so that 50% of the laws are no longer made in foreign countries and so that Britain can control its own destiny.

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    3. James James,

      Whatever the result of the referendum, the UK will remain a member of the EU at least until 2020 ... by which time the attacker will be some years into his life sentence (I hope!).

      All the best,

      Bob

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