Thursday, May 29, 2008

Second interview with Robert Maltby

Very interesting interview with Robert Maltby indeed at Vice Magazine. Some extracts below but read the complete interview as well. Vice Magazine comments at the beginning that:

Because the media feels the need to simplify every story to the point that a five-year-old should feel his or her intelligence insulted, it was decided that the couple got jumped because they were slightly goth-looking. And so the whole thing turned into a weird "Do goth kids deserve rights?" debate instead of the sincere moment of "Holy shit, when did our nation's youth turn into the real version of Clockwork Orange only way dumber and scarier?"-type reflection it should have been. In his only interview aside from one done for the BBC shortly after the attacks, we talked to Robert about the real nature of the attack, as well as his thoughts on the high-profile trial which just ended with two of the assailants being sentenced to life...
In fact it was the police who first attributed the attack to their appearance. Many newspapers played down this angle. It was generally the alternative community who saw it as being involved in prejudice in discussions online from the beginning

VICE: The tabloids said that you and Sophie were attacked for being Goths. Is that what happened?
Robert Maltby:
I was more interested in the whole goth thing when I was about fifteen and wore black lipstick. I’d get shit then. I think I could cope with it a bit better when I was a big fat goth as I felt there was a reason for it. When I was attacked I wasn’t really dressed that goth.

What were you wearing?
Blue jeans and a green hoodie. Sophie wasn’t dressed outrageously either. She had a lot of piercings: over twenty in her ears, as well as a few facial, nipple, and belly button piercings.

So you don’t think they attacked you because of how you were dressed?

I believe what was originally said was “Let’s get the moshers!” They just needed some kind of excuse to the beat shit out of us. I think it’s more about the kind of person that attacked us.

He also says:

Did you not have to attend as a witness?
No. I was pretty useless to the Prosecution as I don’t remember anything. I was going to go to the sentencing, but I heard that a bunch of Goths were going to congregate outside the courthouse. I didn’t like that at all.

Did they all go in the end?
Yes. I think about 50 Goths ended up there.

Despit Robert's disquiet about the prejudice angle. It is interesting to note:
How did you feel about the verdict?
I was really happy. I didn’t think that they were going to get anywhere near the sentences they got. The police weren’t expecting them to get the amount of time they are going to serve.

In fact one of the reasons for the severity of the sentence is the judge decided it was a hate crime (although it was not one strictly under the definition) . In law hate crimes mandate a more severe sentence thus he used his discretion to go for the maximum tarriff. Whether or not Robert feels he crime was motivated by prejudice the judge did hence the longer sentence.

Basically this blog shows such prejudice does exist and it does trigger violence. What is interesting about the violence we are talking about it is that it is triggered by differences of all kinds whether racial or being disabled or even simply defying yobs.
Any violence can be trigger just being a mosher. Society as a whole has a problem this sort of hatred is perhaps one symptom.

Anyway the interview is very interesting I only hope Robert feels better at some point.

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