Blame

There is always someone who will want to proportion blame other than the person who pulled the trigger on the guns. So far I have heard that the police at the nightclub were to blame, the lack of guns in the club and even the gay people who murdered should share the responsibility for their own deaths.

The appalling politicians and right-wing groups that latch on to what has happened and use if for their own gain. They proportion the blame to an entire religion which is wrong. Within most belief systems that there are the radical parts that will use this as an excuse to create mayhem and murder innocent victims. Many political parties have murdered in the name of their cause and under-pinned it with the belief that what they are doing is from god. It’s not. True religion does not kill.

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The key to getting to grips with this sort of violence has to be education and understanding. The Islamic faith does and has to condemn these sorts of atrocities that are undertaken in its name. The Muslim Advocates which speaks on behalf of Muslims in American has rightly condemned the killings of innocent LGBT victims. Something that does not get reported in the wider press and beyond.

There has to be a working together of ordinary people who will speak for all sides to condemn this violence. ISIS and its ideology are evil and that message should be broadcast throughout the world. Allowing the lunatics of the far-right and the homophobic part of the Christian church to use it for their gain should be stopped right at the beginning.

Feminist views 

I have a problem with some feminist views. I have been struggling with them for some time and wondering why I have a problem with moral issues associated with feminist belief.

The term “Rape culture” was first used in the USA in the 1970s by feminists who believed a society which normalised rape as a part of the society and sees it as pervasive due to certain values it held about women’s sexual identity and gender.

So what feminists are saying that somehow society doesn’t see it as being a bad thing or even a punishable crime in a society. They believe that making excuses of what a woman was wearing beforehand is part of this “rape culture”. It is prevalent and symptomatic throughout attitudes in the society and endemic to it.

I had some discussion with a female friend and thinking about high profile cases where men had been convicted of rape or had been acquitted. I found it interesting that some on social media platforms held the view that the man was guilty even if he had not be convicted in a court of law. That the woman must be believed and the circumstances of the case were that the jury must have been made to believe that the woman was making the whole thing up something again feminists believe is part of ‘rape culture’ that society sees women as unreliable liars.

Feminists believe in ‘rape society’ is that society is teaching women not to get raped rather than teaching men not to rape. This to me is where I find the stumbling block. Not that any sort of attack on a woman is abhorrent but that despite the calls of feminists to teach people not to rape there are ways that women should protect themselves but again I reiterate that feminist would say is part of rape culture and I am contributing to it by making sure a woman is keeping herself from harm.

I had to look further into this and see how ‘rape culture’ is viewed under various classifications of morality. The feminist view is an example of moral absolutism. The idea there shouldn’t be any way in which someone who has said that they have even raped could have contributed to it. Rape is if someone hasn’t given their consent. To me there are cases where the victim isn’t able to give consent such as age but what do we decide if a woman is so drunk she has sex but afterward saying that she wouldn’t have consented at the time.

Feminists argue that there shouldn’t be grey areas and that it is clear that all sex that hasn’t been consensual is rape. Is it really this clear-cut? We don’t hear of ‘murder culture’ or ‘robbery culture’ we look at the evidence to see if a crime has been committed and that is how the law and the courts deal with each case individually. As much as feminism would like to see perpetrators of rape be punished as they should it isn’t as clear as that. Sex is still sex and if you consent to it then it isn’t a crime. But how do you prove a crime has taken place when the evidence before a jury is that it is the word against another. There are no physical signs of trauma or force but the woman states she did not give consent.

A murder takes place and usually in most cases there is a body. Some cases have been prosecuted when there has been nobody found but this is rare. We have physical evidence in front of a jury if an autopsy has taken place and cause of death can be established. It is up to the prosecution to build the case for murder or if the death was unintentional manslaughter or culpable homicide as it is known in the USA.

A crime has a victim, a perpetrator, and evidence. Some will go to lengths to cover their crime and destroy evidence. A report of the crime of non-consensual sex or rape needs to have more evidence than saying I did not consent. If life wasn’t as clear-cut as this and crimes didn’t have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt then things would be different. That isn’t how things work in the UK. There are some societies where rape has been normalised in countries that are in the middle of civil war and rape has been used as a weapon and as a form of terrorist barbarism.

We know are those men who go out on a weekend with the intention of having sex with women. It happens. Men do that and so do women. On the gay scene, it’s no different. Men and women do go out on the pretence of a hookup.

I don’t believe a woman or a man should ever have to modify their clothes to justify not being attacked but both sexes do dress to feel and look good. We have all go out in the best clothes but it’s never so we feel good we do it so we get others to notice this is what makeup is for.

If you were on a desert island you don’t get dressed up just for yourself intention is their attraction is a part of life and the natural process of humans and animals. There are ways in which everyone should protect themselves that’s why doors have locks and cars have immobilisers. We don’t live in a society of absolute morals.

RE and Humanism

As I qualified secondary RE teacher I find it appalling that the government have taken out the teaching of those with no belief in Religious Education. It’s almost like people without any faith shouldn’t have an opinion about moral values and life choices. I see it as a backwards step in highlighting the importance of the vital role that Religious Education has in our schools in a modern world.

The terrible atrocities that happen each day in our world cause us to pause and ask the question why? It is no longer the case that our children and adults should be left with the answer that some people do bad things. This is a poor excuse for educating people about religious belief.

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I was watching a programme the other night where they were discussing the issue of child exploitation that happens on a regular basis in the UK and thought myself that certain established religions have a lot to blame when it comes to talking about and educating young people about the dangers of online grooming and sexual relationships for someone who us under the legal limit of consent.

The programme highlighted the numerous times that girls were coerced into performed sex acts on their boyfriends and the blatant manipulation coupled with emotional blackmail that they felt under these circumstances. It is no longer a choice to bury your head in the sand and say that my child wouldn’t do these things and they know better.

Education is fundamental. Talking about violence does not make someone violent. In the same way, educating people about the dangers of sex doesn’t allow young people to think they are entitled to go out and experiment on the basis of the facts they have been told.

Think back to the days of your RE and would you really want the next generation to look at the world without the rich knowledge that RE does bring? Or do you want it to be begrudgingly tagged on the lesson at the end of the week on Friday afternoon?

Ostara

I had the misfortune of reading an article in The Sun ‘newspaper’ the other day that claimed that Easter eggs had been banned. They hadn’t. It was just another atrocious attempt by the right wing gutter press to get a reaction from the idiots that actually believe what is written in this so-called newspaper.

Christians have been bouncing up and down like demented Easter bunny’s today. At every moment I have looked on social media they are ready to implore that a preacher that lived two thousand years ago defied all laws of biology and science and came back to life after being brutality killed in an act of crucifixion. A version of a  Frankenstein’s monster is somehow seen as a way of getting rid of the worlds problems by delivering us from own thoughts and actions.

In my ‘christian’ days I would have been proclaiming this. I would have stood proudly in the middle of my town acting out some play or singing some songs thinking that I would be able to change the world and imploring others to join me. It was all a futile process.

I believe that looking at the changes of the world around us we should be thankful that plants are begging to waken from their winter sleep and animals will produce young at a time when in the northern hemisphere marks Vernal Equinox.

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Ostara or Eostra is an Anglo-Saxon goddess who represents dawn. It is a new awakening. She oversees the fertility of the earth and watches over births. The egg is the perfect symbol of fertility and Christians and non-so believers will incorporate this into Easter celebrations without really realising it’s pagan origins.

I love the beginning of spring as you can see blossom on the trees and daffodils rising up from the cold ground to give us hope of the forthcoming of time when new life appears all around us.

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Freedom

In this country we can say what we like about the government. According to some the government monitors emails and certain political parties. This is is true to a certain extent but they are not stifled as they are in other countries. I can complain about the way in which the country is run and those who are in power and this is a basis for democracy.

There are certain loonies and idiots who will say that Britain is a police state. It isn’t. Look on youtube at those cases where people say they have evidence of a police state. Normally it’s a case where someone has done something wrong they have a problem with authority and the police. They then somehow become criminal experts quoting verbatim laws that have been looked up on the internet or passed on through dodgy sites that complain of police brutality.

I have seen cases where the public have constantly harangued police officers usually on there own quoting the law and trying to get a physical response from the officers involved. If you click on the last sentence it is an example of this where the police are asking someone who is sleeping outside the houses of parliament to move. He edits out the bit where he refuses to give the police officer his name..

That isn’t an example of a police state it’s showing you to be an argumentative prick.

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I know there are genuine cases where officers have acted inappropriately and in a criminal manner but the vast majority of people work for the good of the country and want to see law and order across the land. This doesn’t equate to a police state. I would invite the complainers to move to somewhere like Burma, North Korea or Libya. Let’s see how far they get when they complain about how their country is run.

Terrorists want to impose their ridiculous view of life. It is a warped version of Islam. It isn’t what the majority of over one billion Muslims adhere to. The views of right wing parties does no good to harmonise people. It divides and that’s what the terrorist want. I believe in democracy and freedom of speech as I see that this is a priviledge and also our right as human being to condemn violence.

I stand with the people of Brussels and the people of Paris in solidarity. The terrorists will never win. Using their violence to promote their cause this way won’t bring a country or countries to it’s knees. My thoughts are those families to have been caught in these bombings. Not with the people who brought untold misery to thousands.

PR

Sunderland football club has messed up. It is was disgraceful that they lifted Adam Johnson’s suspension and allowed him to play for the first team in the months leading up to the trial. He should have been removed while the legal proceedings were taking place and if found not guilty (like some have been found) been reinstated to his position within the club.

According to reports at the time, he was brought to answer questions to the management and admitted to them he acted in a manner which was totally inappropriate. At this point the should have taken action. They didn’t and now they are dealing with consequences.

I don’t know much about how the game of football works but I know about how public relations work. I am not an avid follower of any team and have no so-called loyalties. I know that Newcastle United as well isn’t too good. They are dragging their heels in keeping someone in a post who is clearly not getting the job right. I am sure that there are others out there might use stronger words in their description of how the club is run.

I know that some celebrities do rely on stories in the press to keep their persona in the media spotlight. I know that they will make up stories and work together to get their names into print. It’s a common practice and articles will appear every day in tabloids where somehow a celeb will be out shopping. If the photo hasn’t been taken surreptitiously and the makeup is perfect etc you know it is a fake story.

If you are promoting a business or a cause you need to have people on your side and quickly responding to questions or information relating to your chosen field. Sitting on your hands and not using social media in the way it was designed will only have a negative impact on your work. I have spent 13 years building up a decent eBay profile. Getting the answers dealt with and responding quickly and clearly to potential buyers is crucial. If you have a smartphone you have no excuse for not replying to questions within 24/48 hours of them being posted.

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This is how I have built up followers on my twitter account. If someone makes a joke or a comment that is longer than three words I will always reply to someone. It reinforces that you have read their comment and taken what they have said on board. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with what they said just acknowledged the comment in the first place. The worst thing you can do is fail to answer a question.

I think PR should be sharper than a pin in the way in which it is run. You aren’t going to please everyone all the time but you should at least aim to please some of those who you come into contact with. You risk alienating supporters and those who financially contribute to you.

The Pusher

Is serial there a serial killer dubbed “The Pusher” murdering men in Manchester by shoving them into canals?

This is from a story published in one of the national newspapers in the UK. There was a documentary on this subject last night on Channel 4. If you are able and have catch up service I would recommend watching it. For me it meant it left more questions than answers to what has been happening in the city of Manchester over the last six years.

More than 80 bodies – almost all of them men – have been pulled from canals and rivers in Manchester over the past six years, many in the city’s Gay Village.

Grieving families, academics and authors believe a serial killer could be stalking the city’s waterways, but police insist there is no evidence to back this up.

I am not convinced at all that that every case has been thoroughly investigated. The programme itself mentioned very briefly that some of the areas where bodies have been found are known cruising grounds for gay men. The programme didn’t elaborate too much on this aspect of the issue of twenty eight deaths that where deemed “open cases” to deaths where no firm conclusion has been made whether a death was accident or suicide.

I don’t know Manchester that well only briefly visiting in the late eighties with college but I do have extension knowledge of what gay men do and don’t do. I don’t understand why they hadn’t spoken to or found someone who was part of this “scene” apart from getting the views of a token drag queen while he was putting on his make up and wig. He commented that it seemed suspicious but the surface of the problems where only lightly scratched.

Why is it a majority of men who have died in the canals? If the police believe that the deaths are alcohol related and people accidentally falling into the water why isn’t there more women dying? If it is just men what are they doing there and how have they come to meet their deaths?

The CCTV images of some of the people who had died was extremely unreliable, poor quality to the point that you couldn’t be sure who you were looking at. I am interested in these cases because being a gay man I am very particularly in making sure that if I was to go anywhere where I wouldn’t normally go and with someone maybe I had recently met people would know about it. Three people have the ability to track my whereabouts on my iPhone 24 hours a day and I don’t leave the house without it.

There is a setting on my phone that if just before it is switched off or say the battery dies for whatever reason it will record the final GPS signal on the iCloud and this could be accessed later if necessary.

In part of my degree I did a module on serial killers and was very interested in the criminology side of this. I have been fascinated and curious about those who have been caught killing others for reasons usually only known to the person.

I don’t think we have heard the end of this story and soon something will emerge from the shadows. There too many unknowns and not enough firm evidence to prove that everyone of these deaths were due to accidents. A couple have been proved to be deliberate and the perpetrators caught and jailed. I will wait and see.