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Ashamed and disgusted


by Edward on 5th November, 2005 at 2:02 pm    

I crossed London Bridge yesterday morning, and there’s a tramp who has his pitch there.

Now, he’s a nice guy - stops for a chat, doesn’t agressively beg, doesn’t drink. Not that I’d give a tinker’s cuss if he did; were I living on the unforgiving streets of London I may well agressively beg, and I’m damn sure I would drink.

However, the point is that he cannot, in any way, be classed as a ‘nuisance’. I sometimes stop off and slip him a fiver and a cigar, and I did so tonight, and noticed he had cuts and bruises on his face. So I asked him about them.

Apparently, he was sitting on the Bridge a couple of nights ago at about 10pm, and two drunks came up to him, and duffed him up.

Then they walked away but, after a few paces, almost as an afterthought, they came back, took the coat off his back, snatched up his blankets, and chucked the whole lot off the Bridge into the Thames.

They walked off, but then turned around, came back again, kicked him and took his boots off his feet, and chucked those in the Thames as well.

This was not an attack motivated by provocation, moral outrage, or even a sense of material gain. It was a simple example of bullying someone who is in a worse position than the perpetrators.

Ok, I’m no stranger to acts of random, senseless violence, but even so I just find this so morally sterile it’s deeply unsettling.

It does seem to me that a great deal of the social problems that are discussed on Pickled Politics could be avoided if people would just say to themselves “Oh, hang on, would I like it if someone did that to me? No? Well, probably best I don’t do it to someone else then.”

I am left with a deep sense of shame over this thoughtless and frankly disgraceful act.



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12 Comments   |  


  1. Col. Mustafa — on 5th November, 2005 at 2:16 pm  

    People are so caught up in their own lives, their cars, houses, mortgage, wife, husband, money that most only take the odd minute or 2 to think of others in the first place.

    No that isn’t anyones fault as were entitled to lead our own lives, but to then ruin someone elses day, week, month or even life is just mind boggling.

    A bunch of drunk guys did that for what; they were drunk and thought it to be funny i suppose.

    Im not enjoying this number system either.
    I don’t get that as ive never got it. Theres never been a time in my life where i thought that doing something like that is acceptable so it makes me really worried to hear about this incident.

  2. T Nathan — on 5th November, 2005 at 4:59 pm  

    oh get over yourself edward

  3. Sunny — on 5th November, 2005 at 5:54 pm  

    It does seem to me that a great deal of the social problems that are discussed on Pickled Politics could be avoided if people would just say to themselves “Oh, hang on, would I like it if someone did that to me?

    That’s not only a legitimate point, but the basis of my thinking, and possibly the only way to get people to behave responsibly.

    Treat others how you want to be treated. It’s simple but effective.

  4. El Cid — on 5th November, 2005 at 8:32 pm  

    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” — the so-called Golden Rule from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, Luke 6:31. There may be similar sentiments expressed in the Koran, Buddhism and in the works of Aristotle and Confucious, but I can’t confirm that. Perhaps someone else can. It’s also what I live by, instinctively.
    On a lighter note, though, I recall a drunk at Finsbury Park station a few weeks ago, Special Brew in hand. He was cussing about something or another. I think he may have also been roughed up but to a far less cruel degree. “Bloody weekend drinkers!”. It made me laugh anyway.

  5. Steve M — on 5th November, 2005 at 10:09 pm  

    In the century before the birth of Christ, a non-Jew told Hillel, a famous Jewish teacher, that he would convert to Judaism if Hillel could teach him the whole of the Torah in the time he could balance on one leg.

    Hillel replied… “What is hateful to yourself, do not do to your neighbour. That is the whole Torah; the rest is just commentary. Go and study it.”

  6. El Cid — on 5th November, 2005 at 11:23 pm  

    An even earlier example is “Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you.” — Socrates, 5th Century B.C.
    Earlier still is this from Ancient Egypt: “Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do.” The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, 109 - 110 Translated by R.B. Parkinson. 1970-1640 B.C.
    In fact, this site suggest there’s a similar theme running through all major bodies of thought. I can’t vouch for it, but it sounds credible. All of which begs quite a few questions…

  7. jamal — on 5th November, 2005 at 11:35 pm  

    “True morality consists not in following the beaten track, but in finding out the true path for ourselves and fearlessly following it.” — (Gandhi)

    The problem is that many do not want to find it and remain content with the beaten track. In this case it was alcohol fuelled stupidity. The reality is that in any one night, this and much worse happens in London many times over.

    Ed, i dont mean to be patronising, but if your able to slip him a fiver and a cigar, then im also not surprised that you were shocked and confused by this incident.

    I recently remember hearing a women in london who had her bag stolen saying “why would they do such a thing?” I, along with everybody else thought it was pretty obvious!

  8. El Cid — on 6th November, 2005 at 12:17 am  

    I agree with your main point Jamal. But I don’t see the relevance of the Gandhi quote. People who stray off the beaten track of work, family and friends can actually find solace in the bottle. And those who claim to have “found the true path” by themselves have almost always been given directions by others. Who are we trying kid?
    When it comes to a satisfying morality that we can all understand and relate to -and I mean ALL — our only credible yardstick is the ancient one of love and so-called humanity.

  9. _Zain_ — on 6th November, 2005 at 12:32 am  

    Ed, I couldn’t agree more.

    People will treat animals with more regard than humans, unless of course, they are packed into a van ready for the slaughterhouse, which is where animals and soldiers become one.

  10. Edward — on 6th November, 2005 at 12:37 am  

    T Nathan - I take it you think that sort of aggression is acceptable, then?

    Jamal - I spent some time as a criminal lawyer; I am no stranger to random violence, hardship or abuse. I slip the odd fiver and cigar because I can do so. If I couldn’t, I’d slip whatever was commensurate with where I was at the time.

    Notwithstanding my experiences of life at its worst, I still find this deplorable. Were I slipping the chap £0.40 and a silk cut, would it diminish that?

  11. rizwand — on 6th November, 2005 at 12:47 am  

    I know this type of stuff goes on, but it doesn’t make it any less sickening.

    : (

  12. Tanvir — on 6th November, 2005 at 4:58 am  

    I once came across this website basicly taking the piss out of the homeless in nottingham calling them scroungers and scum, it was amazing well made and hilarious i cant remember this adress though!!

    Because of the activities of some homeless (drugs/crime) some people have got issues with all homeless which obviously isnt the right way to go about things.

    I think the alcohol had somethin to do with this guy getting beaten up though… i wonder what 24 hour drinking is going to do though.. have groups of people staggering out of bars and clubs the time kids are starting to make thier way to school, and homeless people like this guy are gona be fast asleep in some shop window

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