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.