|Sophie Lancaster - RIP|
Today I want to talk about an incident that really shocked, appalled and deeply upset me a few years ago now. It left an indelible mark on this blogger because I too had been subjected to similar sorts of attacks in my youth, just thankfully not as vicious or fatal, for being a 'goth', even though I was more Cyber-Punk. On Saturday the 11th of August 2007 two young people were savagely attacked by what a judge called a 'wild feral gang of youths' because they dared to look different. They dressed in a way that marked them out from the local crowd of Rossendale Lancashire, they were goths.
Sadly the vicious attack didn't just leave the young couple badly bruised and beaten. It left Robert Maltby in a serious condition and in a coma and his girlfriend Sophie Lancaster in as serious a condition. The mob had started their unprovoked attack on Robert, knocking him unconscious and leaving him unable to fend for himself, the cowards then continued their attack on the prostrate young man. Sophie at this point wasn't the target of the attackers, but she showed bravery and courage many of us wouldn't. She put herself in harm's way between the mob and the boyfriend she loved to protect him. It was to prove a fatal decision.
|The broken and bruised face that evil left behind|
The assailants didn't relent in their attack. They re-focused their vile, evil and despicable efforts onto Sophie Lancaster. Their attack was described as 'unrelenting' and 'savage' by the judge, whose words seem to me to not carry enough weight to fully explain the gravity and weight of their merciless actions. They beat and kicked Sophie so hard that they knocked her unconscious too. The attack didn't stop there, they continued to beat and kick the two youngsters for some time afterwards. While Robert gradually recovered from his grievious injuries two weeks later, sadly Sophie Lancaster did not.
On the 24th of August, in Hope Hospital in Salford she died. The victim of a senseless, savage act of unprovoked violence and intolerance. Another victim of the ignorance of her fellow man, although to refer to such cowards as men or even human is to do them too much honour. They were eventually brought to justice and rightly convicted of murder for their brutal crime. The imbeciles even bragged of their exploits and believed they'd done a 'good thing', once again exposing that ignorance begets acts of evil.
|The injuries visited upon Robert were grievous too|
I would like to think that I am a peaceful and forgiving person, but I know I am really a vengeful soul who believes strongly in an eye for an eye. And Sophie Lancaster's mother, Sylvia, shames us all who think like that. She has worked tirelessly over the past few years to turn this horrific, tragic event into something positive and useful. Turning all that negative energy on its head and channeling it into the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. Please take some time out of your day to read about their amazing work, and their efforts to ensure that the ignorance of others never leads to such horrible crimes as were visited on Sophie and Robert.
I've donated as much as I could spare to this charity, and I'd ask that if you feel strongly and passionately about preventing similar tragedies that you do the same. The reason this was brought to my attention recently is because a make up firm my better half uses, Illamsqua, who have offered great support to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, sent an email around informing people that the 26th November would have been Sophie's 25th birthday. You can also donate via Illamasqua's website or they also offer a Eyeliner Pencil that a significant somebody in your life might appreciate, or perhaps a Sophie Wrist Band is more to your tastes.
I'll leave with this short video...
Sorry to break away from my usual hobby stuff today, but hopefully you'll see it's for a good cause dear to my heart. Even if you can't understand what it's like to have been the victim of any hate crime, just imagine the horror of witnessing someone you love being brutally murdered in front of your own eyes, just for being who they were. How would you react? Sophie's bravery cost her life, but saved Robert's. That she had the strength of character and courage to put herself in harm's way, probably knowing she'd be next, chokes me up. Remember to be nice to each other people. Peace out!