ello again glass eye watchers. Hawkeye Harris and Dangerous Debbie here with a ‘How to’ article which we feel qualified to write, given our 50 years’ experience of the problems of bullying and discrimination.
We will look at it in detail, suggest how you may be able to stop it, and you won’t need to give anyone a thick ear or yourself a sore throat shouting for your rights instead.
Most of the problems we cover here are those suffered by young children. However, we’re not going to be overlooking young people and adults, as they also suffer from such problems. We will be careful not to give too much away so as not to encourage more to do it. No names will be mentioned so no problems with the law to worry about – not for us anyway.
Selecting the Target
We don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we find that people who pick on us seem to know far too much about us. They know when to strike and the reaction they will get. This is simply down to shared and acquired knowledge, even if this is inaccurate – knowledge gained from friends and family members and even down the generations. The insults are always with reference to disability, disfigurement, the colour of your skin, your sexuality. The perpetrators don’t like witnesses, especially of the electronic kind, video/audio recorders or CCTV.
It all begins with the gang undertaking an assessment of you to see if you would be a suitable plaything for them and their friends. This can take many forms and is designed, tried and tested by them to gauge your intelligence, your ability and so on. It’s always done by the gang leader who is often the mouthpiece and a number of other gang members. The people may change but the game is always the same.
It always starts with insults to your intelligence. The latest one we’ve seen is a group of young children out well after what some would view as their bedtime. These kids were riding BMX type cycles up and down the road near us singing “Happy Birthday” on a number of occasions. Being curious, we ask “Whose birthday is it?” they respond “Yours” and so the mindless conversation goes. They are looking for a reaction.
Another very popular angle is to call your name, usually from across the street. You respond and they will claim they said nothing. Or if you pass them on route to wherever, they may say “hello”, and being polite, we expect to strike up a conversation with them, but instead of responding, they’ll act like a stuck vinyl record and keep repeating “hello” in a frustrating echo.
Once they’ve got a reaction they often move up a gear and this ratcheting up can lead to physical assault. They may even damage your home, car or property and all this just for kicks. This can make you a prisoner in your own home, your own neighbours even becoming the people who choose to blight your life.
The End Game
Is there anything we can do to stop or control it? Yes there is! Just by thinking “outside the box”. If, like us, you’ve seen it all before, you’ll be able to “smell a rat”. Is the pattern the same? The time, the day? If so, you can predict when, where and how they’ll strike. If they plan to assault you, they may rehearse it days before, as one lad did with yours truly.
Advice given to any victim of hate crime and anti-social behaviour is always to ignore them and not to interact with them. This isn’t always easy, but you know their voices or faces and their methods of operation. You have good experience of their intent, which makes things easier to fight. They are new to it, you are experienced. They think they are original, you know different.
Insulting your intelligence now constitutes hate crime. The police will log it as anti-social behaviour if it happens in a public place. Advise them of your disability which will then be flagged up on their system. Ask to see an officer. They won’t refuse and very often the officer will possess a wealth of useful knowledge on the subject and will advise you on your options.
If there are other agencies available to you, do contact them to have a record made of the incident. Owing to legal issues, agencies cannot openly exchange information. The police may possibly have the powers to do this in extreme cases. By reporting it yourself, you are getting around the legislative red tape. Things are improving in this area of law, than to “people power”.
You will have noticed that those people who undertake hate crime and anti-social behaviour don’t like independent witnesses. In the last few years, technology has become very portable. Lightweight and powerful, your tech can be recognised in law as independent witness, in exactly the same way as CCTV recordings are now legal.
The Right Tools for the Job
An audio recorder records onto SD memory card. It is possible to date and time stamp recordings should the need arise. Video cameras and some mobile phones also record onto SD, and in High Definition, even in low light. So, if the problem is nocturnal, a low light sensitive recording will catch them out and you won’t have to remember what they looked like as it will all be there on video. By law you have to warn them that you are recording, but they are unlikely to take any notice or listen whilst indulging in their antics.
Taking the Shot
As soon as you become aware of their presence, arm your weapon (video camera, audio recorder or phone), they will probably have started their attack. Issue the warning only once and say no more. Try not to provoke them in the first place. Don’t stop to record them but carry on about your business. The chances are that they will see the recording indicator light and will promptly disappear if they have any sense.
The equipment used isn’t specialised surveillance gear but the kind of thing you will find on any high street or internet seller. You don’t need to pay a small fortune for it and you will find now that you can get a lot of kit for your money. We wouldn’t advice you buy this sort of equipment in for this as we didn’t’. We found it around….
Those who are subjected to what we’ve covered here are not made of stone. We wish we were, in order to be able to withstand what is thrown at us. But we are who we are, and that’s what makes us different. So different that some people find us worthy of ridicule.
A person’s confidence is shattered by this behaviour. They may become paranoid and frightened to do anything. Their general health will be affected due to increased stress levels. It may even trigger anxiety and depression, causing some to feel there’s no way out and take their own lives. This happened to a friend of mine. This behaviour cannot be allowed to continue unchecked and the police tell me it’s likely to get worse.
We’ve noticed that when we confront these idiots on screen, they won’t look at the camera and very often repeat themselves. They will often show their true colours. We’ve found one on our doorstep. When we challenged our neighbour on our doorstep about us, his behaviour, his accusations etc., he proved very incapable of justifying himself on camera! Unfortunately, we haven’t kept the footage, but anyone wanting to know, just come and talk to us.
If you’d like to talk to us you can reach us at Newport City Radio, so until next time, this is Hawkeye and Dangerous Debbie blogging off.