Murder online: the logic that links viewing with doing is shaky
Jamie Reynolds, 23, murdered 17-year-old Georgia Williams. He was sentenved to life imprisonment.
In sentencing Reynolds at Stafford Crown Court, Mr Justice Alan Wilkie told him he “had the potential to progressing to become a serial killer”.
The Daily Mail notes:
After his arrest, detectives found 16,800 images and 72 videos of extreme pornography on his computer. Some of the images were doctored pictures of girls and women he knew, with ropes digitally drawn around their necks. He had penned up to 40 short stories with graphic descriptions of sexual violence against women and had also written a script detailing a girl’s murder.
Reynolds planned for murder:
After taking a series of innocent pictures of the teenager, Reynolds persuaded her to stand on the box with the rope around her neck. He then bound Georgia’s hands together before kicking the box away causing the pretty teenage RAF cadet to asphyxiate. After she died, Reynolds – who hoarded hardcore ‘snuff’ movies featuring sexual killings – stripped Georgia and abused her lifeless body.
The Mail’s reference to the victim’s look is absurd. The paper adds:
In court it emerges that Reynolds began hunting for clips of women being strangled six years before the attack. When he was arrested police found 16,800 images and 72 videos of extreme pornography on his computer.
Reynolds had previous. It emerged in court Reynolds was handed a police caution in 2008, aged 17, for trying to strangle another teenage girl.
The IPCC has announced that Devon and Cornwall Police are investigating West Mercia’s handling of the case.
But what about the porn? The Mail makes a link between it and Reynolds’ actions:
Lord Thomas, who threw out Reynolds’ appeal against his whole life term last year, said the case ‘left me in no doubt at all that the peddling of pornography on the internet had a dramatic effect on the individual’.
He added: ‘What is available to download and to see is simply horrific and it played a real part in the way in which this particular murder was carried out.’
The Mail then editorialises:
He told the Commons justice committee the crime in May 2013 had been influenced – and intensified – by pornography. It was hard to believe, he said, that Reynolds could have come up with his sickening plan without first reading about similar fantasies or offences online.
But he could have read books, magazines of even the Mail’s report on how he committed his crime:
He even set up a homemade gallows made from an upturned red recycling box beneath a rope which was attached to the loft hatch.
Got that? Ok, now away you go.
Jamie Reynolds is a depraved killer. He looked and hoarded repulsive images. So. Eveyrone who looks at such eimages must be suspected of being a killer-in-waiting. they are guilty in thought. And that goes for Daily Mail readers who can enjoy such stories as:
And that’s if Mail readers aren’t being invited to ogle pre-teen girls.
Jamie Reynolds didn’t just look at porn. He also made up stories. But can only killer be made to represent all of us? If you don’t trust humanity it can:
Michael Ellis, a barrister and Tory MP, said the Lord Chief Justice’s evidence was significant because judges knew better than almost anyone about the driving forces behind offences…
He added: ‘If the impression he has been left with, having dealt with some of the most serious cases, that extreme pornography is influencing some crimes, then I think that is very persuasive.’
It might be persuasive. But that doesn’t make it right. The Mail then adds:
In October 2012, Mark Bridger was jailed for a whole-life term after being found guilty of killing five-year-old April Jones a year earlier. He had searched for images of child abuse and rape.
And in May 2013, Stuart Hazell was jailed for murdering 12-year-old Tia Sharp after scouring the internet for vile child porn using terms such as ‘violent forced rape’ and ‘incest’.
The link between what you see and what you do is flimsy. Do video games make you violent? Did video nasties turn the sane into rapists and human flesh eaters? Those 1980s video nasties are now sold as classic movies. The logic that links viewing with doing is shaky.
In 1930 Sergei Eisenstein was bemused as to why the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) bbanned his Battleship Potemkin, appraising the censors:
“One of them is blind and probably deals with the silent films; another one is deaf and so gets the sound films; the third one chose to die while I was in London.”
So ban it. Ban the video nasties. Ban the computer games that look so real. Ban the porn. Prevent everyone from seeing lest individuals confuse entertainment for reality and run amuck. People are so slack-jawed and empty that watching a film will turn them and you into a murderer. People do not think for themselves. The censors will view it, decide on its worth and ban it.
What a terrible view of humanity we are being sold.
We should tolerate individual fantasies that are not acted upon with harmful consequences. Don’t ban it. Debate it. Hold it up for discussion, mockery, riducle and question.