9 February 2011 (Wednesday) - Telescope, Injustice...

My sexy new telescope has arrived. There was quite a lot of packaging to dig through, but I think all the bits are there. I now need to smile hopefully at friends who might check the thing is properly collimated (as opposed to shining a laser into it and sucking air in through their teeth like I do). And then I need a clear night to take it outside and have a go at the night sky with it.
I still need to get some accessories – a power pack is a must: I am reliably informed that a set of eight batteries will last about twenty minutes. Battery power will get pricey. I also need a webcam and adaptor, and the lead to connect the telescope to my laptop.
I also need my laptop – but that will be a blog entry for another day.

Two days ago I had a rant about how the victims of rape are no longer victims, but accusers. On reflection, when I ranted on Monday I made one rather major assumption – that the victims are actually victims, and not merely “accusers”. I’ve had second thoughts. I feel I really should address both sides of the story on this matter.

There was an incident just up the road from me a few days ago. The street in which my children went to school was closed for a weekend whilst crime scene investigators searched for evidence after a young lady was raped. Or claimed she had been raped. Having found no evidence whatsoever, and the accused having more alibis than sense, the police then asked the young lady in question if she’d really been raped. It turned out she hadn’t at all. She’d had a squabble with her boyfriend who turned out to be the chap she’d accused. In her (presumably) rather simple mind she somehow thought it was perfectly acceptable to punish her boyfriend for daring to disagree with her. The punishment being the accusation of rape.
The consequences of this were endless. What must have gone through her boyfriend’s mind as he sat in the police cells? The closure of Victoria Road cost local businesses thousands of pounds in lost income. And how much police time and money was wasted?

Making false allegations isn’t a new thing. One of my heroes (well, anti-hero really) is Titus Oates. He was a cheeky one as well. Back in the seventeenth century when religion was seen to be important, Catholicism wasn’t seen to be a good thing in England, and Titus didn’t like the left-footers. Anybody squabbling with Titus on religious grounds found themselves accused of all manner of wrongdoing. The bimbo who cried rape just up the road from me was a total novice compared to Titus: he managed to get (at least) fifteen innocent people put to death for crossing him.

Unfounded accusations are rife in our society. Earl Howe has been quoted (in Hansard) as saying “The climate is like that of a witch-hunt in which the voice of reason and all sense of proportion is lost”. And he has a point. I was wrong when I allowed my piss to boil on Monday. Websites have been set up to protect those falsely accused. And is my memory that short? – I had the social workers banging on my front door six years ago when a nutty neighbour made utterly unfounded allegations about me to the social services.

I’ve forgotten one basic tenet of justice – “innocent until proven guilty”. And that’s proven guilty in a court of law with proper incontrovertible evidence.
Not “guilty because I’m having a fit of pique” !

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