The Way I See It

Watching television isn’t one of my most favourable past times, as I’ve pointed out previously. The relentless dirge of reality TV has destroyed the viewing experience. Wannabe celebs, parading their daily spray-tanned torsos and surgically enhanced assets, evoke a Bruce Banner to Incredible Hulk moment in me. And that’s just the men, the women are worse.

However, I’m going to confess to watching ‘The Street’ earlier this week. As a frequent visitor to Glasgow, the reality show following the lives of people on Sauchiehall Street did stir up the minimal interest required for me to turn on the television in the first place. Actually, it was a news outlet claiming they’d captured footage of a racist attack in Glasgow city centre, which really captured my attention, but I watched the show nonetheless, before viewing the clip of a busker being abused for nothing other than the colour of his skin. Something that occurred to me was that surely the camera man who captured the footage had colleagues in close proximity. And rather than help a person who was being verbally abused and under threat of physical violence, it appears that people may have stood by to film the event for so-called viewing entertainment. Thankfully, the two dimwits responsible for the cowardly attack met their match in African street performer Melo, who proclaimed defiantly “I’m black and proud.” Good on him. I only hope the actions of the two racist imbeciles didn’t influence his perception of Scottish people.

The scene was similar to a situation I found myself in only weeks previously. After leaving Central Station, I saw a man spitting on a woman begging in the street. It astounded me that a person could stoop so low.

It was a humiliating experience for a lady already at rock bottom. Whether it was stupidity or bravery that made me voice my disgust at the guy, I don’t know. In all honesty, he was wearing headphones and I didn’t expect him to hear me. It led to an uncomfortable walk towards St Enoch’s tube station, as the man asked if I had a problem and we walked in tandem for a few hundred yards, until the site of two uniformed police officers made him tail off in another direction. Just in the nick of time, for him of course, I’d purposely been letting a stream of reality TV programmes reverberate around in my head and I was turning green. I have to admit, though, I’ve never been so pleased to see the police.

The similarity in the two cases isn’t just that both victims were begging on the streets. It’s that the perpetrators of both these vile acts thought it perfectly acceptable to vent their twisted spleens in the full glare of the general public.

Makes you wonder what would have happened if there was no-one around. We are all entitled to our views, but publicly humiliating or attacking people goes far beyond the restraints of an opinion.

The worrying thing for me is that these sort of offences will happen on a daily basis, going unnoticed and unpunished. No-one should be subjected to such things, regardless of the situation. There are many things in life I don’t like, but to make one’s displeasure known by spitting on someone is just appalling, and shouldn’t happen in our allegedly civilised society.

– By Hawick News blogger Darren Murphy