Most helpful positive review
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
normalising the unthinkable
on 16 June 2011
A brilliant book by one of the UK's foremost investigative journalists exploring the pernicious impact of disability hate crime: on disabled people, their families and society at large. The author travels to the scenes of some of the most serious and notorious hate crimes committed against disabled people, and talks to bereaved families and friends who are struggling to come to terms with the brutal, and often sadistic murder of a loved one. Police Officers involved in some of the cases describe them as the worst they've encountered. The fact that many of these crimes were committed in areas of high density housing where neighbours were apparently able to tune out the horrific violence going on next door is particularly troubling, and brought to mind Hannah Arendt's 'banality of evil' theory which contests that the great evils in history were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths, but rather by ordinary people. Has the hostility towards and baiting of disabled people has become so 'normalised' (as Edward S Herman has argued) that "ugly, degrading, murderous, and unspeakable acts become routine and are accepted as 'the way things are done'"?. Disturbingly, whilst nothing new, the scapegoating of disabled people for society's ills has intensified and become more brazen in recent years, especially on internet. Cries of "burdens to society", "drain on taxpayers" and "scroungers" eerily echo Nazi slogans used to condone the systematic murder of disabled adults and children during the Holocaust. Many of those persecuted, tortured and executed during the witch-hunt era we learn, were disabled or vulnerable, and to this day in some cultures disabled children continue to be labelled as witches. Thanks to this landmark book, disability hate crime is a problem that can no longer be ignored.