All Hell Breaks Loose

Friday, April 08, 2005

All Hell Breaks Loose

The Minutemen aren't the only vigiliantes around. Things are getting pretty wild here in the Netherlands.

I recently reported on the acquittal of suspected terrorist Samir A., and on his scuffle with a photographer upon his release. The photographer is now pressing assault charges. Meanwhile, Dutch politicians and citizens are outraged over the acquittal.

Newspaper 'De Telegraaf' ran a report on Friday claiming that all sections of the population had reacted with unease to A.'s release, claiming it had sparked a flood of telephone calls, emails and faxes to the newspaper.

It quoted a several people criticising court judges, urging protests or condemning Samir A. for the violence committed outside the Nieuwegein prison.

Public broadcaster NCRV said 82 percent of respondents to its opinion programme were opposed to the teenager's acquittal. Many people said they wanted to take the law into their own hands.

In other media-related news, the controversial TV program "Problem Neighborhoods" touched off a riot among citizens thirsting (purportedly) for justice. Locals, and the local council, have long complained about the city's policy of banning people from public housing for three years if they're caught cultivating marijuana. They claim that the city treats fairly normal people who grow pot worse than pedophiles. The TV show featured a local man admitting to having sex with his 8-year-old stepdaughter--presumably (though the news story doesn't make this clear) to show that at least one pedophile was faring better than the pot-growers.

Fortunately, the police had suspected that violence might follow the airing of the program and had advised the man to vacate his house earlier yesterday, so he wasn't home when his neighbors smashed his windows and threw furniture into the street.

Good thing he'd already been convicted of his crime and punished. Imagine what the locals would have done to him if he'd been acquitted.

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