‘Little Shannon’

The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilization of any country…an unfailing faith that there is a treasure if only you can find it, in the heart of every man – these are the symbols which in the treatment of crime and criminals mark and measure the stored-up strength of a nation, and are the sign and proof of the living virtue in it.

Winston Churchill to the House of Commons, July 1910

 ‘…the individuals who sat at the table at the Wannsee conference were salaried functionaries from one of Europe’s great nations, not back-street terrorists, though their crimes were to be greater than any conventional ‘criminal’ act in the history of the world. Equally instructive, when some still refer to an ill-educated ‘criminal underclass’, is that of the fifteen people around the table eight had academic doctorates.’ (My italics).

Auschwitz, the Nazis and the Final Solution, Laurence Rees

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Ecclesiastes  1:9

Shannon’s mother, the now infamous Karen Matthews is, according to Detective Superintendent Andy Brennan pure evil‘.  If this is so then what does that make this man (Peter Tobin)?  His story barely registered on my radar simply because it was not front page news and my patience with the mainstream media is almost at an end.  If the mainstream media coverage reflects the severity of a crime then that would make Ms. Matthews more evil than Mr. Tobin.  Feckless, inarticulate and not exactly over-endowed with brains she may be but ‘pure evil’?  In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think so.  She sucks at being evil and is, at this very moment, awaiting a rejection letter from hell.  Satan himself wrote: “Evil?  We’ve got Hitler, we’ve got Pol Pot, we’ve got Stalin.  Sorry, love, but your name ain’t down here so you’re not coming in.’

Superintendent. Brennan also (most unwisely in my opinion) stated his belief that if the police hadn’t found Shannon and arrested Michael Donavon when they did then she may have been murdered.  There appears to be no concrete evidence to support this, only speculation.  One has to wonder why, if this is true, Mr. Donovan was never charged with attempted murder.  This:  ‘Little Shannon Matthews may have been just minutes from being murdered when she was rescued, senior detectives revealed last night. They believe Michael Donovan was poised to kill her and flee when officers burst into the flat’ sounds like pure conjecture to me. ‘ Supt Andy Brennan, who led the massive hunt for the youngster said: “I am convinced Donovan was planning to take Shannon’s  life rather than face justice.’ ‘

I am not defending the actions of Ms. Matthews.  I condemn them unequivocally.  I also believe that her treatment at the hands of the mainstream media is, in comparison to the treatment of offenders who have committed similar crimes, somewhat disproportionate.  And I have a feeling her sentence will be too.

As for ‘Little Shannon’, she will probably wind up in care or spending what is left of her childhood in the custody of a seemingly endless stream of foster parents.  Until she is sixteen, that is, and the media lose interest in her and the cycle starts all over again.  Or maybe she’ll get the support she needs, compete school and even end up at university before embarking upon a high flying career.  In a parallel universe perhaps, one in which things actually make sense.

Predictably, this case is being used as a stick with which to beat the so-called ‘underclass’ and, even more predictably, it’s being used as a stick with which to beat new Mainstream Media Enemy No. 1: social workers.  No surprises there then.

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One Response to “‘Little Shannon’”

  1. Rachel Joyce Says:

    He certainly was evil and it was certainly top of hte broadcast news.
    I am not sure that trying to compare two bad acts is helpful – what is the point?
    Social workers are undersupported because it is all about “process”. The media should not attack them, but it is very legitimate to talk about the problems of society and not brush them under the carpet.
    Have a read of the centre for social justice’s work on the care system. It definately needs reforming.

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