Thursday, 19 August 2010

Children Encouraged to Assault and Steal from Smokers

It's not a headline I was expecting to write, but that's the startling news now. The perpetrators don't consider it assault and theft, they consider it some sort of moral crusade that can only be good, but make no mistake about it: a group of people swarming a person and taking their legal, paid-for cigarette out of their hand or mouth is assault and theft. Here's the low-down:

"The final idea was to go out and literally ambush smokers and take their cigarettes off them. The adverts don't works so we are going to make you stop smoking."

Firstly, "literally ambush" is illegal and constitutes a premidated attack.
Secondly, take their cigarettes off them. The cigarettes they legally purchased in a premise that is legally allowed to sell them. If they rushed up and stole your watch, or even a bottle of water, it wouldn't be accepted.
Finally, the adverts don't work? Sure they do, many people believe them, others realise they're bullshit. But it sure as hell isn't anyone's place to make anyone else stop doing what they want, especially when what they're doing is legal.

The group in question is children of CHundred of Hoo Comprehensive School in Medway. They call themselves the Ciggy Busters and even film themselves in the act of assault and theft - happy slapping is punishable, but this apparently is condoned.

The teacher responsible for this, Margherita Gramegna, said:
I was scared about doing something so crazy on the street - I mean you can get arrested.

But we researched it properly and planned it in a way that we covered all the possibilities.

We didn’t start directly with the general public because we were scared of their reaction, so we planted some people to demonstrate with first.

She also said that

I knew we could not really go and film in public and attack people in that way and take goods off of them, so we devised a cunning plan.

We planted some people and we started with them. People were watching and following us and at the end we tried with some other people.

Huh. She acknowledges it was an attack, that it was illegal and that she was scared of public reaction, so they just utilised tactics to convince themselves they were in the clear. Wrong. Encouraging students to behave in a manner is not only immoral and unjustifable but utterly against the law, too. So what did the law have to say about it? Nothing. The police were actually told before the event took place that it would be happening, and rather than turn up to arrest the infantile, intolerant little dipshits, they turned a blind eye. It'd be interesting to see if they do the same should they be informed a gang is running around stealing other purchased goods from the general public.

One of the most worrying things of this story though is the neglect from the teacher. She has willingly put her students into a potentially dangerous situation - there are plenty of people on the streets who won't take kindly to being assaulted and having their tobacco wrenched from their person, and will think nothing of fighting back. Where is the teacher responsibility (and that of the law)? She should be the first to say it's dangerous and not acceptable behaviour - no doubt she wouldn't condone them stealing alcohol from patrons leaving the supermarket (how could she, with a name like Margherita?).

The possible side-effects of such a stupid attack could be enormous. Aside from the students being assaulted back, what would happen should one of the smoking victims become injured as a result, or even worse, if one suffered a heart attack from the shock of what's going on? It's shocking this is condoned on any level, and the police should be arrested for not upholding the law (most other people get sacked for not doing their job, why are the police exempt from that?).

Should you think I'm overreacting with the word 'assault' or mentions of possible heart attacks or injury, take a look at the video of the kids in action. Click the video to watch it in Youtube and read a handful of the comments to see that the teacher really did put her students in a potentially hugely dangerous situation.


  1. This... TEACHER .... starts off by admitting it's illegal etc and then says "At first we did it" with volunteers but then look how she ends up her "cunning plan":

    "We planted some people and we started with them. People were watching and following us and at the end we tried with some other people."

    This person is still a TEACHER after this stunt????

    - MJM

  2. Eddie Douthwaite19 August 2010 at 18:42

    This is an appalling example of the Governments "Denormalisation of Smokers" campaign and an incitement to "Hate Crime".


  3. I agree with Eddie fullheartedly.