22 votes

British lawmaker David Amess dies after being stabbed multiple times while meeting constituents

33 comments

  1. [29]
    mat
    Link
    Stuff like this is a little tricky because while I have no wish to condone actual murder and I do feel for his family and friends, and I don't want to crow over the death of a human being... on...

    Stuff like this is a little tricky because while I have no wish to condone actual murder and I do feel for his family and friends, and I don't want to crow over the death of a human being... on the other hand he was a nasty piece of sexist, racist, homophobic shit who voted for numerous things which caused other people pain, suffering and likely even policies which led to - or at least contributed to - deaths. His voting record is here.

    He didn't deserve to die for that, though. Lose his job, certainly. Retributive justice, perhaps. Stabbing? Much as I detest his politics, no. Not that. Although I can understand why someone would want to.

    23 votes
    1. [2]
      post_below
      Link Parent
      I appreciate this because nuanced emotion and thought often land poorly online... Everywhere really, but online most of all. In this case it's not even that much nuance. I see no problem, or...

      I appreciate this because nuanced emotion and thought often land poorly online... Everywhere really, but online most of all.

      In this case it's not even that much nuance. I see no problem, or paradox, in having these seemingly conflicting perspectives at the same time (murder is bad, death is sad, maybe there are positives).

      I think often the reason this sort of thing doesn't go over well is that we have such strong opinions about what you are and aren't supposed to say. Strong sometimes to the point of irrational. Which powers the sort of fallacious escalation where a reader goes from "maybe there are upsides" to "why don't you just scream in his mourning loved ones faces about how happy you are he's dead?!"

      We all think and feel conflicting things, nothing wrong with that. For example, parents can love their kids and still sometimes muse wistfully about what a child free life might have been like. We shouldn't expect them to suppress those thoughts and feelings, nothing good comes from that.

      If they did this musing out loud in front of their small children, it wouldn't be ok. Much like your sentiments wouldn't be ok at the man's funeral.

      But since we aren't at said funeral, where's the harm? Do we imagine thoughts expressed on small internet forums will go on to fundamentally change the rules of society? Do we need to take ourselves that seriously?

      Anyway cheers for the mildly risky post. I know nothing about Mr Amess but I support all attempts to add nuance to the reductive, hyper vigilant, internet of the 2020s.

      13 votes
      1. cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Seconded. I am super conflicted about this sort of news and the typical online reactions to it too, so it was nice to finally read a nuanced discussion about this from different perspectives. I...

        Anyway cheers for the mildly risky post.

        Seconded. I am super conflicted about this sort of news and the typical online reactions to it too, so it was nice to finally read a nuanced discussion about this from different perspectives.

        I also think everyone involved deserves massive kudos for presenting their opinions on this difficult and touchy subject in such a mature manner, and not letting it devolve into insults and personal attacks (as these things unfortunately often do, especially online).

        10 votes
    2. [26]
      streblo
      Link Parent
      How is it tricky? Can't we just come out and say it's bad without any caveats? You can find me the most vile person in my country -- at no point is there any justification or room for...

      Stuff like this is a little tricky

      How is it tricky? Can't we just come out and say it's bad without any caveats? You can find me the most vile person in my country -- at no point is there any justification or room for fence-sitting and hand-wringing re: them getting stabbed to death. Anything less helps condone violence and erode democratic norms.

      19 votes
      1. [23]
        mat
        Link Parent
        What's tricky is that this isn't unequivocally terrible news. I'm not sitting on a fence here, I'm being very clear where I stand. There are many, many reasons it is terrible but things aren't...

        What's tricky is that this isn't unequivocally terrible news. I'm not sitting on a fence here, I'm being very clear where I stand. There are many, many reasons it is terrible but things aren't always black or white. The world is very probably a marginally better place without David Amess in it. Not for his friends or family, but certainly for a lot of the people his future votes would have caused suffering for. He stood for, and did, a lot of pretty bad things.

        This is awkward partly because we're not supposed to speak ill of the dead (although that's clearly nonsense); but also because any comment along the lines of "well, perhaps the world is a little better off without him" is often read as some kind of endorsement of murder - which, to be very clear, I am absolutely not endorsing.

        But him leaving politics is still a positive thing. The manner of his exit is not. It's entirely possible to express that opinion without condoning violence nor eroding democratic norms (although if you have any tips on how to do the latter without stabbing anyone, the norms we currently have in this country do require some serious change).

        17 votes
        1. [12]
          streblo
          Link Parent
          I understand your argument but I disagree. I think there is a time and place for these observations outside the immediate aftermath of an event like this. Otherwise it comes across as exactly what...

          I understand your argument but I disagree.

          The world is very probably a marginally better place without David Amess in it.

          I think there is a time and place for these observations outside the immediate aftermath of an event like this. Otherwise it comes across as exactly what you're trying to avoid. You yourself I think recognize this:

          Stuff like this is a little tricky

          I don't want to crow over the death of a human being... on the other hand

          I don't have a great frame of reference re: British politics but perhaps we both have a common one in American politics. Imagine an unabashed conservative crowing on about an assassination of AOC in the same manner you are: "I don't think she deserved to die but the world is undoubtedly better off without her... etc. etc." -- that doesn't come across as implicit approval of violence to you?

          To me at least it does. Disapproval of violence while acknowledging it's utility in the same breath ultimately rings hollow to me.

          8 votes
          1. [11]
            mat
            Link Parent
            Perhaps part of the problem is that all day today I've heard various Tories (Tories = UK conservatives) on the news harping on about what an amazing, kind, fundamentally good person he was. When...

            Perhaps part of the problem is that all day today I've heard various Tories (Tories = UK conservatives) on the news harping on about what an amazing, kind, fundamentally good person he was. When he was demonstrably nothing of the sort. I'm sure he was very pleasant in person, most politicians are. It is their job. And I'm sure he was kind to his family and loved ones, again, most people are. But his voting record speaks for itself. He caused a lot of harm to a lot of people.

            I don't think idolising the dead - or the lesser form of immediately pardoning them - does anyone any favours. There is a context, of course, where such discussion is not appropriate. I would hardly be saying "yeah but he was a bit of a homophobe though" to his widow. But this is not that context. I also don't think there's a "too soon" because David Amess is not going to be news in a few hours. I will probably never type his name again after this weekend. This - for the most unfortunate of reasons - is his day, warts and all.

            I also think you have to take intent into consideration. Some of your republicans probably would be genuinely happy that AOC had been killed. Some of them would probably wish they'd done it. But I'm not glad Amess is dead. I wasn't even glad when Thatcher died, and she was far worse. I can be happy that he's no longer able to cause any more of the harm he spent most of his political career causing without remotely condoning the violence that led to that situation. So in answer to your question, absolutely I think it's possible to hold those two views at once. I don't see a problem there. Violence is bad, but so was David Amess. There's no contradiction. I think in people (at least here) are capable of understanding that kind of nuance, aren't they? This isn't Fox News.

            13 votes
            1. [5]
              streblo
              Link Parent
              For sure, as an outsider I have a different context than you do, and that's understandable. Is there a functional difference between these? In my opinion, they are not very distinct given the...

              Perhaps part of the problem is that all day today I've heard various Tories (Tories = UK conservatives) on the news harping on about what an amazing, kind, fundamentally good person he was. When he was demonstrably nothing of the sort.

              For sure, as an outsider I have a different context than you do, and that's understandable.

              But I'm not glad Amess is dead.
              I can be happy that he's no longer able to cause any more of the harm

              Is there a functional difference between these? In my opinion, they are not very distinct given the circumstances of why he can't cause anymore harm and as such there is an acknowledgement, even if unintentional, on the positive outcome of violence.

              I also don't think there's a "too soon" because David Amess is not going to be news in a few hours. I will probably never type his name again after this weekend. This - for the most unfortunate of reasons - is his day, warts and all.

              I think in general we are so used to championing "our team" that when there is some duly 'positive' (very incorrect term but I can't think of a better way to describe it) press for the opposition -- e.g. "various Tories on the news harping on about what an amazing, kind, fundamentally good person he was" our default is to contradict it. I don't doubt this guy is a wanker but I think it's more important just to briefly acknowledge our shared humanity than it is to score a "yea... but" riposte. That's not to say tragedies can't be political -- they certainly can but I don't think this one is.

              I think in people (at least here) are capable of understanding that kind of nuance, aren't they? This isn't Fox News.

              Context certainly matters but ideas and sentiment transcend context regularly. I certainly don't have a problem with you stating your opinion here, I'm just offering my three cents on it.

              3 votes
              1. [2]
                mat
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                I think there is. It might not be a very obvious difference but I think it's there and perhaps it only works if you're in my head and know how the feelings differ! To give a slightly different...

                Is there a functional difference between these? In my opinion, they are not very distinct given the circumstances of why he can't cause anymore harm and as such there is an acknowledgement, even if unintentional, on the positive outcome of violence.

                I think there is. It might not be a very obvious difference but I think it's there and perhaps it only works if you're in my head and know how the feelings differ! To give a slightly different example of how that might work, when my grandfather died I was, in part, glad. Because he was suffering a lot so while his death was a bad thing, there was a positive aspect in the ending of that suffering.

                I appreciate that's a somewhat different situation and doesn't directly compare, but it's similar. Death, being a human thing, is rarely 100% black or white.

                I also think in this particular instance it's a very fine line to walk and I'm very aware of having to be careful about doing that. There is some interesting discussion to be had on the subject as well, which is part of why I posted what I did.

                I think in general we are so used to championing "our team" that when there is some duly 'positive' (very incorrect term but I can't think of a better way to describe it) press for the opposition [...] our default is to contradict it.

                A fair point but I am trying hard not to do that. This isn't the first time something like this has happened, and it's not the first time I've considered my opinion on the topic. I spent most of today painting a wall with the radio on (so lots of news breaks) and have had time to consider so I hope this is a considered opinion rather than a mere reaction.

                8 votes
                1. streblo
                  Link Parent
                  We are getting rather philosophical rather quickly here but I think when we are looking for silver linings in grief we are ultimately helping ourselves rationalize the death of a loved one. The...

                  To give a slightly different example of how that might work, when my grandfather died I was, in part, glad. Because he was suffering a lot so while his death was a bad thing, there was a positive aspect in the ending of that suffering.

                  We are getting rather philosophical rather quickly here but I think when we are looking for silver linings in grief we are ultimately helping ourselves rationalize the death of a loved one. The world can be a cruel and unforgiving place and pointing out the positives in death is a good coping mechanism. In my opinion, I don't think this can be fairly extended to commenting on the outcomes of a murder we are most happy about. For one, it being a murder changes the equation and two, it's different when we are pointing out positives for people who are not the deceased. Even among loved ones, "at least we don't have to suffer her turkey dinner anymore" only flies for people very close to the family lest it be seen as callous.

                  But my concern isn't with sanctity or callousness -- this is a public figure after all and people will comment on their death. But political violence needs to be treated with kid gloves lest it invite more violence. And while you may be totally correct that it's perfectly acceptable to make these statements to your friend in the pub or even on Tildes they are not altogether different than what I would expect to see on Twitter et al. if politician X died, which to me, sadly, does indeed normalize political violence . So I apologize for using you as a metaphorical punching bag but thought the point needed to be made.

                  3 votes
              2. [2]
                Cycloneblaze
                Link Parent
                What I wonder is why you insist on drawing a link between these two statements, and reducing every positive sentiment down to "I'm glad someone murdered this man"? There's a good case to be made...

                Is there a functional difference between these? In my opinion, they are not very distinct given the circumstances of why he can't cause anymore harm and as such there is an acknowledgement, even if unintentional, on the positive outcome of violence.

                What I wonder is why you insist on drawing a link between these two statements, and reducing every positive sentiment down to "I'm glad someone murdered this man"? There's a good case to be made that that kind of blunt moralism is what got him murdered in the first place. "If you didn't like this guy, you must be cheering over his murder! You must think murdering politicians you don't like, is an acceptable way to stop them doing the things you don't like!" Don't be so reductionist, I thought we were better than that on this website.

                mat didn't say that, they said pretty much the opposite, and yet you keep trying to read it into his words. That's pretty hostile.

                6 votes
                1. streblo
                  Link Parent
                  I was guilty of using mat’s comments as a stand-in for internet commenters at-large, and I apologized for that. Otherwise I found it a polite and worthwhile conversation. I think it’s a lot more...

                  I was guilty of using mat’s comments as a stand-in for internet commenters at-large, and I apologized for that. Otherwise I found it a polite and worthwhile conversation.

                  I think it’s a lot more hostile to wade into a polite discussion days later and declare it hostile, but maybe that’s just me.

                  6 votes
            2. [5]
              fredo
              Link Parent
              There's absolutely nothing wrong with holding this opinion, the issue is the time in which you chose to express it. It is very hard to read all this without arriving at the hidden premise in your...

              So in answer to your question, absolutely I think it's possible to hold those two views at once. I don't see a problem there

              There's absolutely nothing wrong with holding this opinion, the issue is the time in which you chose to express it. It is very hard to read all this without arriving at the hidden premise in your reasoning, which is "murder is okay when the victim is immoral".

              And it really makes no difference if you say otherwise because this hidden premise is a requirement for the argument to be cogent at all...

              1. [4]
                mat
                Link Parent
                Why? Why do you have to assume that? Especially when I (thought I) was very clear that's not what I am saying. Because it happened today? Would you make that unwarranted assumption tomorrow? Next...

                It is very hard to read all this without arriving at the hidden premise in your reasoning, which is "murder is okay when the victim is immoral".

                Why? Why do you have to assume that? Especially when I (thought I) was very clear that's not what I am saying.

                Because it happened today? Would you make that unwarranted assumption tomorrow? Next week?

                I will feel the same way in a day, a week, a year. It doesn't make any difference when I say this.

                If I was glad he was dead and I thought murdering Tories was OK, I would just say that. I don't care that much about what you think to bother hiding that. But that's not what I think.

                because this hidden premise is a requirement for the argument to be cogent at all...

                No it isn't. That makes no sense.

                11 votes
                1. [3]
                  fredo
                  Link Parent
                  I'd definitely have a different impression if you wrote exactly the same thing a week from now.

                  Because it happened today? Would you make that unwarranted assumption tomorrow? Next week?

                  I'd definitely have a different impression if you wrote exactly the same thing a week from now.

                  1 vote
                  1. [2]
                    mat
                    Link Parent
                    So the hidden premise that "murder is OK if it's someone I don't like" exists in my opinion - or not - dependent on when I say something? That's really interesting. I assume you did not know David...

                    So the hidden premise that "murder is OK if it's someone I don't like" exists in my opinion - or not - dependent on when I say something?

                    That's really interesting. I assume you did not know David Amess, or have any connection to him. I don't think you're in the UK so his politics have no impact on your life. His death means nothing to you. So why does a week change anything?

                    8 votes
                    1. fredo
                      (edited )
                      Link Parent
                      I don't care about a UK politician. I care about you. Edit: rhetorically speaking, a distance in time demonstrates less emotional investment. In other words, talking ill of the dead on the same...

                      I don't care about a UK politician. I care about you.

                      Edit: rhetorically speaking, a distance in time demonstrates less emotional investment. In other words, talking ill of the dead on the same day that they were murdered will inevitably give the impression that the speaker is experimenting joy as a consequence of the crime. Regardless of the true feelings of the speaker, it often creates pointless controversy -- this entire discussion serves as an example.

                      2 votes
        2. [9]
          fredo
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          You may find this argument more persuasive: even the worst criminal can be missed by someone who is not a criminal. Out of respect to those, it is customary to avoid expressing joy or satisfaction...

          You may find this argument more persuasive: even the worst criminal can be missed by someone who is not a criminal. Out of respect to those, it is customary to avoid expressing joy or satisfaction with such death when it just happened.

          3 votes
          1. [8]
            TheJorro
            Link Parent
            It's customary to avoid doing it to the face of those loved ones, or in public statements that tarnish the person's public image. That's custom because it's emotionally stupid or cruel to do...

            It's customary to avoid doing it to the face of those loved ones, or in public statements that tarnish the person's public image. That's custom because it's emotionally stupid or cruel to do something like that to someone in mourning.

            But this is a private statement on a small website. He's not DMing the family members, or putting it out there on Twitter with the intention of his statement to circulate and take over any public discourse. The only this this is crossing is a nebulous discomfort some people have about speaking ill of the dead—it's superstition. You've said yourself that if this was said a week later, then you would receive it differently. That means it's not a problem of the statement or sentiment, it's just a problem with your own personal interpretation.

            What are you trying to persuade them towards, exactly?

            7 votes
            1. [4]
              Grzmot
              Link Parent
              I don't have a horse in this race, but I take issue with this. Tildes is tiny, yes, but it's not a private statement owing to the fact that any person with an internet connection can find this...

              But this is a private statement on a small website.

              I don't have a horse in this race, but I take issue with this. Tildes is tiny, yes, but it's not a private statement owing to the fact that any person with an internet connection can find this statement. Will it get lost in the waves of the digital sea? Most likely. But we've had a good amount of conversation on Tildes now about "correct" language or "PC" language or whatever you want to call it, and while this issue is a bit different, I feel like the core issue is that this is public and you never know who is going to read your statements and how they are going to take it.

              I understand what @mat meant when they said what they said, but saying something like "I don't support murder but the world is a (marginally) better place without this man" can be read as an underhanded condonement of murder.

              2 votes
              1. TheJorro
                Link Parent
                Well, I also added this right after to qualify it further: It's uncouth to force ones negative statements about someone who has just died upon loved ones, but it shouldn't be to voice one's...

                Well, I also added this right after to qualify it further:

                He's not DMing the family members, or putting it out there on Twitter with the intention of his statement to circulate and take over any public discourse.

                It's uncouth to force ones negative statements about someone who has just died upon loved ones, but it shouldn't be to voice one's thoughts at all, which is what this has crossed into with the notion of "you can't say that yet!"

                I understand what @mat meant when they said what they said, but saying something like "I don't support murder but the world is a (marginally) better place without this man" can be read as an underhanded condonement of murder.

                I mean, at some point there has to be responsibility upon the reader for their legwork in coming to that conclusion. mat also provided plenty of reservations about holding such complicated, somewhat contradictory thoughts about this event but it seems there's a rush to distill it down into something simpler. And that simpler thing is a bit more questionable but only because it's not really true to the original sentiment.

                4 votes
              2. [2]
                post_below
                Link Parent
                Everything anyone says has the potential to offend or upset someone. Given a large enough audience the odds approach 100%. I'm not sure that's a good argument for not saying the thing, except in...

                Everything anyone says has the potential to offend or upset someone. Given a large enough audience the odds approach 100%.

                I'm not sure that's a good argument for not saying the thing, except in all of the obvious cases (hate speech and so on). Taken to its logical conclusion it results in a sort of ultra sanitized dystopia.

                We should strive to be sensitive to other viewpoints, but we should also give people the benefit of the doubt. Just because something someone says lands personally as offensive, doesn't automatically make the intent malicious.

                Childishness exists on both sides of this particular coin.

                2 votes
                1. Grzmot
                  Link Parent
                  I understand that a lot better than you might think, because I've been on the opposing side on a lot of these discussions, here on Tildes too. I just feel like going "I don't condone murder,...

                  I understand that a lot better than you might think, because I've been on the opposing side on a lot of these discussions, here on Tildes too.

                  I just feel like going "I don't condone murder, but..." Is just a roundabout way of saying "I condone murder."

                  I don't know. It's a nuanced issue and I'm most likely debating about very nonsensical things considering the chance that someone who truly cares would ever read that comment is astronomically low.

                  3 votes
            2. [3]
              fredo
              Link Parent
              Of course it's a problem of my own personal interpretation, I just happen to think that my own personal interpretation is relevant. I would like to persuade him or her to consider some negative...

              Of course it's a problem of my own personal interpretation, I just happen to think that my own personal interpretation is relevant.

              I would like to persuade him or her to consider some negative implications of their discourse, which might undermine otherwise valid points.

              1 vote
              1. [2]
                TheJorro
                Link Parent
                As far as I can tell, all the negative implications suggested are from personal interpretations that contradict what was actually said.

                As far as I can tell, all the negative implications suggested are from personal interpretations that contradict what was actually said.

                2 votes
                1. fredo
                  Link Parent
                  I think the problem here is that, understandably for a mostly technically minded forum, we're trying to use logic for what is actually a rhetorical problem. At this point, may I respectfully...

                  I think the problem here is that, understandably for a mostly technically minded forum, we're trying to use logic for what is actually a rhetorical problem. At this point, may I respectfully propose that we can agree to disagree?

                  1 vote
        3. NaraVara
          Link Parent
          Unfortunately the manner of his exit could have far reaching consequences. Once political violence is normalized it gets really hard to put the genie back in the bottle. Nobody will be safe, and...

          Unfortunately the manner of his exit could have far reaching consequences. Once political violence is normalized it gets really hard to put the genie back in the bottle. Nobody will be safe, and the least safe will be the very people guys like Ames have targeted in the past.

          2 votes
      2. fredo
        Link Parent
        It's worth mentioning that many of us are against the death penalty for most or all crimes, and it would be therefore contradictory for us to support murder, even the murder of bigots.

        It's worth mentioning that many of us are against the death penalty for most or all crimes, and it would be therefore contradictory for us to support murder, even the murder of bigots.

        5 votes
      3. pArSeC
        Link Parent
        You can do what you like. I did a little dance.

        Can't we just

        You can do what you like. I did a little dance.

        1 vote
  2. vegai
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm flabbergasted that this act of terrorism is lowkey defended here.

    I'm flabbergasted that this act of terrorism is lowkey defended here.

    6 votes
  3. mycketforvirrad
    Link
    Fatal stabbing of British MP is terrorist incident, police say Euronews – 16th October 2021

    Fatal stabbing of British MP is terrorist incident, police say

    UK police declared the fatal stabbing of Sir David Amess a terrorist incident as the investigation into the incident continued.

    "The early investigation has revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism," UK police said in a statement overnight.

    It comes five years after Labour MP Joe Cox was fatally stabbed in her constituency. A far-right extremist was convicted of her murder.

    Euronews – 16th October 2021

    4 votes
  4. [2]
    bilbodwyer
    Link
    Honestly this doesn't give me much hope about the slip towards authoritarianism in the UK. The current government have quite the streak of it already, and I fear that an incident of this sort will...

    Honestly this doesn't give me much hope about the slip towards authoritarianism in the UK. The current government have quite the streak of it already, and I fear that an incident of this sort will galvanise not only the policy-makers, but a whole lot of the public as well.

    3 votes
    1. norney
      Link Parent
      It's terrifying that this is a gift to the likes of Patel and the rest of the hang 'em and flog 'em brigade.

      It's terrifying that this is a gift to the likes of Patel and the rest of the hang 'em and flog 'em brigade.

      4 votes