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In the Cyberbullying part, we outlined a new entertainment that has been spreading among the young Britons – happy slapping. Let’s talk about this perverted time killing and excitement more because popularity of happy slapping is growing and it won’t take a long time when the first fans will appear in our country. It won’t be fun!
Happy slapping first appeared in 2005 in South London in hip hop communities of so called „gangsta teenagers“, who can be easily identified according to loose clothes and imitations of golden necklaces. These people are waiting for an unsuspecting victim, with cameras or mobile phones prepared, to attack him or her. Attacks are characterized by unprecedented malice, which is driven by the desire to get the most aggressive and "amazing" video. The victim is chosen from both random and familiar people and the attack is initiated all on purpose and unexpectedly from behind. Such a group publishes this video on the Internet as a next great catch. There have been killed several people thanks to this perverted entertainment in Britain, where is “happy slapping” spread the most. Unexpectedness and craftiness are intensified and anybody may be a victim. There are cases known in which a biker had a branch put into spokes just to fall down in a funny way.
The term “happy slapping” was first used in a newspaper article called “Aggressors make mobile phone videos of their attacks”. Society downplayed behaviour of youths not supposing that happy slapping would ever become a crime, perceiving it just a joke. When, however, attacks happened more often and their brutality was intensified, it was necessary to take a legal action. In England, happy slapping was given a verdict for the first time in 2008. Two male culprits at the age of 19 and 17 attacked an unknown man, who was hospitalised and later died of ruptured mucous membrane. The case wouldn’t be so special if there wasn’t a girl recording the attack on her mobile phone. The girl was sentenced for two years, the 17 years old minor was sentenced for six years and the major aggressor was sentenced for seven years unconditionally. Good news is that happy slapping became a crime in 2007 in France, where Nicolas Sarkozy has suggested it, and then pushed into Article 44 that deals with the law on assault. Since happy slapping culprits shall be punished up to five years of imprisonment.
What are motives of youths to make such fun? Generally, it is just another way of time killing and experiencing excitement. This theory is supported by a statement of Many Logan, 16 in MTV programme, Mugging for Kicks: “When you see someone looking really stupid in the park, you just run and destroy him quickly. It’s simply fun!” According to some independent parties, programmes such as Jackass or Dirty Sanchez have caused this new entertainment. Actors make fun of themselves and their friends in short videos. Most of the videos cross the line of self-destruction. We can laugh at intentional golf cars clashes, headless driving of shopping cart, intentional use of a taser, jumping through fluorescent lamps or stampede from a herd of bulls. These risky actions gambling with health are turned as a joke against someone. For example, booby ejection boxing glove hitting anyone who knocks on the door, a swarm of bees in a closed car, or a cast cactus that remains stuck in a face. Every and each new video must be more original then previous one, must catch watchers and at the same time it must shock. It isn’t a surprise when young people try to imitate famous stars. A disservice for happy slapping did a popular English football player Wayne Roone. Dirty Sanchez group met him and asked him to fire at volunteers in a goal. Of course, the more powerful blow, the better. The camera itself looks for screw up faces and actors show their pain rewardingly. Shooting of these popular videos joined several stars such as Tony Hawk (a pro skateboarder), Mat Hoffman (a pro biker on BMX bikes), Brad Pitt (an actor), Shaquille O’Neal (a basketball player), CKY (a musical group), Puff Daddy (a rapper), Quinton Jackson (a boxer). Celebrities raise both popularity of such videos and their own prestige for young people. These fashionable videos have caused a lot but it isn’t possible to blame them for everything. Another part of the problem is spreading apathy, inability to be empathic, dysfunctional family, a lack of authorities, personal frustration, boredom and dissatisfaction. Such depressed individuals are just a little step from joining alike people and making fun to the exclusion of others and in addition they become popular through their published videos.
A new branch of happy slapping has been created and it is called “bumfights”. This means that fighters are homeless people and dossers. There is also a controversial series with the same name in which homeless people brutally fight for money – almost as modern gladiators. Youths actually make their own fun of homeless people. They are a great aim for attacking – physically weak, defenceless, usually drunk and asleep. Moreover, homeless people have a certain social stigma – they are regarded as inferior unimportant scum that bothers everyone and whose beating up is actually a right thing to do. There have been several attacks that ended with death. Here are the most shocking attacks:
- 9 June 2005, England. Two adolescent boys attacked a student Kerry Sevill, 17. One of the boys shot the girl into her leg by a rifle while the second one recorded it on his mobile phone. The video was published on the Internet.
- 18 June 2005, England. The police arrested three fourteen years old boys being suspected from raping an eleven years old girl. The school management was warned after one of the employees had found the video of this deed in a student’s mobile phone.
- December 2005, England. David Morley was murdered. Chelsea O’Mahoney, 15 and other defendants Reece Saergant, 21; Darren Case, 18 and David Blenman, 17 were found guilty of unintetional murder of David Morley. According to the report, O’Mahoney recorded her friends when kicking David to death.
- 23 October 2006, Australia. The police started a investigation about DVD that contained a recording of two adolescent boys raping a girl and then set her hair on fire. It is said that copies of DVD were sold.
- July 2007, England. Anthony Anderson, 27 urinated on a dying women and his friend recorded it on his mobile phone yelling: “This is YouTube material!”
- March 2008, England. An adolescent girl jumped out of a window when escaping from a girl gang that wanted to slap her.
Here are several opinions about happy slapping:
“I think that they do it just to harm other young people by making fun of them. The cause is in excess TV programmes that made them to do the same things.”
“I think that it is just a different way how to draw attention to such people.”
“These people think that doing such things make them stronger and more respected in a bunch. TV only helps to spread different ways of attacking.”
“It’s ridiculous! Happy slapping is awkward!”
“I think that a teenager doing such things doesn’t have a good and strong relationship with his or her family.”
Let’s not be mistaken, similar incidents also happen in our country. There was a mass fight of elementary school pupils revealed in Usti nad Labem. The whole action was recorded on a mobile phone and then published on the Internet. The role of both school and teachers, but especially families is important in such situations.