Friday, 14 September 2012
Blaming the Victims
23 years ago Liverpool football fans attended a match at the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield. The stadium had recently been fitted with a high metal fence between the fans and the pitch to prevent pitch invasions and hooliganism, which was rife at the time. The stadium eventually became full to capacity. Yet still police mistakenly ordered another large gate to be opened and pushed more people into the penned up stadium.
The resulting crush caused the death of 96 fans (asphyxiated) as they had no way of getting out onto the pitch to escape. Over 700 more fans were injured. In the aftermath, the Liverpool fans were vilified by the press, particularly The Sun newspaper, and the victims blamed for the disaster.
For 23 years the families of the dead did all they could to get justice for their loved ones. They refused to accept they were the ones to blame. On 12 September 2012, justice was served. An Independent Hillsborough Report Panel made it's conclusions public, and the contents were horrific. Some of the panel's findings stated:
- The police and ambulance service had made a 'strenous attempt' to cover up and hide what really happened on that fateful day
- 116 out of 164 statements were amended, changed and deleted
- Statements they thought were unfavourable or that criticised the police were removed. To put it mildly, the documents were doctored
- Blood alcohol readings were taken from the dead victims, including a 10 yr old boy, in an attempt to demonstrate that fans were drunk. When they could not find alcohol evidence against the victims they even ran a police record check to dig dirt and slur the victims' reputations
- The Hillsborough panel could not find any evidence that the fans didn't have tickets, were violent or highly intoxicated on that day, contradicting what the police had said
- Shockingly, 41 out of the 96 that died could possibly have been saved if the ambulance and/or police had done their jobs properly!
- The football stadium was also criticised for it's severe lack of health and safety
- No Liverpool fan was to be blamed for any of the disastrous events of that day
I don't have the space here to reel off the countless facts that this panel found, but there was a massive cover-up of the truth on that day.
How could so many individual people from the emergency services we rely upon to protect us and save our lives get it so wrong?
They didn't just fail us, but for 23 years they covered up and twisted the whole blame to stigmatize the actual victims of a tragedy. UNBELIEVABLE.
So my questions are:
Have you ever been falsely accused of something you didn't do, by family, friends or even an organization?
We have no choice but to entrust our safety to those who have authority over us, but do you trust them to do the right thing?
Have you ever had to step forward and admit a serious mistake, one that could have resulted in repercussions for you or someone else?
Maybe you need to put something right today and tell the truth.
I would love to hear your views, comments and opinions on this post.