Justice will soon be achieved for the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster. It’s now only a matter of time. AhDinnaeKen investigates one sadly deluded individual who doesn’t even know what justice or compassion means:
By Longshanker aka @ergasiophobe
YET AGAIN the individual responsible for Wings Over Scotland has demonstrated a complete and utter lack of humanity or ability to judge facts regarding the Hillsborough disaster.
Last night’s train wreck of a Twitter feed in which Stuart Campbell, editor of Wings Over Scotland, argued black is white with the sister of a Hillsborough victim is one of the most breathtakingly shocking exchanges AhDinnaeKen has ever read in relation to Wings Over Scotland.
Some idiots actually believe that Stuart Campbell’s blog entitled “No Justice for the 96” is ‘forensic’ in detail over the causes and effects of the fatal crushing of the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster.
That they believe so isn’t out and out stupidity, it’s merely an example of being duped by style over substance – Campbell, for all his faults, sometimes writes stylishly.
That his No Justice for the 96 piece has convinced undiscerning people of its alleged truth isn’t therefore totally surprising.
Most of Campbell’s piece is correct in its summary of the events leading up to the fateful tragedy. But the whole argument is underpinned by some basic schoolboy errors and lack of understanding of physics – it’s the Embassies and Consulates syndrome all over again.
Campbell’s pathology is such that, once he goes out on a limb over a subject, nothing can or will change his mind. It’s the psychology of the frothing bigot who doesn’t let facts get in the way of his own prejudice.
Consider the fundamental premise upon which the whole piece is predicated:
“The pressure that caused that crush didn’t come out of nowhere. It wasn’t an act of God, it wasn’t a freak gravity storm. It came from behind them, and every ounce of it came from human beings.”
This is fundamentally and mostly untrue. The pressure came from all around them and from themselves – they were simultaneously part of the crushing forces while also being part of the crushed. The pressure coming from behind via the tunnel only helped sustain the unrelenting pressure which resulted in the tragic deaths.
Crowd crush fatalities and injuries occur when you reach critical, well documented, crowd densities. In this instance the densities are measured in bodies per square foot.
According to John J Fruin, a world expert in crowd dynamics:
“In waiting areas, 20 square feet per patron will allow relatively free movement; 10 square feet, movement on an “excuse me” basis; and 5 square feet, standing without touching others-but with little ability to move freely. This is about the occupancy level that you see in most normal waiting situations, such as approaches to a busy escalator or stair. At approximately 3 square feet per person, involuntary touching and brushing against others will occur, a psychological threshold that should generally be avoided in most public situations. Below 2 square feet per person, potentially dangerous crowd forces and psychological stresses may begin to develop.”
That is what occurred at Hillsborough. Once you go over the 2 square feet per person threshhold people will die. Campbell, however, insists in repeating the assertion that it was pressure from the back that caused the fatalities:
“Neither the FA, Sheffield Wednesday, the police commanders, the officers on duty, the players on the pitch or the ambulance crews exerted the fatal pressure on the back of the crowd, which built and built until crash barriers gave way and the mass of bodies in the central pen forced the air from the lungs of the unfortunate people at the front.”
The pressure from the back merely ensured that there was no outlet or release for the fatal 2 square foot per person threshhold. It’s worth repeating that this density was already in place, the pressure from the back merely maintained that pressure.
And it wasn’t just at the front where people died, they died in the tunnel also.
POLICE COMPETENCE VERSUS POLICE INCOMPETECE
As was amply demonstrated in the 1981 FA cup semi-final at Hillsborough between Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers, competent policing could have prevented fatalities.
In that incident the pressure built up in the Leppings Lane pens in the same manner as happened later with Liverpool fans in 1989.
Only this time, according to Tottenham fans and contemporary records, fatalities did not occur because:
“Unlike their counterparts in 1989 the police commanders in charge in 1981 were not in charge of their first match, were not ignorant and incompetent, and were seemingly not predisposed to assume all problems were the result of violent scum on the terraces who deserved everything they got.
“Instead those in charge acted sensibly on the feedback of officers on the frontline. As a result they ordered the closure of the gates leading to the most crowded pens, and then directed incoming fans to safer areas. They acted somewhat late, but they did act. And many fans were helped out of the crowded spaces by fellow fans and police alike. They then sat along the edge of the pitch to watch the game unfold.”
The police, on that day, also opened the gate at the front of the pens, further releasing the pressure and relieving the crowd of the dangerous 2 square feet per person density threshhold.
There were still some serious injuries; breathing problems, crushed ribs, broken bones, but nothing like the carnage which ensued at Hillsborough. Thankfully, there were no fatalities.
Campbell further indulges in some trite about Barrowlands crowds and implies that people as sensible as him could have somehow have escaped the crush, if only they had “jabbed” their “elbows and heels” behind them.
AHEM, ‘PROFESSIONAL’ JOURNALISM ALERT
The most telling example, however, of Campbell’s prejudice against Liverpool fans is the following statement:
“At Hillsborough, EVERYONE pushing their way into the tunnel KNEW perfectly well that it opened into an enclosed area with no exits, hemmed in by overhanging steel fences, which minutes before kick-off was likely to already be crammed with people, and which took the inherently-hazardous form of a stairway.”
The scandalously false assertion that “everyone knew” betrays Campbell’s lack of journalistic skills and credibility. He is saying that everyone contributing to the crowd crush density did so knowing what they were doing ie killing people at the front, but persisted anyway.
Notably absent is one quote, one eye witness account, or any form of third party evidence to back the hateful assertion up. It’s this statement, singled out from all the others, which betrays the source of Campbell’s bigoted prejudice.
According to Campbell, who refers to the ‘knowing’ crowd as “murderous” and “lethally stupid“, the crowd must take responsibility for their actions on an individual and collective basis.
Such assertions demonstrate a willful ignorance bordering on pathological stupidity of crowd dynamics and psychology.
Crowd dynamic expert John J Fruin views crowd behaviour somewhat differently.
He said: “Psychologists have likened a crowd to a series of intermeshing behavioral cells. Each cell is comprised of a small group of surrounding people, with limited communication between them. Cell members do not have a broad view of what is occurring in the crowd.”
It is why front to back management of crowds is so important. The people at the back and in the Leppings Lane tunnel had no idea what was happening up ahead in the pens. How could they?
Yet according to Campbell “everyone knew” what they were doing and persisted anyway.
The pitch side police who were watching the tragedy unfold in front of their very own eyes didn’t know what was happening. They lined up in the middle of the pitch thinking they were facing a hostile crowd and a potential pitch invasion. Some policemen even threw people climbing over the fences back into the killing pens.
What chance of knowing what was happening did the people at the back trying to get into the tunnel to the Leppings Lane pen have?
The answer, of course, is they had no chance of knowing? They didn’t have X-ray eyes and they most certainly weren’t trained in the recognition of of hazardous crowd dynamics.
If Campbell’s piece is ‘forensic’ then I’m CSI Ayrshire. All the No Justice for the 96 piece proves is that Campbell is as much of an embarrassment to journalism as he is to the Independence campaign.
He needs to come clean. He started with the bombastically pretentious premise that he was somehow telling a truth that needed to be told. He ended up exposing himself as a nasty wee bigot with an unpleasant obsession with Liverpool fans because of the Heysel disaster.
He said: “Hillsborough could have happened at almost any ground in the country in the late 1980s, but Liverpool’s fans must shoulder a disproportionate share of the blame for the existence of the fateful fences, which in part arose from their murderous actions at Heysel Stadium four years earlier.”
One wee bigoted man and one huge bigoted ego combined to create one of the most shockingly evidence free and inaccurate hate polemics disguised as ahem, ‘professional journalism’ since the original smears against Liverpool fans were published by the Sun.
REAL EVIDENCE ANALYSED BY PROFESSIONALS
The Hillsborough Independent Panel (HIP) painstakingly adjudicated on the amassed evidence of the Hillsborough tragedy and concluded:
“…the SYP Police Federation, supported informally by the SYP chief constable, sought to develop and publicise a version of events that focused on several police officers’ allegations of drunkenness, ticketlessness and violence among a large number of Liverpool fans. This extended beyond the media to Parliament.
“Yet, from the mass of documents, television and CCTV coverage disclosed to the panel there is NO EVIDENCE to support these allegations other than a few isolated examples of aggressive or verbally abusive behaviour clearly reflecting frustration and desperation.”
Did Campbell produce one piece of evidence other than self opinionated NO EVIDENCE to back up his conclusions?
Aside from his deluded Wings Nuts, we all know the answer to that.