An amazing story:
On 25 January 2006, officials from a north London housing association repossessing a bedsit in Wood Green owing to rent arrears made a grim discovery. Lying on the sofa was the skeleton of a 38-year-old woman who had been dead for almost three years. In a corner of the room the television set was still on, tuned to BBC1, and a small pile of unopened Christmas presents lay on the floor. Washing up was heaped in the kitchen sink and a mountain of post lay behind the front door. Food in the refrigerator was marked with 2003 expiry dates. The dead woman’s body was so badly decomposed it could only be identified by comparing dental records with an old holiday photograph of her smiling. Her name was revealed to be Joyce Carol Vincent. …
[S]he didn’t fit the typical profile of someone who might die and be forgotten: she wasn’t old without family; she wasn’t a loner, or an overdosed drug addict; nor was she an isolated heavy drinker. Who she was and the circumstances of her death were a mystery. …
The coroner recorded an open verdict, with the cause of Joyce’s death “unascertained”. “We don’t know how big a part Joyce played in her own isolation or whether it was more down to society neglecting her”. …
“The point is, Joyce Vincent is dead, no one murdered her, and no one seems to care that much. I gather she was very beautiful, which for reasons totally spurious makes it more poignant because we always think beautiful people have everything go their way.” …
[T]he window in Joyce’s bedsit … had been open for the two years she lay dead, insects crawling along the windowsill, the escaping smell of her decomposing body attributed to the rubbish bins below. …
[N]obody she knew really worried about Joyce when she fell out of touch with them, as she often did – they just thought she was off somewhere having a better life than they were. (source)
She was born the same year as I, 1965. Her story is also the subject of a documentary. Here’s a short clip:
More in the annals of heartlessness here.
- Is there a lot of light between cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias and motivated reasoning? if not, why the excess jargon? Jargon bias?
- I guess I must be a libertarian communist: http://wp.me/pd52p-9VD + http://wp.me/PJ3Oa-5
- adventures in meta: “overhyped” now a hype itself #Irene
- someone should coin the phrase “unconomy”
- can anyone explain why democratic politics always devolves into a Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging?
- London rioters don’t like Banksy http://wp.me/pd52p-1eB #riot
- Jeez: “religious practices even when inflicting pain on the helpless do seem to fall within constitutional protection” http://bit.ly/jwqqLa
- just occurred to me that the word “law” is an acronym: “losers always win” which is indeed what happens in a perfect system of l.a.w.
- Mubarak, leaving the way he did, improved his image undeservingly; Ghaddafi, staying the way he does, worsens his image deservingly
- maybe it wasn’t such a good idea 2 build nuclear plants right at the coastline of a earthquake-prone country that invented the word #tsunami
- I’m applying for Guinness world record: highest ratio of books written to books sold (slowly reaching a number >1) http://bit.ly/hDoaX4
For some reason, my older posts on rioting are now immensely popular. So here’s an overview:
I’m not in the mood for serious analyses, but I do want to warn against simplistic explanations involving the words “poverty” and “multicultural”. (See also here). Those types of punditry are usually way off the mark.
On July 7th 2005, during the morning rush hour, a group of Muslim young men carried out a series of coordinated suicide attacks on 3 of London’s subway lines and on one double-decker bus. At 08:50, three bombs exploded within fifty seconds of each other on three London Underground trains (the three red circles in the map below), a fourth exploding an hour later at 09:47 on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square (the red and black circle).
Here’s some more detail about the specific events and the chronology (click image to enlarge):
The map below gives some detail about the second attack, close to Russell Square:
The map below shows the last attack on the bus:
Read the full story here.
Two weeks later, on July 21st 2005, London witnessed four attempted bomb attacks, this time without much damage because the bombs failed to explode. While the manhunt for the perpetrators was in progress, on July 22nd, the police shot and killed a Brazilian man, Jean Charles de Menezes, at Stockwell tube station shortly after 10:00. Officers had pursued de Menezes from a location under surveillance, believing him to be one of the men wanted for the attempted attacks of the previous day. They apparently believed de Menezes was about to carry out a new attack. Afterwards, the police admitted that de Menezes was not involved in any of the bombings or attempted bombings. Read the whole story here and here. Here’s a map depicting the tragic event:
(source, click image to enlarge)
What’s interesting about these maps is not that it tells us a lot about poverty (except perhaps that there is less wealth segregation than is normally expected), but that at the time, poverty was explicitly linked to crime (the lowest classes are “semi-criminal”). And that link is something we regularly discuss on this blog (see here, here and here for instance). We think that things aren’t as clear cut as many, including the authors of this map, want us to believe.