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If the UK media headlines of the last 12 months or so were to be retrospectively read by a visiting alien, the said alien—if handicapped by a lack of insight—would gain a distinct impression that our world is focused on a few specific repeated themes. Based on frequency of coverage, most stories would oscillate between those covering the economy, those covering the subterfuge of politicians trying to undermine the leadership of an increasingly unpopular Prime Minister, those reporting the vagaries of professional sport and those reporting that yet another teenager has been killed in a knife attack.
Early in the summer of 2008, the UK Home Secretary, under pressure and scrutiny from various quarters, tabled a motion that victims of such crimes should be visited in hospital by their assailants as soon as possible after the incident. The subsequent outcry to this challenging suggestion was so clamorous that the idea was quickly thrown into the “knee-jerk reaction” out-tray.
The BMJ published a thoughtful editorial on this sensitive issue that is well worth reading.1 We make no apologies for …
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