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Everyday Ageism

Hatton Garden pensioners

(34 Posts)
FlicketyB Tue 19-May-15 18:44:00

On R4 news this evening it announced that 9 men had been arrested for the big Hatton Garden burglary at Easter. The announcer said that the ages of the men ranged from 48 - 76. The next sentence said that three of the men were pensioners aged (I think) 67,71 & 76.

AIBU to think that this was pointless and unnecessary remark that added nothing to the story but features in my canon as a classic bit of ageism.

The people who wrote this news item obviously thought that the idea of three men over 65 robbing safe deposits was exceptional and obviously laughable. Wait for Friday and the News Quiz and all the jokes about burglars with Zimmer frames, forgetting where they are and what they are doing.

rosesarered Tue 19-May-15 18:47:35

It is a bit surprising though, isn't it?I imagined they were all young men, or middle aged at most.I wonder if the police had a good idea who the gang were all along?

Ana Tue 19-May-15 18:51:52

I thought it struck an odd note when the reporter started off by saying that 'nine white men' had been arrested, aged between etc.

If the men had all been black, would that have been one of the first things we were told about them? confused

rosesarered Tue 19-May-15 18:59:00

Not sure Ana, but the British press has always loved ages..... As in Mrs Bloggs ( aged 39) said that the serial killer next door was ever such a nice man and kept himself to himself.

Ana Tue 19-May-15 19:01:48

Yes, I know roses - and they'd probably add the value of Mrs Bloggs' house as well!

FlicketyB Tue 19-May-15 19:05:50

I noticed them say they were all British, but I gather that is because rumours had been going round that the job was done by an Eastern European gang. I didn't hear the bit about white men, possible that wasn't said on R4.

I do not mind them mentioning ages, but why single out the three over 65 and why call them pensioners? What evidence do the BBC have that these three men are actually drawing state, or any other pensions as distinct from simply being over 65?

FlicketyB Tue 19-May-15 19:06:29

I have put a complain in with Feedback and I am thinking about making a formal complaint.

HildaW Tue 19-May-15 19:06:48

Age does not suddenly make people better/different. If someone was athief/criminal in their 20s/30/40s then they are just as likely to still be up to no good in their 60s and 70s.

Or is the press trying to make out that once you are over 70 your criminality is somehow less serious?

rosesarered Tue 19-May-15 19:07:55

They do it because it makes the news more sensational.

HildaW Tue 19-May-15 19:15:34

sad but true

merlotgran Tue 19-May-15 19:26:31

I can't see the problem with calling them pensioners. If they'd been students that's what they'd have been called.....or housewives or illegal immigrants etc., etc.

Whether or not they are claiming pensions, they are pensionable age. That's all it means.

janeainsworth Tue 19-May-15 19:27:49

I agree with you Flickety and would support your complaint.

On the other hand, you could argue that the BBC drawing attention to the men and singling them out as pensioners, might actually help to change the stereotype of 'pensioners' as old, feeble people who need assistance and special consideration, such as that daft idea that came up recently of providing play equipment at bus stops shock

If there were more news items that highlighted pensioners doing things like robbing banks, winning dance competitions, or getting first-class honours degrees at the age of 75, then it might gradually dawn on people what a disparate group pensioners actually are, and the term might then revert to its literal meaning, of someone who draws a pension, rather than carrying the negative and condescending connotations it does now wink

Ana Tue 19-May-15 19:39:04

'Those arrested were described as being aged between 48 and 75 and were said to be "white British males".' (Telegraph)

FlicketyB, the news item I heard was on Radio 2 - I don't see why it wouldn't be said on Radio 4! Surely they wouldn't have censored a news report for the sake of PC-ness?

FlicketyB Tue 19-May-15 20:35:30

Ana I think each BBC programme prepares its own news briefings, even though there is a joint newsroom. So it is quite possible that the R4 bulletin would be different to the R2 bulletin. R4 might have assumed that having an older demographic its listeners would want to know that three of those apprehended were over 65 grin

pompa Tue 19-May-15 21:02:02

I can confirm that each BBC region prepares it's own news programmes. They can pull news feed in from world wide news services on the fly.
Our DIL is the news director for BBC Look North, she gave us a tour of the studio, I was surprised just how spontaneous everything was. I even got to sit in the news presenters seat ! But don't let Peter Levy know.

Ana Tue 19-May-15 21:11:20

Sorry, I had the impression that it was an official statement from an 'official spokesman', not just the hourly news announcer, which is the only reason I mentioned it.

Jane10 Tue 19-May-15 21:36:34

I thought it was very interesting. My first thought was that it was like something out of a film. Bet it'll be made into a film. Who would play the 70+ year old brains behind it all? Michael Caine? Billy Connolly?

grumppa Tue 19-May-15 21:47:16

I think the age of the three oldest Hatton Garden raiders, the pensioners/crumblies/veterans/oldies - call them what you will - adds greatly to the human interest of the story.

pompa Tue 19-May-15 21:55:03

I can't condone their actions, but the saying "Don't mess with a Gran" comes to mind.

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 19-May-15 22:01:27

The only human interest in the story for me is with the people who lost what they may have looked upon as their pensions. These men are wicked crooks. They have ruined other old people's lives. I hope they get their comeuppance.

janeainsworth Tue 19-May-15 23:20:02

I agree with you jingl
They shouldn't be regarded as amusing rogues just because they're old.
I hope a film isn't made - such films tend to glorify the criminals and turn them into folk heroes, like the Kray Twins, when in reality they are vicious men.

Jane10 Wed 20-May-15 06:52:10

It was a classic diamond heist not a massacre of the innocents! Sounds like the police recovered a lot of what was stolen. If people choose to keep their 'pensions' in anonymous safety deposit boxes uninsured then that is an obvious risk and an obvious attraction for criminals.

pompa Wed 20-May-15 07:14:01

One also has to question why SOME of the people choose to use the secrecy of a deposit box, and as I understand it have been unwilling to say what they lost.

Nelliemoser Wed 20-May-15 07:23:12

FlicketyB yes the News Quiz should be fun.

I really do not see why it they had to mention what colour their skin was at all unless we needed to be advised to keep a look out for them.
It was completely irrelevent to the issue.

Yes Flickety complain.

Riverwalk Wed 20-May-15 07:32:44

I understand that many of the boxes are used by local jewellers and dealers to keep their stock in, nothing secretive or anonymous about that.

Also, there's nothing romantic about a classic diamond heist and the inference that it was all a jolly jape - I wonder how they would have dealt with any poor janitor or security guard who got in their way.