Are all males thugs at heart?

Liam Neeson: ‘I walked the streets with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by a “black bastard” so that I could kill him’

Neeson, who has starred in films such as Taken and Non-Stop, recalled being told about the rape [of an undisclosed person] after he returned from a trip overseas.

“She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way,” Neeson said during the interview, which can be read in full here. “But my immediate reaction was … did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person.


“I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody. I’m ashamed to say that, and I did it for maybe a week – hoping some [Neeson gestures air quotes with his fingers] ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.”

Now let’s grant that Neeson is not the person now that he willingly describes he was at that point in time. Evidently, nothing came of his mini-crusade to kill some random black person because someone he knew got raped by a black person, and I am not posting this in order to attack or condemn him. It just raises some interesting questions, so let’s deal with them in the abstract.

First, no woman I’ve ever known has admitted to me she had been raped. So I cannot gauge what I would personally feel if a niece or friend said they had been. I suspect I might be angry enough to try to whack the suspect, but what Neeson describes, goes a few steps beyond. He first asks a reasonable question: who did it? Then he asks something I would consider out of the blue, that must have come from his or her circumstances: what colour was he?

And then comes something I don’t understand at all. He goes out with a cosh, hoping to attack some random black stranger in revenge for this vicious assault. To reiterate, Neeson says, “It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that,” so he understands the gravity of his actions. Had she said, no, he was white, would Neesom have prowled the streets looking for white men to cosh? Neesom doesn’t clarify anything here.

Now from what I’ve read and seen of Neeson, he seems a decent bloke, but here he is describing a violent and atavistic response that has purely racist overtones. Whatever he feels now, he obviously had issues then, or so he admits.

I don’t particularly want to lay into Neeson, he didn’t have to admit what he told the interviewer, however, having admitted this horror in his past life, it was remiss of him to fail to explore it in more detail, and he will come to regret that. It leaves questions unanswered, and while Neeson today may be a reformed character from Neeson then, having gone this far, he would do well to go a hell of a lot further and explicate where his head was at the time, and what journey he took to get his head where it apparently is today.

This is a story not even half told.

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