How about a five-minute penalty for roughing in a hockey game, and then jail time to complete the penalty? Farfetched? Not so, as it was announced last week it that former NHL hockey player Thomas Larkin would be facing criminal charges in Sweden for a blindsided check during a hockey game.
There is precedent for charging hockey players for assault during a game in both Sweden and Canada, and before we get into debate on whether one day we will see the cuffs come out for late hits in football and beanballs in baseball, indulge me as I get back to Sweden’s law-and-order priorities.
Sweden, which has earned the nickname the rape capital of the west for its dramatic rise of sexual assaults, has finally decided to get tough on crime, at least that is with hockey players. Rapists? Not so much. And for this the Swedish have political correctness to thank.
How bad is the problem of rape in Sweden? In 2012, although somewhat misleading as countries have different reporting standards or don’t release statistics at all, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime concluded that Sweden had the highest number of reported rapes per 100,000 people of any country in the world, while at the same time rape in Sweden remains unreported approximately 80 percent of the time. Gang rape is also on the rise, with the median age of a Swedish gang rape victim being 15 years old.
This is a fairly recent phenomenon, and the timing of Sweden’s rape crisis correlates to a heavy influx of refugees from places like Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Somalia. To this point, one of Sweden’s leading newspapers, Expressen, studied 43 gang rape cases in 2018 and found that 32 of the 43 men convicted were foreign born. Public broadcaster SVT did a study and concluded that over 50 percent of convicted rapists are foreign born, and when a woman or girl is raped by someone who she doesn’t know they estimated that 80 percent of the time the attacker was also foreign born.
While it’s true most refugees in Sweden aren’t criminals, it is also true that there is a link between the wave of refugees storming into Sweden and the epidemic of rape now happening in the country.
As the crisis continues, the Swedish media and political class try to downplay the obvious. In 2014 and 2015 officials misled the public on sexual assaults by Afghan refugees of girls as young at 11 at an annual youth music festival. When pressed why the police withheld information, Peter Argen, the police official in charge of the 2014 festival, was quoted as saying, “We sometimes don’t say it like it is, because we think that’ll play into the hands of the Sweden Democrats.” The Swedish Democrats are the anti-immigration party.
The media, for its part, is often happy to play dumb and has been caught referring to someone arrested for rape as a Swedish citizen when they knew that the person in question was a refugee and not a citizen. And if you’re a Swedish citizen and speak out about what is happening, you best be careful about how you express yourself or you can be hassled by the police and court system and fined for incitement to hatred. It seems being politically correct has been deemed a more important national priority than the rape of 15-year-old girls.
If all of this sounds familiar to you, that is because it is. It doesn’t take a great memory to recall the New Year’s Eve nightmare and coverup in Colon, Germany, or the rape scandal that went on for decades in Roetherham, England. Like Sweden, both in Germany and England you have to be careful about how you express yourself on the subject, or the law can come down hard on you.
As for hockey player Thomas Larkin, he has taken to Twitter to apologize for the hit that got him arrested saying, “It wasn’t my intention to cause an injury. I wanted to put pressure on the puck carrier behind the net. I would like to apologize to Daniel Paille and I hope he is back playing soon.”
The Swedish, it seems, can rest assured knowing they’ll be safer when playing ice hockey. Not so much when they walk the streets.
Matthew Kastel is a 25-year veteran of working as an executive in the world of sports, including professional teams, organizations, and some of the largest vendors in the industry. Matt has also written two novels and teaches and lectures at universities on the business of sports. For more information you can visit his website at thirdstrikeproductions.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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