Gang violence is probably one of the worst forms of crime in the world, but it appears as though a recent near-miss of such an event occurred in much less stereotypical surroundings last weekend.
It has been reported that police in Norwich (England) were called in to intervene in an incident between fan groups of film franchise Star Wars and BBC sci-fi drama Doctor Who, with an argument between the two groups almost leading to criminal charges.
Attending the 4th annual ‘Norwich Sci-Fi & Film Convention’, hosted on the campus of the University of East Anglia, event organisers the ‘Norwich Star Wars Club’ soon engaged in verbal abuse with members of the rivalling ‘Norwich Sci-Fi Club’, who were attending to collect autographs for charity from two Doctor Who actors (Jeremy Bullock and Graham Cole) present at the convention.
This confrontation led on to rumours of a man being assaulted, though a police officer dismissed the claims, reviewing the incident: “After a lengthy investigation, talking to witnesses and reviewing good CCTV footage, it was confirmed that there was no assault. The two rival groups were spoken to and advised to keep out of each other’s way.”
Norwich Sci-Fi Club treasurer Jim Poole claimed that the two groups are longstanding rivals, each holding their own conventions in the city and that it was himself (wearing a club shirt) and another member (in costume as Doctor Who’s ‘Fifth Doctor’), with two more (attending as ‘the Tenth Doctor’ and ‘Judge Dredd’) waiting outside. However, he claims all that happened was that his group received the verbal abuse before they contacted the police, stating: “I was [then] put in a police car. We were both interviewed by the police and told to stay away from each other. This wasn’t a fight between Star Wars fans and Doctor Who fans with lightsabres and sonic screwdrivers drawn. It’s a bit sad and pathetic. We’re all in the same boat. We’re not in competition. We’d like to extend the hand of friendship.”
He added that he may aim to bring in security guards for his group’s ‘Norwich Sci-Fi Convention’ this September to steer clear of potential repeats. His NSWC counterpart Dominic Warner agreed with the sentiment that the incident started by members of his group had been over-hyped, adding: “It’s been blown up as if it was a fight. There was no fighting.. There is no bad feeling between the two clubs. We have never interfered with them. It does sound comical. People that dress up in costume are labelled geeks and some people laugh at us, and this just makes it even more so.”
Hearing something such as this is just ammunition for the masses, and while many will feel a live and let live mindset is the right way to think about comic convention attendees (who should perhaps be more mindful of what they wear on other group’s territory in the future), those people should still be wary not to do anything offensive by accident, as ‘nerd rage’ can be a powerful force when united: