I am guessing that we have all seen as much as we need to of the scene of the Boston bomb attack on Monday. Pictures seem a little inappropriate today.
I'm not going to wax lyrical about the atrocity in the way I may be expected to; no, I am going to come at the subject from a perspective that may offend some, disturb some, or simply seem a little different. The murder of innocent men, women, children is as bad as most of us can imagine - and rightly so. Such acts will always meet the traditional public responses and I do not disagree with anyone who condemns such atrocities in the strongest terms. I do, however, disagree with the seemingly blanket coverage such events attract when they take place in America - as if the safety of their citizens and state is more important than that of other countries.
I have some small insight on the subject of bombings - I was a police officer in Britain at the height of the IRA's (and others) campaign of violence in Northern Ireland and England. I experienced first hand the effect that such a campaign had upon the public and myself and my colleagues. Murders, whether they be by bomb or other means, were an almost daily feature of the television news, and bomb scares in public places became commonplace - with the very real possibility each time that this could be 'it'. I was on duty the night when terrorists (financially supported, by the way, by many people from the North eastern seaboard of the USA) attacked gas storage tanks with bombs and shot one of my colleagues as they made their getaway, leaving him for dead.
One day, my supervisor and I found an active bomb, planted in a public parking lot. A warning had been given, and we had gone to the scene to evacuate the public and protect the area. In the course of doing so, we came across the bomb - a stainless steel thermos with explosive attached to it. The flask contained a gel and petroleum mixture - homemade napalm - as well as shrapnel. Had it exploded as we found it, I would not be here today.
My point is this: bombings, despicable as they are, happen around the world on a weekly - if not daily - basis, but we never hear anything like as much fuss as we might expect to, given the reaction to the Boston attack. America and its citizens is treated by the media as some sort of special case in such circumstances, when in fact, when one considers the appalling levels of healthcare around the world (especially in destabilized and/or very poor countries where much of this kind of violence takes place), the opposite should be the case. America CAN respond, and of course will respond - hopefully proportionately. The poor of the world, whether it be in Indonesia, Calcutta, Rio, Buenos Aires; they will bear the brunt of violence. I wish that they had a voice as powerful as those who speak so loudly about the outrages foist upon America. It's time for the media to wake up and represent the people they were supposed to speak for - the ones with too small a voice of their own.
Secondly: the right to protest. I value it, I would argue to my dying breath that it is a vital piece of the democracy puzzle. What a shame, then, that it is being hijacked (for the millionth time, I know) at the moment in Britain. Margaret Thatcher's death is being used by a noisy minority of people as an excuse to make themselves heard and dig up the past in a seemingly intense fit of hatred.
I can understand it if, as a result of the Tory party's policies, a person's family was badly affected economically, they would hold a grudge. In some cases, I am sure that depression or stress following enforced unemployment resulted in early deaths. But not many. I DO understand that Thatcher and her government stirred up polarised opinions, but I also think that it's worth mentioning, that as a young adult during her term in office, things were not as bleak as they have been made out to be. A great many people did not hate her or her colleagues - so many, in fact, that they won three consecutive general elections.
Now, at her death, we have street parties celebrating the fact - make of that group of low-lifes what you will. We have someone selling the song 'The Witch is Dead' in celebration of her death, and we have people protesting in public places about the spending of public money on an enormous formal funeral.
Protesting about something you disagree with or see as an injustice is of course an enshrined right in a democratic society - and thank goodness it is so. Protesting about the public cost of Thatcher's funeral is, therefore, in my opinion, wholly legitimate and appropriate. It is, after all, a political decision to spend the public purse in this way (at a time of great austerity and cutbacks in government programmes) and politicians, more than anyone else, need to be held accountable by the electorate. Accountability and legitimate protest, do not, however, characterise the apparent outpourings of joy at the death of another human being. I find that behaviour quite sickening and reminiscent of the mob mentality which tells us that it's really OK to hate something or someone in public if somebody else says it as well, that deliberately and calculatingly being a 'rebel' is a cool thing to do; that being part of anything anti-establishment is a good thing.
The result of such thinking has been the rather pathetic images of throngs of young, immature adults - many of whom were not alive under Thatcher's time in office or were much too young to have experienced any of the political goings-on as they happened, engaged in Thatcher hate rallies in the UK. I venture to say that two minutes of questioning would doubtless illustrate that they knew and know nothing of the issues they profess to be celebrating about, much as did the seventeen year old, who reacted aggressively ("OF COURSE I AM!!!) when the BBC reporter asked her if she was relying on other people's perceptions. A rebel without a cause for the modern era...
Grumpy middle aged git moaning about stuff and occasionally trying to be funny.