Hoax calls, made by children are usually benign and can be dealt with on the phone but a few of them are well-planned and executed little scenarios that require a lot of nerve to sustain under interrogation.
The caller sounds like she’s 12 years-old but she’s claiming to have murdered her husband. She says she’s 28 years-old and her husband is in his thirties. She is calm and repeatedly states that there is a lot of blood and that he has been stabbed through the heart and is dead. She even goes through the motions of giving CPR under instruction but it’s obvious that no effort is being applied and when she counts to 30 for the compressions, she misses the numbers 10 to 12 for some reason.
Resources are deployed, including the police because no risk can be taken with calls like these; it can be very hard to be sure of a person’s age or whether they are telling you the truth or not. When the crew arrive, they can be heard banging on the door in the background shouting 'Hello?' - to them this is a genuine call and they have good reason to be concerned when there is no response. But the child is in the room; she's still on the phone but now she's silent.
What was particularly disturbing about the call was the cold, callous voice of the child on the line. At any age in childhood the words ‘murder’, ‘killed’ and ‘dead’ should never enter the vocabulary for imaginative use - certainly not in this context, where an emergency service is being summoned on the pretext. Where were the parents of this kid? What kind of mind does the child have and how far would she go to get excitement like this?
When she was told that the call would be traced and the police would be sent to her, she said ‘don’t do that’ in an almost panicked way but it was all part of the game and she was soon back to her original story that her husband lay dead on the floor after having been brutally stabbed through the heart by her. We have some very, very sick children on the way to adulthood.
Thank God for the Press (at times); the news footage of the Libyan woman being hand-gagged and obstructed from speaking out against the Regime in her country was truly shocking but if the Press hadn’t been there, filming every detail and reporting the incident, who knows what would have happened to her. She was taken away by security men in a car and reporters were told she was safe; the Security men knew that harming her would result in consequences for them individually when this thing blows over. If the press hadn’t been there I’m pretty sure she would have simply disappeared forever.
In contrast, in a country where you can speak your mind without recrimination, we have a hardcore of mainly young men rioting and polluting every peaceful protest, not because they have an argument or a point to make but because they simply hate everything. They hate the Government (it doesn’t matter which party is in power), they hate the police and they hate anything that doesn’t pander to their unrealistic belief that a society can run safely without authority. They think jobs can be wished into existence without bankers and rich employers. Although I will concede any point made about greed in these professions. It's not really the argument, it's the way it is being 'protested'.
The vast majority of us do not behave like this. More than a quarter of a million people turned up to protest spending cuts that would affect their lives – they were trying to make a point but it was washed away in the tide of hooliganism that followed. I watched it all unfold at work, as did many of my colleagues and it was unbelievable that we had to use phrases like ‘be careful’ and ‘avoid’ on a night that is usually full of routine. Anything with a blue light bar on it was going to be a target for these idiots.
But let's get all paranoid and out of perspective; Trafalgar Square has been the site of more than a few riots instigated by those who wish to break the law. In 1848, protestors with no alignment whatsoever to the planned income tax demo (which was officially cancelled), gathered to use the meeting as an excuse to do what they would probably normally do if they lived in a society without police – they set about damaging property and stealing whatever they could lay their hands on, after a good deal of violence. Protests with a small group of hooligans, intent on chaos has been a repeated event over the past couple of centuries. What magnifies it to this generation is the fact that it is being perpetrated by 'intelligent' young people who honestly think, while they are naive enough to bathe in the bubbly bathtub of ideology, that everything can be solved by making everyone equal. When they grow up and get into middle-age, with a job, debts of their own and a family to raise, they will be different people - if they can get a job with a criminal record. It’s all so familiar.
So, while my colleagues once again put themselves in harm’s way to help others – and I include the police in that statement – a couple of hundred individuals, whose opinions are of no promotional consequence to the well-being of anyone but themselves, destroyed whatever they could because there were a lot of them and they knew the police would not lay into them heavy-handedly. There was, in effect, no immediate consequence for their actions (the result of bleating hearts complaining about former police actions to quell disorder – a job we pay them to do).
I have an eighteen-month old child. If there are no consequences for his bad behaviour, he will continue with it. I don’t need to physically hurt him to make my point but he will understand, very clearly, that his wrong-doing will be punished. Everyone has the right to protest and everyone has an opinion but if we smashed up private property and lit fires in the street because we had something to prove, where would society be and what kind of job would we, as paramedics, have? We'd be riot medics.
We don’t need a police state but we can’t have a stupidly tolerant one either. We need a middle-ground of understanding and a realistic approach to how we act and react to situations that threaten us or our society.
The Press may have saved the life of a Libyan woman who spoke out but they are also part of our current problem in this country – strategic photography and reporting has demonised the police to the point where we now no longer have the right to walk freely when a protest may go wrong. Not because the police are stopping us, but because they are wary of stepping too hard on top of those who are.