Wednesday, 8 September 2010.
According to the papers in the UK, especially those prone to hysteria whenever even a weak connection to “terrorists” can be inferred by dumb-ass readers, a shit-load of munitions were seized by police in a quiet respectable suburb of Worcester in the West Midlands. Take a look at this photo from the newspaper “The Sun” (the Sun is a sensationalist UK paper whose sister paper The News of the World is under investigation for gaining unauthorized access to voicemail belonging to high-ranking politicians and business figures:
Look at the pics, and the other pics available out there in the intertubes: see how clean, and new this ordnance is. To me, this makes me wonder: the army boys told the cops that the munitions were replica and harmless; and the cops decided to act like real super-cops. The cops didn’t put the munitions in evidence bags or in any way try to avoid being photographed. They wanted to be photographed; they probably told the photographers to turn up. Now they’re a bunch of hard, dedicated coppers who carry military weapons with complete disregard for their own safety. But what about the public’s safety? Don’t worry, the bombs are only toys. But shh don’t tell anyone.
Even before the truth came out, I was suspicious. The nature of the weapons I saw pics of and read about was far too modern to be anything but replicas belonging to replica collectors, war re-enactors and the like; if they were real, they were something to be very concerned about. A terrorist organization amassing a cache like that would indicate that something’s going to happen – and there are more caches like this. The fact that all the news editors must have been pretty sure by deadline time that the munitions were fake and almost certainly legally held didn’t stop them from making it seem a terror incident.
And now the truth has come out: take a look at the Worcester News website and you’ll find this puff piece, making sure that no criminal charges have been brought against him. Graham Lane is a 65-year old collector of deactivated and replica firearms, and he’s a gun club chief.
Apart from the crazed response to this story by the sleazy “terrorism sells” tabloids, there’s another point that baffles me. According to the Worcester News of Tuesday, after listing the sensationalist list of “munitions retrieved” – “more than 30 guns , including rifles and shotguns, and a gun cabinet were removed from the house” – an Inspector John Mackay said:
“During our search we discovered some munitions. We asked the Army to come in and keep them safe for us. The only reason the Army has been called is because they have the experts to handle the munitions. I’m not qualified to say what the munitions are.”
So this presumably highly-trained army bomb disposal specialists were unable to tell the difference between real explosives and pretend stuff? Sneck, no wonder the casualty rate of innocent Afghanis being brutalized, tortured and even killed.
And we’re no safer here. Go out in the street and play with toy guns: how long before an armed response unit turns up and wastes some teenager with a water pistol. Doesn’t this make you feel safe at night?