One can put a case forward that Mr. Tomlinson would still be alive if there had been no G20 protests. Beyond this one can argue that the organisers of the protests are responsible for the death if the protest was not justified. Beyond this, one can argue that those who organise our democracy were responsible because their failings make such protests necessary to protect democracy. There is no need to agree any of these arguments, just appreciate they can be made, no doubt at tedious length. We have known this about argument at least since Pyrrho. One can get so pissed off with argument that all that is left to say is to point to the pisswitterers (Sophists, lawyers, pundits) and announce ‘I know nothing, but even this is to know more than them’ (Socrates). This is only a ‘polite, humerus’ way to chant ‘fuck off you twats’.
Given a more or less white powder, test tube, thermometer and Bunsen burner, and asked to find out what temperature lead carbonate turns yellow, most of us would probably stick the powder and thermometer in the test tube and heat it up, recording the temp. I forget the result. There are more people than you’d think who can’t do this experiment. They’d be the only ones left if I’d substituted lead azide, which is so massively explosive we transport it in dextrinated solution (carefully). It’s sort of white to buff as a powder. Most of us can heat up white powders; almost none of us can spot the psychopath. Not many of us can do chemistry in a safe manner. I could write this little exercise up a bit more carefully to make its point – which is that most of us can’t do argument safely either and the results are as disastrous as heating up lead azide or even looking at it aggressively. I forget, but the stuff is so preposterously explosive in raw form, that the energy to set it off equates to dropping it through six inches, or as Hogday might appreciate, breathing loudly in the distant vicinity of a currently non-hostile Arab mob or Millwall soccer fans.
Public argument is as distant from real, scientific argument as most of us are from being able to make and handle lead azide. More than this, we keep non-equipped dullards out of lead azide handling, but not out of public argument. That this is blazingly obvious is blazingly obvious – the questions are about how we so easily forget this so regularly.
We send cops (and others), ill-equipped, under-trained (yet burdened by loads of useless training) and more into quasi-lead azide situations and blame them when things explode.
I still like to think, at the end of a 22 hour shift, covered in the blood of my best friend (he survived) and having just fitted my inspector’s head up the exhaust pipe of a Volvo, I would have treated Mr. Tomlinson better than Harwood and the cops who looked on. And that even in one of my current diabetic states, I would not have been as jobsworth as the DPP in his pathetic ‘decision-making’. I ain’t Superman or Plato, just a working stiff. What has ans is getting in the way or ordinary people doing their best? That they didn’t for Mr. Tomlinson is obvious. The energy required to do this amounts to a drip in the bucket of cover-up blather.