Andy McDandy wrote:
The argument in favour of harsh sentences for cop killers was (IIRC) based around the idea that someone prepared to take a shot at a police officer would presumably have no scruples about killing or attacking a regular member of the public. That seems to come from an age when a police uniform carried with it a certain innate authority, that seems not to be the case these days. It may also be an import from overseas, particularly through movies and TV from the USA, where police regularly go armed at all times.
However I do feel that police officers do get a rough deal. They are expected to deal with the detritus of human society, to face down violent and often uncontrollable people, and are crucified in the media if they fail in this. And by fail, I'm not talking about the guy who clubbed Ian Tomlinson, or about the officers who conspired over Hillsborough - I'm talking about the officers pilloried for not having 20/20 foresight, for not being exactly where someone wanted them because they weren't bloody mindreaders, who followed procedures but were castigated for not doing whatever some hack thought police officers ought to do, who insisted on enforcing the law equally and without favour, to both inner city teenagers and to the executive speeding in his Lexus.
When some nutter off his head on booze starts smashing up a pub and swinging for anyone in reach, most of us can walk away and go home, vowing to give that pub a wide berth in the future. It's the uniformed cop who has to go in and subdue the guy.
Comments along the lines of "They knew the risks when they signed up" strike me as being armchair generalship of the worst kind. Yes, a soldier flying out to Afghanistan should expect a certain amount of flying lead; but it's still not to be expected in a Manchester suburb.
Good piece Andy:
Sometimes events conspire to put 2 or 3 awful events into the news within a very short space of time.
In this case the Hillsborough and then Tomlinson enquiries / cases are followed by the horrifying dual killing of two PCs in the course of normal duty.
I've personally soft pedalled my facebook contributions regarding Hillsborough and "Bent coppers", thinking that this isn't the time for generalised attacks.
Not that I've let up on McKenzie.
There's been a similar silence in the red-tops.
For a day or two after each enquiry, the dead trees rang with Bad Police (but definitely nothing to do with the press) stories.
These have ceased now, replaced by mourning for yesterday's victims.
I asked myself "Should I keep on with the Hillsborough postings?".
I don't subscribe to any kind of karma that suggests the 2 ladies who died yesterday somehow wash away the sins of South Yorkshire's police.
What horror of a world would that be? What warped kind of collective justice would it represent? It's clearly nonsense.
But I am not a trained writer (not even a trained typist).
I feared I might drop 140 words that could be twisted by trolls to imply that "They had it coming".
Nothing is further from my thought.
I have a mature world view that includes good and bad police, and even admits that the same person might do fine things one day, and later in life commit awful sins.
This got me wondering (Congratulations if you're still reading) how the red-tops handle this.
They present a simplistic world view where 40 years ago every plod was Dixon of Dock Green, then in the '80 they were still great.
But now we found out that they weren't cos there was the SPG and all those Irish people got fitted up and Hillsborough.
And now they're bad because of Leveson (and it can't have been the press).
The tabloids don't do nuance very well.
The story of the day (and probably the week) is the awful killing of 2 PCs during the course of their duty.
The tabloids appear to be unable to comment simultaneously on Tomlinson or Hillsborough.
Even the whipping boys of the Royal Protection detail are forgotten.
I wonder why trained journalists can't do a job that I'm afraid to do as an amateur.
Do the election time kingmakers suddenly doubt their powers?
Can they not report news from a complex and contradictory world?
Or, do they have such contempt for their C2, D, E readership that they simply can't tell 2 stories in one day.
It hardly sits well with their narrative of a courageous free press.