I've long since tired of hearing about poor ol' Ian Tomlinson.
Who's he, you ask? If you were to believe any of the anti-police sentiment surrounding the incidence of his death, you'd think he was a completely innocent man on his way home from work, an angelic bystander who got attacked by the police for no reason.
Well, it's a bit more involved than that.
On April 1, the day of the anti-capitalist G20 protests that shut the City of London down, Tomlinson, a newspaper seller, was standing in the middle of the road, smoking a cigarette, blocking a police van and telling the police where they could go and what they could do with themselves. After stubbornly standing in their way for several minutes, Tomlinson was forced out of the road by riot officers.
Tomlinson continued to dawdle around the city for a half-hour after the incident, when he was shoved to the ground by an officer, who probably recognized him as a troublemaker. Witnesses say that Tomlinson reeked of alcohol. Tomlinson got back up moments later, after remonstrating with the officer who pushed him, and walked 200 feet before collapsing and dying. Initial reports were that Tomlinson died of a heart attack, though post-mortems revealed internal bleeding or an "abdominal haemorrhage."
So there you have it: This "innocent bystander" was a moron, a drunken slob, a defiant British bulldog type, with his cigarettes, his sweat pants and his "don't you tell me what to do, mate" attitude.
Yet people were outraged at his death, setting up a memorial to him outside the Bank of England and holding a memorial protest march for him on the following day, April 2. Which tells you all you need to know about how downgraded society has become. Our great, caring liberal society needs a poster boy on which to hang their grievances against the police — and Ian Tomlinson fit their bill perfectly.
Which brings up another loser who was on the receiving end of so much undeserved sympathy. Nicola Fisher, a former heroin addict who hasn't done a day's work in all of her 35 years, attended the memorial "service" near the spot where Tomlinson died. When she started arguing with a police officer, a sergeant with the Territorial Support Group, the officer in question smashed her legs with his baton.
However, this young woman, who believes so fervently that capitalism is evil, sold her story to the newspapers for £50,000, using media mogul Max Clifford as her agent. She felt a great need to tell us about her "ordeal," yet Conservative London Assembly member Brian Coleman remarked that "all right-thinking people will have little sympathy for her," and I entirely agree. But, all too predictably, all you heard from the media was how a large, violent policeman cowardly attacked a 115-pound woman.
We bash the police far too much, and we love it when somebody stands up to them, no matter how much that somebody resembles pond scum. What is it about society and the media, that they will stick up for the criminal elements and scroungers, simply because they walked into a well-deserved instance of police brutality? Why do we place so much trust in these rent-a-mobs and the violent gatherings of The Great Unwashed, society's leeches who criticize law-abiding, hard-working folks for the "crime" of earning (and having) money.
In the case of Nicola Fisher, who waved her finger in the policeman's face, the officer perceived a threat and he acted on it. Tomlinson, who was shuffling along directly in front of the officers moments before his death was perceived by the officer to be taunting them — which he just might have been — and the officer shoved him out of frustration. How on earth was the officer in question supposed to know that Tomlinson would die 15 minutes later?
The police, alas, are human; what's more, they do a very hard, thankless job, witnessing things that most other people never see, nor should ever have to. Except for right-wing tabloids, we never hear of policemen who die on the job, good policemen who took a bullet for a colleague or died in a crash or in any other way, protecting the public from thugs. Our reporting on matters of the police is distorted.
As I say, the police are human and they make mistakes. They aren't perfect and a few of them are bad apples. But considering society's approach to them, it's a wonder so many men and women still apply for the job of protecting an ungrateful public.