After a long stretch of work (including the sheer and bloody horror that is getting in to work at 6am), I finally have a few days off. I have a feeling of utter joy at the huge stack of laundry that stares at me whenever I enter my bedroom. Maybe if you all buy my second book1
I also find myself laughing at the ineptitude of the terrorists of today. Burning a car is a local pastime for the children around my area, and they aren't daft enough to set themselves on fire. As for the London car bombs – I could make a better bomb. It seems that if they are really al-Qeada, then that bunch of stone-age wannabes are really scraping the bottom of the barrel.2
I'm not scared of terrorism, no-one I work with is scared of terrorism3. We recognise that the chance of dying in a terrorist attack is much, much smaller than the numerous other causes of death and injury that we face everyday.4 What makes us more nervous is considering what the British government might do in response to these pitiful attacks.
The other thing that has been in the news is another cluster of stabbings in London. It was only a few nights ago that I found someone in what I like to call a 'pre-stabbed' state.
Seventeen years old, he'd come home from 'hanging around' in another part of town. While standing around on a street corner some men in a car had pulled up, grabbed him and beaten him up. No reason for this attack was given. He had a few minor injuries – a head wound that could be glued together, some grazing to his arms that could do with a clean up and a nose that was swollen.
The police arrived at the house moments after we got there, as he wasn't seriously injured I told the police that they could get their interview done before we took the boy to hospital.
Of course, it wouldn't be as simple as that – he started off by claiming that he didn't know where he had been 'hanging out'. He also didn't know who he had been with, what type of car the assailants had been driving, what they had looked like or even his friend's home address or phone number. He wasn't going to tell the police anything.
All of this was given in a terrible Jafaken accent (the accent du jour around these parts, always hilarious to us emergency workers).
My local knowledge let us know where the assault took place, it's just down the road from where I live, and I know the 'kids' do so love to stand on that particular corner eating their chips and play chicken with the traffic.
But that was all he would say, the police understandably decided not to waste any more time with him. So our patient and his mum walked onto the back of the ambulance and we headed off to hospital. While in the back his mum told me how he was always getting beaten up, that she had tried to stop him going out and meeting up with the wrong sort of people. She'd enrolled him in college and recognised that he was walking a thin line. He'd already been convicted of a minor crime and she was obviously concerned that he may end up in more serious trouble.
So I gave him my lecture about the people who we pick up having been stabbed – how they are mostly people like him. That they hang around in gangs, that they indulge in minor crime and that they tend not to listen to their mums. I told him how you lose all your macho attitude when you have half a dozen stab-wounds in you. It's an attempt, no matter how pointless, to try and scare them into turning their backs on that kind of life.
1 Yes, there should be a sequel; this blogpost also took an hour longer to write than it should because I was trying to find a way to write superscript elements in Ecto without having to handcode them in the HTML view. Then I realised that the Rich text view won't show it anyway. Now I'm having a nice cup of tea.
2 I'm of the strong belief that we should mock terrorists, we shouldn't call people 'suicide bombers', instead they should be referred to as 'Brainwashed morons who blow themselves up because of superstitious fairy tales from the middle ages'. The pleasure of being an atheist…
3 Most of us can remember living under the IRA for a start. I long for the days of 'Special Black' rather than 'Critical'.
4 Look at my driving for instance…