Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bashing the bishops

I DON’T want to sound like a lentil-eating, Guardian-reading, yoghurt-knitting Leftie, but was it really necessary for Metropolitan police marksmen to shoot dead Mark Saunders, the troubled young lawyer who started taking potshots at no-one in particular from his £2 million Chelsea flat?

Now if he’d been a dangerous terrorist, or even a Brazilian electrician, you can understand why they might want to pump five bullets into him as soon as possible. But he was an alcoholic suffering depression who spent five hours under siege while he blasted away at passing pigeons with a 12-bore.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to kill anyone with a shotgun, but it’s not as easy as it looks in the movies. You would really want to be within 10 yards – preferably five – before being confident of inflicting serious damage.

I know, I’ve peppered several beaters on various shoots in my time. They just brush the pellets out of their grizzled beards and look forward to the extra £50 blood money that they know will be winging their way at the end of the day.

So there was no need for the police to ever come within that lethal range. They’ve got all sorts of devastating weaponry that can pick people off from up to half a mile away, so why couldn’t they just sit tight and wait him out? Why was it deemed necessary to storm the flat and engineer a fatal confrontation?

There’s something very fishy about this whole affair. No doubt all will be revealed at the inquest and subsequent inquiries.

Yeah, right.

IT’S BACK to Crimewatch corner, where we name and shame the desperados dragging our society into the gutter.

Step up to the stocks if you will, Desert Rat veteran Lenny Woodward. Now Lenny didn’t stab anyone to death or keep his children in a cellar for 30 years, but in the view of the Powers That Be, his crime is no less serious.

You see Woodward committed the heinous offence of “Putting an Empty Tomato Sauce Bottle in the Wrong Bin”, contrary to the Recycle Or Be Shot Act 2008. There is no excuse: Woodward had been issued with the full complement of blue wheelie bin for cans and cardboard, a green box for glass and a black bin for other waste. Regardless of this, he blithely threw the ketchup bottle into the blue bin when – as eny fule nos – they should have gone into the green box.

Now I don’t want to hear that Woodward is 95 years old and therefore possibly confused, or even that he is almost blind and could hardly read the council’s orders; indeed, if he’d read the “yellow card” the binmen left him and publicly apologised on his knees on the steps of Norwich Town Hall, he wouldn’t have subsequently received the “red card” that denied him any further collections.

Rules is rules. And any man who can map-read his way across the war-torn deserts of North Africa while fighting for our freedom must surely be able to understand a simple, 12-page, small-print, council directive.

Officer, take him down!

AT LEAST the criminal Woodward managed to put his rubbish into a bin, albeit the wrong one. Keith Hirst didn’t even bother trying, allegedly discarding an apple core on the public pavement.

The 54-year-old plumber, who has had heart surgery, then has the temerity to complain when he’s surrounded by five police officers, is arrested, has his fingerprints and DNA taken, is locked up in a police cell for 18 hours and then is marched off to court in handcuffs.

Honestly, some people.

WITH THE notable exception of the saintly Dr John Sentamu, when did you actually see a bishop? You know, a proper one - big fella, pointy hat, lots of purple velvet? No, I thought not.

Admittedly the rip-roaring Rt Rev Tom Butler made the news a couple of years ago when he spent too long at a reception at the Irish Embassy and subsequently climbed into the back of a stranger’s car, threw his children’s toys out and roared: “I’m the Bishop of Southwark. It’s what I do!” But apart from that, you don’t see much of them, do you?

There’s that Weird Beard chap who wants to adopt a legal system whereby shoplifters get their hands chopped off (not altogether a bad thing) but would also have all the gays hung from lampposts (probably not a good thing). He also thinks that there should be a salary cap on the rich, which is a bit … err … rich coming from a bloke who costs the Church of England over £1,000,000 a year on his own.

Yes, that’s right, the 44 CoE bishops, their palaces, offices and support staff – including cooks, gardeners and chauffeurs - cost the church just under £20 million last year, double what they cost in 1997.

Now that’s an awful lot of money, especially when you think that whenever I roll up at my own village church (Christmas Eve, weddings and funerals if I’m honest) I’m immediately blackmailed into coughing up a few quid for the leaking roof or the disintegrating windows. And it’s not as if our Vicar is coining it; he’s never seen so much of his parishioners since we all got frightened by the credit crunch and fled Waitrose to join him down at Netto.

So forgive me if I cross to the other side of the road the next time the CoE pleads poverty, because it’s clearly not poor – it’s just spending its money in a profligate and perverse manner.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on, Baz, you know full well that it depends on whether you have full choke or half choke barrels on the weapon, plus what the load is, in balls per cubic metre.
Shotguns can punch a really nasty hole into flesh at short range - room to room, we are talking about here.
As for the fuzz, like all weapons trained people defending you and her Maj, the training is to fire at the centre of the body. None of this fancy stuff of blowing the weapon out of the nasty blokes hand. Oh, and two rounds at a time, so three Coppers fired at him and one missed once.
Now then, to the Bishops. Is it any coincidence that 'El Gordo' Broon lives at No 10, when a famed jockstrap cartoon character lives at No 10 Glebe Street? Glebe land, of course, belonging to the Church?
I leave you to consider that.
PS, I am not really anonymous, I just cannot remember my blog address:(

5:24 PM  
Anonymous doctor mick just said...

If ever I have heart surgery, God forbid, I do hope I don't return to society as a litterbug throwing apple cores on our pristine streets.

This pomme-de-terrerist had it coming. Who knows what else he had about his person - half a doz Coxes strapped to his chest or even a backpack full of Granny Smiths.

The police just cannot take chances these days.

11:07 PM  
Anonymous JuliaM said...

"...was it really necessary for Metropolitan police marksmen to shoot dead Mark Saunders, the troubled young lawyer who started taking potshots at no-one in particular from his £2 million Chelsea flat?"

Yes. He shot at them, they returned fire (probably fatally wounding him in that exchange, but the inquest will be eagerly watched).

Shoot at the police, they'll shoot back. End of story.

12:32 AM  
Anonymous Al said...

Sorry Bazza, I don't agree with your stance on the gun-toting lawyer. As juliam says, "shoot at the police, they'll shoot back".
I'm no fan of our police, but if someone is taking pot-shots from his house, they have little choice in the matter.

The friends and family of the lawyer who are so upset at the police should maybe look at themselves. This guy was clearly disturbed, and I bet he didn't get into that state overnight. Why didn't his family and friends realise something was wrong and step in to help him before the situation reached the stage it did? At least they could have made sure he couldn't get his hands on a shotgun if he was going so far off the rails. The poor sod probably needed his friends and family more than ever before , but where were they?

1:16 AM  
Anonymous Rusty Ray said...

Re: The fatal shooting by the Cops

They got to shoot a lawyer and only hit him five times? Bad show, somebody should get back to the range and have a spot of practice.

And does this mean that they only carry six bullets between them? Seems a bit dangerous to me.


1:17 AM  
Anonymous aresscee said...

Shoot at the police and they will shoot back?

Pity they never thought of applying this rule to our armed forces, who, all too frequently these days seem to get the book thrown at them if they adopt this stance!

10:01 PM  
Anonymous peter carter-fuck said...

You are right about this shooting. I too have doubts. A shotgun is not very dangerous over about 50 yards. The police were under cover, the man had no hostages, I cannot see why they could not have just waited him out.

Of course nothing will happen to them, it never does. The day an armed cop gets done for murder they will all turn their guns in, and the powers that be can't have that, so the filth have got them by the balls. If they can get away with murdering Menzes they can get away with anything.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Al said...

pcf - I agree that someone in the police should have been held accountable for the shooting of de Menezes, but it's probably not the officers who actually pulled the trigger. The people who are really responsible are the senior officers who allowed armed officers to be sent after a person with the information that he had been confirmed as a suicide bomber. The senior officer in charge of the operation was promoted soon afterwards, but the guys on the ground have to live with the knowledge that they shot an innocent man.

4:38 AM  
Anonymous Four ten said...

Shotguns ain't dangerous?

Tell that to the birds!

8:41 PM  

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