Any parent taking smug pride from the achievements of their offspring has to take care not to cross the fine line that results in a competitive dad physically assaulting a referee at an under sevens five-a-side football match. Parental satisfaction at little Jemima`s Grade Five pass at the violin or little Rio`s first ASBO transcends social divides and all too often is manifested as bizarre, filial, reflected glory.
This blog tends to ignore local gossip and rumour and prefers to wait for verifiable evidence before jumping to conclusions. However, the sleepy hamlet of Chuckery in the peaceful town of Walsall, England has been rife with speculation over an alleged incident that those in authority need to address. In the pubs, the shops and on the streets, there was talk of children discovering a loaded firearm in a play area. With the police remaining understandably tight-lipped over an ongoing investigation, the vacuum of actual information was soon filled with all sorts of outlandish theories involving the usual suspects; terrorists, fascists, drug dealers and gangsters. It fell to the woeful Express and Swastika to shed some light on this disturbing incident.
Three days after the loaded revolver was discovered, a fearless E and S hack was dispatched to knock on doors and ask questions. It is unfortunate that the investigative zeal of Bernstein and Woodward did not present itself in Chuckery and the best that the paper that offers “local news for local people” could come up with was that children were playing with a loaded gun. A series of quotes from local residents who did not want to be named culminated with the masterful; “I didn`t hear about anything but it is a bit of a shock”. It seems that Pulitzer Prize will have to wait for another year. A couple of phone calls to local councillors who insisted on being named, possibly due to an election next May, expressed justified outrage at children playing with a loaded gun as reported by the E and S. The article also noticed that there was no police presence and no cordon three days after the revolver had be taken away for forensic testing.
Well, for the benefit of the woeful Express and Swastika and for concerned residents of Chuckery, here is what actually happened.
Two girls, aged about nine or ten, found something unusual in an Iceland plastic bag hidden in some bushes. Realising that something was very, very wrong, they took the bag to a group of older boys who were playing football and showed them the contents. The leader of the gang, a ruffian brought up on violent shoot-em-up computer games and wearing a hoodie, took one look at the firearm and rather than blowing everybody`s head off, placed it on the ground telling the other hooligans to “step away from the gun” in a theatrical voice. He then produced a mobile phone and called the police. Within five minutes, two or possibly three police cars and a “specialist” van were on the scene. Two of the policemen were armed with shotguns. They collected the revolver, took names and addresses and offered a lecture regarding the dangers of firearms and the importance of not “doing” drugs. They thanked the boys for reporting the discovery and left taking the gun with them. The feral yoof returned to their game of football. I bet you didn`t read that in the paper.
Imagine if a grown-up had discovered a loaded revolver and called the police. The woeful E and S would be screaming local hero headlines and demanding that a George Medal be awarded. But because it was kids, and after all kids are an anti-social menace that must be forced to show respect for their elders and are probably stupid enough to shoot each other, they do not deserve any thanks or even acknowledgement for being public spirited. If you know anyone who has misplaced a loaded gun in Chuckery recently, call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
You might ask how this blogger, who does not want to be named, knows so much about this incident. Let`s just say that the conversation over the evening meal on Monday night went beyond the usual question “anything good happen at school today?”
If there is a contest for competitive dads, I just won it.