Monday, October 11, 2004

The dangers of safety

I have written enough of conkers already. So I just report the good news - the world championships took place near Oundle yesterday - and the bad - as I suspected, children are too cool play with them these days.

But the problems caused by our obsession with safety affect far more serious matters than conkers. As the Guardian reported last Thursday:
Police were castigated yesterday for delaying more than an hour before attending an incident where a man shot dead his estranged wife and her sister and seriously injured their mother. All three lay wounded while frantic neighbours tried to give them first aid...

But despite numerous 999 calls from neighbours, one of whom demanding police and ambulance response more than 50 times while giving a 70-minute running commentary on the horrific scene, armed officers did not arrive for 64 minutes after the first 999 call. It was 87 minutes before paramedics, awaiting police assurance it was safe, attended the wounded.
There was a good analysis of this case by Mick Hume in The Times on Saturday:
There seems no reason to suppose that officers are personally any more cowardly today. But they are now working within what looks like a culture of moral cowardice.

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