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Home > Culture and Society

The TFT Guide To... Fatal mistakes

This week police firearms officers threatened to stop work in support of two colleagues who were suspended for shooting Harry Stanley, who was carrying a wrapped table leg that he planned to repair but which was mistaken for a sawn-off shotgun.

But the blame for the killing must surely lie with members of the public who phoned the police and told them he had a gun when Stanley stopped off for a drink in a pub. One hysterical caller said an 'Irish terrorist' was walking around with a gun, after mistaking Stanley's Scottish accent for an Irish one. So what other fatal mistakes can we expect from dim-witted members of the public?

5 November 2004

1) Scotsman shot dead after parochial cockneys somehow manage to mishear 'Could I have a bag of dry roasted peanuts?' as 'Top o' the mornin' to ya, sirs. Could you tell me the way to Buckingham Palace? Me name is Mad Dog, begorrah, and I have come to blow up the Queen, to be sure. Fuck the RUC, by da way.'

2) A hysterical member of the public tells the police that a large force of men in uniform are brandishing long, pointed, gun-like objects, leading to carnage at the Annual Convention of Morris Dancers.

3) After a tip off, armed police swoop on a series of Provo drinking dens. No weapons are found, but police do recover a large amount of mindbogglingly insincere O'Neill's promotional material, in which the vast, faceless pub chain claims to wish every customer 'a million greetings' as it offers them a range of
'authentic' Irish fare, eg. shamrock-shaped potato cakes dyed green, white and orange.

4) 12 people are shot dead after police storm an IRA 'bomb factory' which turns out to be a nursery. Firearms officers admit they were puzzled why the IRA members were so small and why they were making brightly coloured Semtex into little people and animals.

5) 50,000 Asian people are detained as Al Quaeda suspects after members of the public tell Crimestoppers they're 'not from round here', 'probably up to no good' and 'talking funny in Hinjabi or summat'. David Blunkett praises the vigilance of the public, and rewards them with new legislation, The Shifty Foreigner Act 2004.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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