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Home > Culture and Society

The TFT Guide To... Not Getting Involved

3 June 2006

Recently a student was stabbed and killed while trying to intervene in an argument between a man and a woman on a train. Not only is it a reminder of the UK's knife culture, but also a worrying example of a situation that we've all found ourselves in, i.e. having to use public transport. But what should you do if you see an ugly incident and feel you should intervene? TFT advises...


1) Remember that not everyone is cut out to be a 'have-a-go hero'. Some of us are cut out to be 'cowards'.

2) Before intervening in a situation, be aware that an increasing number of people carry dangerous weapons such as knives. Minimise the risk to yourself by getting your retaliation in first with the claw hammer and machete you keep hidden under your Berghaus jacket.

3) Be aware of the views of the police on dangerous situations. Specifically, the fact that the police always urge members of the public not to put themselves at risk, but *will* refer to you as a 'fucking useless twat' if you stand by and watch a woman get beaten up by her chavscum boyfriend. Tough call, lads.

4) *Never* intervene in a situation where the participants are quite clearly what clinical psychologists refer to as 'psycho bastards', e.g.

- Anyone starting a fight in a pub at *lunchtime*;

- Anyone with wounds that are a bit too specific to have been caused by an unfortunate racquetball accident, e.g. more than one set of recent facial stitches, badly bruised knuckles, scars that run the entire length of their face, etc.

- Anyone who *really* thinks the English translation of 'Stella Artois' is 'Wife Beater'.

5) In a pressurised and possibly dangerous situation, it can be difficult to make a decision about whether to intervene, so ask yourself the simple question 'Am I Chris Ryan?' If the answer is 'No', then run like the wind, Fleetfoot.

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

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