During the Apollo 13 “event” when an oxygen tank in the Service Module exploded, the microphones in the capsule were on VOX – they were voice-activated, and every word spoken in the capsule went out live over the air. The language got a little bit salty, as the crew attempted to determine what the problem was, how badly they were damaged, and how they should respond to the situation.
It was 1970. Some people complained.
Once the astronauts were returned safely to the Earth, they received a reprimand for their language. As I recall, during a speech the mission commander, James Lovell, told the crowd about this and dismissed the complaint with the explanation, “It was not a ‘gosh darn’ situation.”
Unix-Jedi sent me an email this evening of a story out of (formerly) Great Britain. It could only have come from there:
A man who threatened to stab four police officers in the heart and held a two-hour stand-off is launching legal action because a police sergeant swore at him.
The sergeant has been sent to a Management Advice course and Northumbria Police face the threat of a civil action from the 35-year-old thug, who had to be subdued with a Taser gun.
When officers arrived at Glen Francis’ home to arrest his girlfriend, he erupted in rage and targeted a female officer who was standing guard in his hallway.
He hurled a bowl of pasta at her before officers claim he held her captive in his house and threatened to shoot her with a handgun he hid in a cupboard.
She escaped, but when back-up arrived, Francis lunged at the officers with a six-inch knife, before the 35-year-old was shot twice with a Taser gun.
But he simply pulled the metal barbs from his skin and continued his savage attack.
Then he barricaded himself into a room at the address in Ambassador’s Way, North Shields, where he used a hammer to smash the walls, and screamed: ‘The first copper in here is getting f****** killed, come on, I only want one of you.’
After a two-hour stand-off with trained negotiators, armed officers stormed his kitchen and Tasered him a further three times before he was eventually arrested and taken into custody.
Un-fucking-believable. (Sue me.)
But that’s not the best part!
Francis claimed he was stripped of his clothes and handcuffed on a cell floor.
Those allegations have been thrown-out following an investigation by the Northumbria Police Professional Standards Department (PSD).
But they substantiated his claim a sergeant was guilty of misconduct because he swore at Francis, and he was ordered to undergo a Management Advice course.
Why do people want to be police officers in the UK? I can’t think of a more thankless job. But wait! There’s more!
Francis, now of Wallsend, North Tyneside, said he was discussing legal action with his solicitor and planned to lodge a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights.
He said: ‘I was a toe-rag when I was younger, but I’m trying to go straight.
Aren’t they always?
‘I’m really scared of the police now – I’m like a bag of nerves.
You should have been afraid of them before you threatened to stab them, but given the restrictions they operate under, I can understand why you weren’t. Don’t try to convince us now that just because they tasered you, bro, that they frighten you now.
‘I want to take legal action because they just get a telling off for what they did.
‘It was an insult when I heard how the officer who swore at me got off – it upset me to hear someone say that.
No, you want to sue them because you think it will get you some free money you can use to buy more drugs and another knife, or maybe this time you’ll actually move up to a gun.
‘I’ve got a hole in my heart and they used a Taser, which could have killed me.’
Awwww. Too bad it didn’t.
Documents from the PSD state the sergeant was pushed into making an ‘inappropriate comment’ following Francis’ tirade of abuse.
It states: ‘The police officer openly admits he made the inappropriate comment about Mr Francis after the strip search had been conducted.
‘He admits this was unprofessional, although it was never his intention for Mr Francis to hear this comment.
‘He stipulates this comment was a result of the violence and abuse from Mr Francis.’
Gee, ya THINK? I’m actually surprised that Mr Francis was the recipient of only harsh language, myself.
Following the incident in February 2008, Francis was charged with offences of false imprisonment, threats to kill and affray.
During a trial at Newcastle Crown Court in September he was found guilty of affray and received a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
In other words, he walked.
Way to go Crown Prosecution Service. Let me re-quote Theodore Dalrymple:
(British police are) a nearly defeated occupying colonial force that, while mayhem reigns everywhere else, has retreated to safe enclaves, there to shuffle paper and produce bogus information to propitiate its political masters. Their first line of defense is to refuse to record half the crime that comes to their attention, which itself is less than half the crime committed. Then they refuse to investigate recorded crime, or to arrest the culprits even when it is easy to do so and the evidence against them is overwhelming, because the prosecuting authorities will either decline to prosecute, or else the resultant sentence will be so trivial as to make the whole procedure (at least nineteen forms to fill in after a single arrest) pointless.
And here you have a classic example.
Francis underwent an operation in January to repair his heart, which was defective since birth.
So he waited 35 years for heart surgery in England’s much-vaunted “free” healthcare system?
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: ‘Francis was convicted of affray in court. If any civil action is received it will be considered in the usual manner.’
Simon Reed, of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said the case ‘typifies the bureaucratic nonsense police officers have to contend with.’
Which may be the understatement of the Century, but the Century is yet young.
AND, linked in that story, comes this heartwarmer:
A businessman arrested for attempted murder after confronting yobs who were attacking his stepson yesterday said he had to act to protect his family.
Colin Philpott, 58, said he reacted instinctively when he allegedly stabbed one of the youths with a letter opener.
He had picked up the opener as he raced outside to help Alex Lee, 25, who was being kicked on the ground.
Uh-oh – that’s premeditation!
Speaking to the Daily Mail yesterday, just hours after he was released by police, Mr Philpott said: ‘I don’t think I had any option but to do what I did. I was trying to protect my family.’
You didn’t even have that option. The society you live in cannot differentiate between “violent and predatory” and “violent but protective,” so they make you an unwilling, unarmed victim and punish you for transgressing.
Teenager Josh Hasler ended up in hospital after suffering five stab wounds – one of which punctured his lung. He will spend his 17th birthday in hospital today after having surgery on Saturday night.
Mr Philpott, who runs a contract cleaning company, was released on bail pending inquiries and will have to return to police in September to learn his fate.
Well, if he gets Judge Shirley Anwyl he’s in deep trouble. She’s the one who sentenced Brett Osborne to five years for a similar stabbing, only the drug-crazed intruder in that incident died. Barrister Harry Potter (who I’m sure regrets the popularity of the books with that hero as the leading character) explained the law back in 2004:
“The law,” explains Harry Potter, the barrister who, with Charles Bott, would defend Osborn, “does not require the intention to kill for a prosecution for murder to succeed. All that is required is an intention to cause serious bodily harm. That intention can be fleeting and momentary. But if it is there in any form at all for just a second – that is, if the blow you struck was deliberate rather than accidental – you can be guilty of murder and spend the rest of your life in prison.
“Moreover,” Mr Potter continues, “while self-defence is a complete defence to a charge of murder, the Court of Appeal has ruled that if the force you use is not judged to have been reasonable – if a jury, that is, decides it was disproportionate – then you are guilty of murder. A conviction for murder automatically triggers the mandatory life sentence. There are no exceptions.”
Mr. Philpott deliberately picked up that letter-opener and deliberately stabbed “Teenager Josh Hasler” at least five times.
Mr. Philpott is fooked.
If he is charged with attempted murder he could face a lengthy jail term.
Like five years, if he fears the jury would find him guilty and his lawyer convinces him to cop a plea.
Last night Mr Philpott and his wife Susanne, 51, told how his upmarket neighbourhood in Crowthorne, Berkshire, had been plagued by gangs of drunk teenagers.
He said that in the last few months both he and his neighbours had had to call police several times to make complaints.
Mr Philpott said: ‘There has been a number of incidents in the street with drunk groups of teenagers being noisy and generally a nuisance. They have caused some acts of minor vandalism too. Two years ago my stepdaughter had her car window smashed.
‘I and some other neighbours have called the police before to report problems. I assume the police reacted to those complaints although they never got back in touch.’
See the Theodore Dalrymple quote above.
Late on Friday night, while in bed, his stepson Mr Lee heard a disturbance outside in the cul-de-sac.
Along with his mother, he opened the front door to discover a gang of five 16 and 17-year-old males kicking his stepfather’s work van on the road.
‘He had gone out to confront them,’ said Mr Philpott. ‘He tried to speak to them and they attacked him, punching and kicking him to the ground.
He suffered a broken nose and concussion. I was asleep in bed but I was woken up by the noise. I came downstairs and went outside.
‘When I appeared on the scene they set about me and I reacted. One of the youths suffered stab wounds.
Note the passive voice. Not “I stabbed one of the youths” but “it just magically happened.”
I asked my wife to call the police and ambulance. The group continued being abusive towards me and making threats.
But after one of them got stabbed they stopped assaulting him and his stepson.
‘As soon as the police arrived I was arrested. I was treated very well by the police, I have no complaints. It was very traumatic at the time but I am calmer now.’
And facing jail time.
Mother-of-two Mrs Philpott, a training consultant, spoke of the horror she had witnessed outside her £500,000 five-bedroom home.
‘One of them said that he would kill me and burn down my house,’ she said. ‘I was terrified and when Alex tried to calm him down, the other four got worked up and they all attacked him.
‘Alex ended up on the ground with all five of them on him, kicking him in the head and stomach. I was so frightened for him I screamed for Colin, who was in bed.
‘He came running out – still barefoot and half asleep – and saw the mess Alex was in so ran back into the house. He grabbed the first thing he saw, which was a letter-opener, and confronted the boys.
There was the mistake – nobody should confront criminals. It might encourage them.
Anthony Burgess was a prophet.
I was in such a state of panic that I couldn’t do anything to help. I was glued to the spot in terror.
In the blink of an eye, the lads attacked Colin and I saw one stumble into the road as Colin screamed for me to call the police and ambulance. It was all so surreal.
‘When the police arrived and arrested Colin, I was gobsmacked. It was heartbreaking to see him handcuffed and carted off like a common criminal.
Why? He’d violated the social contract by resisting! What else would you expect?
‘He is a hardworking, honest family man and was only trying to protect us.’
He’s not qualified! And he’ll submit to punishment!
Five local youths, aged 16 and 17, were arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage. All have been released on bail.
And face, at best, the dreaded ASBO. (Again, see the Dalrymple quote.)
Yesterday at Josh Hasler’s home on an estate in nearby Ascot, a female relative said the teenager was ‘doing OK’ in hospital.
‘His worst injury was a punctured lung but that has been repaired,’ she added.
It is not clear whether the teenager has been in trouble with police before but on his Bebo social networking webpage, he admits being involved in an array of anti-social behaviours.
In a question and answer section it states:
* Ever beaten someone up? Answer: Yep
* Ever shoplifted? Yep
* Do you drink: Always
But he’s trying to get straight!
Thames Valley Police Superintendent Steve Kirk said: ‘We believe there was some kind of assault and criminal damage offences before the incident took place involving a group of youths which left a 25-year-old man with a broken nose.’
He appealed for anyone with information to contact police.
Yeah, like that’ll happen. Especially when any potential witnesses know that their homes might unfortunately burn down in the middle of the night under suspicious circumstances that won’t be solved.