Saturday, 18 April 2009

Terror Alert

ak47 girlImage by Paul Keller via Flickr

So our man, let’s call him Paddy, buys a replica AK47, one of those welded ones that trade in the UK across the counter, openly, for around £80 - the Lord alone knows why, but he does.

Paddy takes the gun to work to show his mates on the construction site (in London) that they're working on and colleague Moikey uses Paddy's mobile to take a snap of yer man goofing around with the gun. Fun had, the fake shooter's pushed under a desk somewhere in the site office and everyone forgets all about it.

Paddy, a strangely avid AC/DC fan, manages to lose his mobile down at the pub one night, about three weeks ago, but thinks no more about it as he's busy at work and has to somehow fit in a hectic schedule of AC/DC gigs. In fact, over the next three weeks he travels to Barcelona and Amsterdam to AC/DC concerts and then goes to New York travelling for work.

Unknown to Paddy, there’s trouble afoot. For Paddy's mobile has been handed in to the polis when it was found down at the pub and they've discovered a photo on it of the owner hefting the world's favourite terror/mafia/mad Afghani Taliban gun - the simple, efficacious and eminently reliable Automat Kalashnikova Model 47. And, to their delight, the owner is... IRISH!

Woken up at 5am yesterday morning by an Armed Response Unit storming his house, torches strapped on guns and all, Paddy was, perhaps a little understandably, bemused. But not as bemused as the (mostly Irish) lads at the site were when another bunch of flak-jacketed, gun-toting heavies pitched up at work today in squad of jam sandwiches demanding that the puzzled team ‘Show them the gun’.

Once everything had been made clear, the temperature dropping to something approaching normal and the orange boiler suits and cable ties put away, one of the coppers who had been ‘looking after’ Paddy during his short arrest did admit that Paddy had been a hell of an expensive guy to follow.

Because for the past three weeks Paddy, the happy AC/DC-mad building lad, has been followed around the UK and across Europe by an increasingly puzzled crack squad of Her Majesty's Finest, intent on uncovering the link to Mr. Big, the Real IRA, the rag-heads or whoever else was behind Paddy, the gun-toting heavy from Dublin, Fair City.

They must have been killing themselves tracking a pissed and cheering Paddy through the crowds at those AC/DC gigs in case he was making contact with the rest of his cell, let alone having to chase him on his inexplicable jaunts across Europe and the States. You can almost see Plod getting all excited as Paddy drives through the grey, damp morning on his way to the ferry, his death's-head cutoff with studded bits and faded denims packed safely in the boot and Highway to Hell booming in the car.

"He's on the move, Sarge! He's off ter Amsterbloodydam!"

The whole stupid incident has all been an incredible waste of time, effort and public money. And all this on the day that a German tourist in London was forced by police to delete the pictures on his camera in case they breached security. The tourist, a former professional news photographer, avers the snaps were not only all completely innocuous, many were of his young son.

We’ve all gone mad, people. Quite, quite mad
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Rootless said...

Hmm, I recognise that the piece was intended to be generally sympathetic to the Irish, or at least to the English police presumption of guilt for those of us of that nationality. But did you have to use "Paddy" and "Moikey" (cringe) as the names in the piece?? Of course everything has changed and the lot of the Irish in Britain is now totally different. I'm super-sensitive because I grew up in the 1970's and bear the wounds (not just mental) of summer visits to relatives in England then. But the last time I was assaulted - yes assaulted - because of my accent was on Oxford St in 1997 (accompanied by some bewildered Chinese American female friends who had no idea that irishness could have any negative context). I've earned the right to my sensitivity and I don't think you have eprmission to call me Paddy yet.... OK, rant over, carry on please!

alexander... said...

The people involved are indeed Irish, but I had to change their names to avoid this post backfiring on them for various reasons.

I think the world has moved on from 'Paddy' being a derogatory name: it's certainly one used commonly in the extended Irish family wot I married into. Particularly when the person is called Paddy, which is not infrequent.

The piece wasn't intended to be sympathetic to the Irish at all. It just so happened he was Irish and I do think that this played a part in the decision to place him under close observation, possibly because of the recent resurgence of violence from the 'Real IRA'.

He's probably lucky he wasn't Arab, they'd probably have put him in the orange jumpsuit first and asked questions a couple of years later through a water gag.

But if he was Arab, I'd probably have changed his name to Abdullah - and done so with as much thought for 1970s history as I did when I renamed him Paddy...

Moikey thought his 'new' name was quite funny, incidentally...

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