All entries for Tuesday 08 April 2008
April 08, 2008
Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/staffordshire/7336740.stm
A BBC radio reporter was held to the ground and searched by police under the Terrorism Act after his transmitter equipment was mistaken for a bomb.
I have several issues with this. Firstly, the equipment apparently looks like this:
Admittedly, as well as a radio transmitter, I will accept that this could look like a bomb, but that is precisely the problem: backpack bombs look like backpacks; if they looked like bombs then the bombers would never be able to get near their target...
Secondly, it is worth pointing out the sentence
Mr Khan's backpack contained equipment that is regularly used to allow reporters to broadcast from locations around the city centre. Did you notice the important word? It's "regularly". This equipment is regularly used around the city. It is not a rare occurrence for this equipment to be chosen; it is used regularly.
Police were told an "Arabic-looking man was acting suspiciously" outside a shopping centre. Surely all that matters was that a man was acting suspiciously; or even "someone" was acting suspiciously. What difference does it make if he looks like an Arab or not? Have people forgotten that just the other decade stupid people would have been informing the police of "green-clad suspicious people with shamrocks" or some other appropriate stupid stereotype. "Arab" does not equal "terrorist", and "terrorist" does not equal "Arab"; any Arab terrorists just happen to be Arabs and terrorists for completely separate reasons.
Finally, Chief Superintendent Jane Sawyers said
I am pleased with the positive and professional way the officers dealt with the incident. I'm sorry! Forcing a professional radio reporter to the ground because some people decide to make bombs that, apparently, resemble radio transmitting equipment is now considered professional!? What's wrong with "We fucked up, big time" or "Epic Fail", or "Keeping the peace; we're doing it wrong"?