Archive for September 2012

Equality? Not seeing it here…

September 27, 2012

Recently two young police officers were murdered in cold blood in Manchester, England. They were simply going about their regular duties – based upon my own experience, by the looks of things it was a call of the nature of a possible intruder in an empty property. Certainly the officers seemingly had no reason to suspect that a famously wanted man with a huge reward on his head was inside the property, heavily armed and ready to kill.

Unarmed, they were ruthlessly killed by a piece of human scum already believed responsible for at least two prior deaths. They could not have harmed him – they were not equipped to do so. But he killed them anyway, one assumes because of their roles and the uniforms they wore. This will have to be proved for justice to take its course, but from my own experience of policing and reading between the lines of what has been released to the public, this piece of human crap is guilty as hell – and he needs removing from society for ever.

The investigation will be long and detailed. Hopefully the lowlife will never see freedom again. Hopefully any calls for the UK police to routinely carry firearms will be argued away. But…

These officers were young women, and sadly the media focus has been upon how awful it is that two WOMEN have been killed. This is troubling; firstly because it presupposes that the violent loss of a female life is somehow ‘worse’ than that of a male. It also indicates that the UK media do not treat female police officers as equals to their male colleagues. It is an attitude which I find unpleasant on both counts.

Why would a male life be worth less than a female? In my opinion that is an outrageous assumption to work from and would not be countenanced if the opposite were suggested.

Why are females patronised with this ‘we must protect them more than their male colleagues’ attitude?

Two questions I would enjoy debating with anyone holding an opposing opinion to my own. I remain, however, disappointed that society seems to be stuck in the very early twentieth century, after all the  work (some good, some bad, some really over top) which has been done to foster equality in our society. We are, of course not there yet – inequalities still exist and in some ways the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction, but this kind of approach demonstrates that some in the media at least are backward-thinking.

I have worked many times alongside female colleagues and have been supervised by females in a huge variety of situations. Gender was never an issue – why would it be?

Do we say enough?

September 4, 2012

Should we have to guess?

Recently I received news of a former colleague having passed away. I must be very clear and say that I didn’t know him except to say ‘hello’ or exchange a nod of recognition. We first met more than twenty five years ago as young police officers and only a few times after that. He made an impression upon me as a quiet and decent kind of man, someone with whom I would have enjoyed working. I never actually worked alongside him but those who did tell me that they were lucky to do so. He died at the age of 52 while enjoying the great outdoors, one of his life’s passions. His family’s personal tragedy needs no explanation.

Following his passing I’ve observed nothing but praise being heaped upon this quiet and clearly popular man. Many people have described his strengths and endearing qualities, and all have shared their sorrow at his sudden and unexpected death. From what I can glean from the tributes, I wish I had known him. And I have started thinking – did he know how many people thought so highly of him? Not just him, of course, but do any of us know how many people hold us in high regard? Do we express our admiration, respect and liking for others as freely as we might? I think that I for one probably do not – although the opposite would be the case where my relationship with immediate family is concerned.

Recently I was re-reading some old online correspondence and I came across a brief 2011 conversation I had held with one of my oldest friends on the subject of my father’s failing health. Within that brief exchange of online posts my old friend had described me in a way which not only surprised, but genuinely shocked me. I was quietly astonished that he thought of me in the way that he clearly did – and I wondered why, and I wonder if this is something peculiar to me?

Ever since I undertook some training in Neuro-Linguistic programming in 2000 I have tried to make a habit of providing clear and honest feedback, especially when the feedback is positive. I can`t lay claim to having any special skills in this area, but I hope that the occasional puzzled and sometimes startled expressions on people`s faces indicates that the message has been meaningful and useful. There is, however, a big `however`. There have been many people in my life whom I have called friends, and but a few whom I have called lovers. Those I love know it; I make a point of reinforcing that message – in particular with my wife and children. But do I say enough to my friends?

I doubt it. I doubt that many of us do. My experience has been that we barely touch one another`s lives as we complete our personal journeys. That could be different, and there are a multitude of gifts to be given.To find a lifelong male friend describing me as ‘a lovely person’ was a shock (a very pleasant one) and a wake-up call. I haven’t habitually told my friends how I feel – and when I have it has often been at the point of saying a farewell or at a point of crisis. I’m thinking now that such messages belong in the everyday, in the humdrum patterns of our daily lives, when they probably have more meaning and effect. I need to tell my friends how much I like them.

I shall begin doing so, and because I am intrinsically, privately, very shy (how many of my friends would laugh out loud at that thought, I wonder?), I shall offer my gifts first using the web….Why? Because this may be new for them as well as for me. Because I fear rejection and ridicule. But the sacrifice and the perceived risk is worth the potential result. I know I haven’t yet said enough to my friends about my feelings. I’d dearly like to know how they feel about me – and therefore about the person I tell the world I am. Perhaps their gifts will be very eye-opening and very useful. Look out!