About the terror attacks this week and what happened next
I’d like to emphasise that’s Kabul, Baghdad and Coptic Christians as well as Manchester.
I predicted and worried about this – that more attacks bred more attacks and more armed police and less freedom; that the death penalty has got in though a side door and that the trial by jury at the heart of democracy is being eroded. It’s not just Canterbury and London now – they’re in all the county towns, at stations, zoos, outside libraries.
I don’t feel safer – I feel more wary. It puts me off doing things. I feel relieved if I’ve not seen armed police or been somewhere that expects me to be searched – a world sadly familiar to those in the Middle East and to Black and Asian men respectively.
Fighting suicide bombers with guns doesn’t make sense – they are planning to die and will detonate rather than let you kill them. Shooting them in the torso is just where their bomb is. So what are the guns really for?
Guns are bullying, cowardly weapons that give you power over others, often from a distance. They easily get misfired and when we live in a panicked environment, we can make paranoid mistakes.
Officers in Britain – who’ve been largely unarmed till now, like the population – were wary of stepping up to the arming call, afraid of investigations if they misuse the gun.
Good – but why only just investigations? If I carry a gun on the street, let alone use it, let alone kill someone, I’ll be in prison both sides of the trial; I may stay there.
So why should police expect to be above the law that they are (ugly word coming up) enforcing?
Now that children have been targeted, police are more willing it seems. “It’s the best way I can protect myself and the public,” one policewoman said. Note the order of that.
Many words have been poured out in sympathy already, and take mine as a given, but I will focus this post on something less said, which needs to be.
Before I say it, I’d like to return to an old friend of mine, one who featured early in this blog 6 years ago, and who’s getting her first big screen outing released today – yes I’m going! (‘Twas brilliant).
Yes I am wearing long boots with a heel in her honour, and guess which 3 colours?
Let us contrast her way of dealing with problems with the police:
(Note these are general WW principles and change between comic/screenwriters)
1) Wonder Woman doesn’t fire bullets, she deflects them
-significant morally as well as operationally
Wonder Woman is only armed with her truth lasso
(Ms Gadot has a sword but she thought guns dishonourable)
Her plane is purely for transport – it doesn’t drop bombs
She befriends animals, she doesn’t use them as weapons
2) Wonder Woman works with the authorities and is respected by them, but she is independent and she is not part of a huge force
Unless you count the Justice League, but they tend to be outnumbered by rather than outnumber their opponents. Unlike police who overkill, literally; a whole squad after one person (even not dangerous ones) which wastes resources – and police claim they don’t have enough
(Don’t start me on police using foodbanks on ‘only’ £20k… try living off £30 a week!)
3) Wonder Woman is approachable Unlike po faced armed officers who we’re afraid to say even good morning. Wonder Woman retains her humour. She doesn’t yell, especially not at the general public
4) Wonder Woman is compassionate A quality not in the police and army much; it’s why their personalities and training mean that they’re not the right people to handle many situations entrusted to them. Wonder Woman’s someone you’d cry on. Not most PCs
And she knows the difference between being tough and strong
5) Wonder Woman is not dressed to kill or intimidate
Her face isn’t covered; no mirror glasses, no bully boy armour
6) Wonder Woman has a global view, inside (since she’s living among us) but outside (since she’s alien). She can point out our follies and since she’s so old, she has great wisdom, watching nations repeat mistakes for millennia
She’d also see what’s really happening, the even more despicable terror
7) Wonder Woman doesn’t kill or use unnecessary force
She does her own undercover work; she doesn’t use assets
8) Wonder Woman knows when to talk instead of fight and can transform would-be crime doers. Wonder Woman believes in redemption and forgiveness
9) Wonder Woman thinks for herself. Hannah Arendt would approve – for she knows the peril of taking and giving orders without question
10) Wonder Woman
makes a hawk a dove
stops the war with love
changes minds (and hearts)
and changes the world.
It’s the far more effective way – not retribution, not meeting violence and fear with more.
Not weak, fluffy, unreal.
No wonder Ms magazine cover emblazoned: “Wonder Woman for president”.
I’d like to her preside over a lot more.
I was reminded this week of James Alison’s book On Being Liked and his first essay in it Contemplation of a World of Violence, written in autumn 2001. He points out that such acts are given sacred meaning and that we are sucked in collectively, policed as to what we can say (a new heresy) and given specific behaviours in response.
He encourages us to not be drawn into that, but to One who can show us a new way to see, one who subverted violence by seemingly giving into it and then overcoming it to say I’m nothing to do with this system; there is another way to live.
The One is not Wonder Woman this time.