Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Is that a bomb in your pocket...?

If you happen to live in London or the Home Counties you may have seen a local news item a couple of weeks ago about armed police patrolling stations in Hertfordshire on the off chance they might find a terrorist. It's really just for show; a way of reassuring passengers that Hertfordshire Police are on the lookout for terrorist activity.

Well, this morning they were at Watford Junction; patrolling the platforms, probably conducting random searches, you know the sort of thing. I tell, you, it's one thing seeing them on the news but actually in front of your eyes it's something else.

Those guns. Bloody hell they're big. You definitely wouldn't want to be looking down the wrong end of one of them. They're not you prissy little handguns. These are huge, mean-looking semi-automatic weapons. Very impressive.

I thought about it as we pulled out of the station. I think that's probably the first real gun I've ever seen; in this country, at least. It didn't shock me, though. You get so used to seeing them on the news, I suppose, that seeing them for real doesn't come as a surprise.

In the seats directly behind us was a woman and her young daughter. The girl couldn't have been more than five or six and as the train was sat alongside the platform said:

"Mummy, does that policeman use the gun to shoot bad people?"

"Yes, he does" (in a tone that said "No, he doesn't but you're too young to understand the difference")

"But we're not bad, are we?"

Out of the mouths of babes.

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