Monday, June 24, 2019

Unreasonable Force

The question we should really be asking about Mark Field, the Tory MP suspended from his Foreign Office post after manhandling a female protestor at a Mansion House dinner, isn't whether he acted because he perceived said protestor as a threat, but whether he would have done the same thing if she had been an obvious threat.  After all, it is one thing to grab a woman in an evening dress, clearly not substantive enough to conceal any kind of weapon, by the neck, quite another to tackle, say, a knife-wielding crazy terrorist with explosives tied around his waist.  So, would he have thrown himself onto a suicide bomber in order to save everyone else in the room, or attempted to disarm a knife man?  Or would he have hidden under a table?  It's a question we should probably all ask ourselves.  I suspect that most of us would either be under that table or frozen with fear and indecision.  There are a few people who act decisively, or perhaps just instinctively,during such situations and meet the threat head on.  I have a strong suspicion that Mr Field wouldn't be one of them.  Why?  Well, because the sort of person, in my experience, at least, who reacts so violently against someone who patently isn't posing a threat, is a bully rather than a hero.  Their calculation as to whether to intervene or not is based upon the perceived weakness of their target in respect to themselves. 

Now, I might be doing Field a disservice here, (although I doubt it).  But the whole defence of his actions - that he was responding to a potential terrorist threat - sounds like an excuse cooked up later to justify actions that, on reflection, he realises were a complete overreaction to the situation.  Certainly, it seems mainly to have been promulgated by the Tory supporting press and various media figures sympathetic to the right, desperate to try and bail out a Tory MP who has clearly overstepped the mark.  The truth, i suspect, isn't that Field ever viewed the protestor as a threat, but rather felt outrage and indignation at the thought of some leftie pleb gatecrashing what was meant to be an exclusive event for the great and the good, (not mention right-wing).  Fueled by self-righteous indignation and anger (which he clearly has trouble controlling) he lashed out violently.  It is that simple.  I'm sure that most of us have, under certain circumstances, also  felt that rush of anger, but we've learned to control it, (usually because, when, as children, we've exhibited it, we've either been punished by parents, or been smacked back in the face by our target).  The problem here is one we increasingly see with people in positions of privilege and authority - they have never learned to curb those violent, angry outbursts.  They haven't had to and grow up feeling that, as they are socially superior, don't have to.  Nevertheless, despite all the attempts of the media and right-wingers to tell us otherwise, they do have to curb these impulses, and when they don't, they are as accountable for thir ill judged actions as the rest of us.

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