Sunday, May 10, 2009

Apply British Pre-emptive Terror Laws to your daily lives and piss everyone off

On Tuesday April 14 in Britain, 114 people were arrested on “suspicion of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass and criminal damage”.

This is remarkable because these people were arrested not because they did anything wrong, but because police thought that they were planning to. This is a bit scary basically because it gives someone the power to react to a situation or threat that doesn't actually exist.

I figured that if British cops can do this, well then so can I. So I tested these powers all last week to see what kind of affect it would have:

Monday: I woke-up, pre-empting that everyone in my office at work would be sick and give me swine flu, so I stayed home.
Outcome: My boss was pissed, but I cited the British example and said that I needed no evidence and that my action was justified on the basis that I was averting a potentially life-threatening situation.

Tuesday: At breakfast time, I was suspected that I would be hungry again at lunchtime. So I ate my breakfast and lunch at 8am.
Outcome: Suspicion and pre-emptive action led to sickness from excess consumption early on and hunger later in the day.

Wednesday: I was in a shoe shop. I suspected a woman buying exceptionally tall patent leather red and blue stilettos would cause criminal damage and potentially trespass to the nether regions of fashion if allowed to make that purchase. I stopped her.
Outcome: Outrage and disbelief, to which I responded that I had persuasive evidence and could convince a jury that the woman was conspiring to commit a crime if allowed to buy the shoes. I am banned from the shop indefinitely.

Thursday: I went to the pub after work and told the barman that he should stop serving my boyfriend beer on the basis that he may or may not 'do something' to me later.
Outcome: An awkward conversation with a security guard, friends and colleagues about whether I was in an abusive relationship.

Friday: My Mum called. I suggested that she give me Power of Attorney over her and Dad and that I could really do with my inheritance now. This suggestion was made based on my long-held suspicion that she has in fact already got Alzheimer's and Dad can't look after himself.
Outcome: She hung up on me, my brother phoned shortly after to ask whether I was alright, and gloat that my portion of any inheritance would be donated to the Country Women's Association.

Saturday: I lept out of a Taxi without paying and ran away, - I didn't like the look in the Driver's eyes.
Outcome: I walked home in the rain, got blisters and am too scared to take a cab again in case I'm recognised as the cab-jumper that I am and some pre-emptive action is taken out on me.

Sunday: I got serious and attempted a pre-emptive arrest on a woman whose dog had shat on the nature strip. I had reason to suspect that she would not pick-up the poo given that she had no plastic bag on her.
Outcome: Verbal abuse and a Jack Russel nips marks on my ankle.

For a week I followed the precedent of the British Police and took pre-emptive action on the basis of unproven suspicious, and justified it with in – in my view- persuasive evidence that an act of terrorism, trespass, law-breaking or other major life-threatening crime may take place. What did I learn?

1)Power trips and suspicion can justify just about any type of ridiculous, unfair and humiliating behaviour.
2)This approach tends to piss people off – a lot. Most people seemed very uncomfortable that I was alleging that they were about to commit a crime before it had taken-place.
3)That people don't cop shit very lightly nor respond well to the idea that one person can accuse them of being guilty of doing something before they have done it.

So though I am in trouble with work, my Mum and my boyfriend, am banned at shops and have bite marks on my ankle, I do take some heart in the idea that people won't accept 'pre-emptive arrests' in my immediate vicinity.It also furthers my resolve that the English are whingers and take a lot of shit if they allow this to happen in theirs.

Based on an article that appeared in the UK Guardian on April 14

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