Albeit I want to try and keep everything on here as light hearted as I can (even the times that involve death), this entry is lacking in any mirth – sorry about that.
I am currently training down in South London. The last part of the paramenace bag stuff. Apart from the incredible stresses of having to study and recall ridiculous amounts of indications and contra-indications associated with the administration of millions of drugs – it also means that I am off the road and away from the day to day shift work pattern of being on an ambulance.
This means I wasn’t working when the civil unrest hit Tottenham the other day. I dare say I’m not disappointed about this either. By the sounds of things there was a lot of anger on the streets – lots of which was aimed at the emergency services, and with no discrepancy on who was targeted!
This saddens me.
I first heard about it when fellow work colleagues were messaging on Facebook, warning to look out for each other on shift. Being incredibly naive with the urban disruption I thought this was funny and a tad over reactive of folk. But then I talked with a friend who was on shift that night who told me of how they had been caught up in the riots and at one point cornered by a large group of “youths” who ended up pelting them with rocks, spitting at them and calling them “scum”. The crew managed to lock themselves in the ambulance and luckily, within minutes the armed response teams arrived en mass to disperse the crowd.
So, albeit I thought this was funny at first, I had to step back and look at how I was viewing it all. My friends and colleagues were being assaulted for doing a job whereby they try and help people. And the very people that we go out to help are being the ones who turn on us. I find this hard to fathom sometimes. I mean, in the ambulance service we get punched, kicked, spat at – on a regular basis, but most of the time you don’t bat an eye lid and almost accept it as part of day to day business. But to be attacked en mass by a crowd of delinquents hell bent on taking their wrath out on anyone in a uniform goes beyond what I thought a (supposed) civilised society is about!
And let me get this straight – the official reasons for the unrest were the community believing there was unreasonable behaviour by the police over the shooting dead of a young man.
With the risk of appearing over zealous with my views I have a suggestion for future aspiring “gangstas”. Next time you are suddenly stopped by armed police and told to put your hands up – do so. Be nice to the police. Do as they say. When they say it – and co-operate at all times. Don’t, whatever you do, attempt to forcefully negotiate your way out of possible arrest and shoot one of the officers. This will probably result in instant retaliation and discharge of official weapons in the direction of yourself – the usual outcome of which is termination of your life! And that’s fatal!
Here’s hoping that all crews are safe on their shifts and are free to do the job they want to do – help people.