Am I a Terrorist?

You may have noticed in the recent press various dignitaries announcing the very real likelihood of a bomb attack on mainland Britain soon.

The Government are helping to prepare us for this event by advertising for scapegoats and grasses and it doesn’t look they are too fussed about the quality of leads, either.

· Do you own more than one mobile phone?
· Do you put fertiliser containers in your bin?
· Do you take photographs?
· Is your behaviour unusual in any way?
· Have you seen anyone looking at security measures – CCTV etc.?

For me the answer is yes to all of those.

I have had at least three mobile phones on the go at once with different tariffs and numbers for different usages.
I must confess to having used lawn improver in the past and yes, I binned the packaging.

I’m always taking photographs in public places of things I find amusing or interesting and that’s just one of the ways that my behaviour is unusual (though why any self-respecting terrorist wouldn’t just use Google street view…).

I used to work in retail and as a floor manager always on the look out for scallies, whenever I walk into a shop, I automatically clock the security measures in place and assess their efficacy.

I don’t think I’m a terrorist and am convinced I have no fanatical tendencies or even sympathies, but – that’s not for me to decide…

Exhibit A – transcript from a police sponsored radio advert.

Female Voice over:
How d’you tell the difference between someone just video-ing a crowded place and someone who’s checking it out for a terrorist attack?

How can you tell if someone’s buying unusual quantities of stuff for a good reason or if they’re planning to make a bomb?

What’s the difference between someone just hanging around and someone behaving suspiciously?

How can you tell if they’re a normal everyday person, or a terrorist?

Male voice over:
The answer is, you don’t have to.

That’s right - the Police don’t want us to assess whether something IS suspicious or not – they want us to think it’s our civic duty to report people who are hanging around (!!!) and let them make the decision on the off-chance that they might actually be a terrorist, not just bored or one of the two million unemployed who are fed being indoors.

From the Metropoloitan Police website…

If you think you have seen something suspicious or you are unsure about somebody’s activities or behaviour, however insignificant it may seem at the time, call the confidential Anti-Terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321

Unusual activity or behaviour which seems out of place may be terrorist-related - and anyone who notices such behaviour is being urged to pass on any information via the freephone hotline on 0800 789 321.

The language in these campaigns is so vague as to be almost useless.

Now, for myself, I feel I’m able to make a reasonable call about this, but I wonder how many folk would have felt about the asian (ooh, foreigner…) man (that looks like an extremist's beard…) in a cap (hiding his features?) and a pair of yellow trainers (unusual behaviour – could be construed as rebelling against our society’s norms…) who was hanging around (!) shops (!!) with a mobile phone (!!!) and then walked off when I approached him (THAT’S IT! – HE’S A TERRORRIST! BURN HIM!! AARGH!!) in the light of this campaign.

I do hope that this is a genuine drive to inform, enlighten and raise awareness.

I do hope it isn’t a way to increase fear, change legislation regarding civil liberties or distract the populous - keeping us looking away from the many things they’d prefer to be kept hidden.

I’ve just realised, I’m now an author of some anti-anti-terrorism material…where’s that number again?

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