WARNING: Contains spoilers for the season 4 finale of The Walking Dead.
No I’m not joking.
If you don’t want to know, then fuck off until you’ve watched it.
While watching the finale of the Walking Dead, series 4 tonight there was an awesome scene where Rick, Michonne, Carl and Daryl are attacked by a group of marauders out for revenge, as Rick had killed one of their number in a previous episode. While holding Rick at gunpoint the leader says that they are all going to rape Michonne AND Carl (who’s about 14 years old), beat Daryl to death and then shoot Rick. After a righteous bit of ass kicking (and jugular biting) Rick confronts the fat, sweaty guy who was attempting to butt fuck his son.
He then proceeds to gut him from pelvis to neck (in one long, agonising rip of his dagger) and then repeatedly hack at the dying body until the camera fades out. Cut to the morning and Rick is sitting shell shocked, face literally covered in the would-be rapist’s dried blood.
Now…this scene was simply one of many in this series that is badass. But what it made me realise is that in UK society we reserve reactions and actions like Rick demonstrated, for incredibly serious stuff that we imagine to be off limits 99% of the time and therefore unlikely to ever happen.
The guy he gutted, mutilated and painfully murdered was about to anally rape his young son, so anyone could understand (but not necessarily sympathise) with what Rick did once he got his hands on the bloke. It was OK to do this as the man’s actions were so Beyond the Moral Event Horizon, so vile, so Off Limits that he deserved to be disembowelled and his corpse desecrated.
In the UK there is still a sub conscious belief, held by the majority of society, that most people act within limits. Wankers like the Kray twins and Cas Penant (former football hooligan with West Ham who even has a fucking acting role in the first Green Street movie!) are seen as OK as their criminality operated within certain guidelines. The Krays had staunch supporters (including Barbara Windsor) and noted for their gentlemanly behaviour, anger if someone swore in front of a lady and love of their mother Violet. Penant ran the ICF (Inter City Firm) for West Ham and fought for years as a soccer hooligan. But that was OK because HEY! He was only hurting OTHER soccer hooligans (and maybe the odd copper or two).
Real, unpredictable, nasty, unfathomable violence and crime, such as raping a teenage boy in front of his father, is something that society assumes that most people, the majority of people simply WOULD NOT do or even threaten to do. We assume that drunken louts out on a Friday might sexually molest a woman but we assume it would be a drunken fumble and even if they raped her then they would be caught very quickly as it was almost certainly an act of drunken passion and they were BOUND to have left loads of DNA samples everywhere as their behaviour is something we believe we can foretell.
We think that shoplifters caught by security guards will either run or vehemently protest their innocence. No one assumes they would pull out a syringe filled with HIV-infected blood or a rusty kitchen knife. I know of one store manager this happened to and he had ZERO training on how to deal with the situation.
The UK police are 99% routinely unarmed. Reason? We think that violence that is Off Limits won’t occur. We have special units reserved for just such vile scum, held in reserve until they are needed. The two cunts who murdered soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich were shot by police and no one questioned that it was justified…because running someone over and then trying to cut their head off and then talking to passers by about it and THEN attacking the armed police that attended the scene…is Off Limits behaviour.
In 1980 the Iranian embassy in London was taken over by terrorists who shot one hostage and threatened to shoot more. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (in one of her few decent decisions) sent in Britain’s badasses the S.A.S. The Special Air Service who, in a display of utter badassery, went in and shot every terrorist except one. Thatcher apparently said “it is time to use the final option” when she made the decision to utilise special forces to end the siege.
The terrorists deserved to meet their fates at the hands of people one level of badass above the regular army and two above a police firearms unit…because the terrorists had committed acts which were Off Limits.
About two years ago two female cops were called to a false burglary alert and had grenades thrown at them before being cut down with a machine gun and killed. Both were unarmed with anything except pepper spray, batons and possibly a stun gun (the latter being useless except at close range, the first two no good except right up against someone). The current Prime Minister David “Cunt” Cameron was quoted on the TV News the same day as saying, “A domestic burglary wouldn’t normally warrant an armed attendance.” He meant what he said because in England we don’t expect people to behave like that. We don’t even expect cop killers to behave like that. Shots being fired would be something they could maybe have run from. Explosives and machine guns…Off Limits.
I once showed a friend of mine (a Texan Sheriff’s deputy) footage of a guy going berserk with a machete in a busy London suburb while 8 cops armed with metal batons and pepper spray tried to subdue him with no success. The conversation went like this:
“Why don’t they shoot him?”
“Why don’t they go back to their cars and get their guns?”
“There is no gun in the car either. The firearms unit were on their way but it was resolved before they got there.”
He looked at me in disbelief and went, “You Brits are fucking crazy!!! How the hell are the police expected to do their job without appropriate tools to do it?!!”
In England we dangerously believe we can predict behaviour and our laws only allow Reasonable Force in self defence (e.g. a mugging or a burglary). While this in itself may sound reasonable it assumes that those who commit crimes will themselves not stray beyond the realms of predictability, remain within established limits and anyone who hacks to death a burglar with a meat cleaver from the kitchen knife block, is probably being over zealous as the law will assume that the intruder only wanted to rob the house. It will not assume that he or she maybe wanted to ritually sacrifice the entire family or kidnap one of the children and sell them into slavery.
One example of how Off Limits behaviour is skewed in this country is the case of fat, waddling, piss taking arsehole Ian Tomlinson at the G20 riots. Despite walking through police lines all day DURING A FUCKING RIOT and deliberately obstructing police vehicles it was assumed that the officer who pushed him over was totally Off Limits with his behaviour. Poor little Ian was only walking home after all. Nasty, horrid, bullying policeman.
Fact is that Tomlinson was doing everything he could to get in the way and be a twat. This wasn’t even considered at the trial of the cop who shoved him (Tomlinson later died from internal bleeding, chances are NOT caused by the shove, but HEY… the shove was illegal). Legally the only thing to be considered was that at the moment of the shove he wasn’t an immediate threat and was complying with instructions to move on (albeit like a petulant 6 year old being sent to bed).
In the USA cops assume a high threat level AUTOMATICALLY and then downgrade to normality when they believe they’re safe.
When I lived in northern Mexico city Tampico for 7 months the place was controlled by the army, the police and warring drug cartels. Everyone assumed a high threat level and adapted accordingly to deal with it. This would be something as simple as not going to certain areas or not driving expensive cars on certain roads. Bottom line was that they knew no behaviour was Off Limits and they lived their lives accepting this and dealing with it.
We should always assume that any bad guy will behave in ways that are off limits until it is proved otherwise and we then believe we are safe. Just because something is so monstrous to imagine, does not mean it could never happen or is not a sick fantasy (or worse, a matter of no significance) to another person.
Immorality is something that society can legislate against
It is not something it can predict or control.