Saturday, November 06, 2010

A reasonable alternative?

One should be a little careful about reacting directly to this article in The Daily Mail, and avoid focusing specifically on Devon Cadet Executive Officer Major David Waterworth.

He is slated as the man who put an end to the tradition after he ruled that carrying weapons was "not good for the image" of cadets, who can join between the ages of 12 and 18. The Mail cites him as saying: "There is no need for children to appear in public with weapons. It does upset some members of the public. There is no need for it. It doesn't reflect our aims and ethos in the Army Cadet Force. We are not soldiers."

If one reads past that little delight, we see that Major Waterworth adds that a ruling against children carrying rifles had been in place for ten years, but had not been enforced until now. Apart from people like Waterworth, therefore, one needs also to shine a light on the anonymous (so far) person or persons who, ten years ago, made the ruling against "children carrying rifles".

Nevertheless, Waterworth does have a point. There is no need for children to appear in public with weapons. But he should go further. There is no need for children to appear in public, full stop. In fact, it is positively harmful for children to appear in public – think of all those paedophiles who might photograph them. Much better that these child are kept at home with paper bags over their heads, and never allowed out in case they put at risk.

Come to think of it, though, there is no need for Remembrance Day parades either. We should ban those as well. Instead, we could have public executions for the likes of Mr Waterworth – restoring the firing squad as a means of execution. Under the circumstances, I am sure he would be the first to agree that there would be no risk of glamourising weapons from such a process. But it would provide jolly entertainment for the crowds, with the additional merit of cleansing the world of fools.