Smudger Snippets

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I suppose it's because I have so much time on my hands these days that all these memories come flooding back to me.


Since I finished work all those years ago I find myself watching more television these days and, despite the fact that we have so many channels to choose from, I find that I have to visit some channels that I never usually watch as the others are repeated so often.

So I find myself watching those so-called action films and live real time police shows. One thing that I have noticed about those live police programmes is that it seems to take seven or eight cars and a helicopter to chase and catch one joy rider in a stolen car. They follow behind the stolen car in a convoy with all their lights flashing and sirens blaring which, when shown from the helicopter up above, make it look like a long train which is holding a disco on board as it thunder down the track. Then, when they come into towns and the suburbs, they all follow behind making enough noise to waken the dead as they all skid around the same corner one at a time.

The chase usually goes on until they manage to puncture the tyres of the stolen car with their stinger. A point that always amazes me is, why didn't they shoot out the tyres in the first place when the car first took off? Or placed a stinger type tool at the wheels of any suspected motorist when they have first stopped them? This would do away with the whole car chase scenario to begin with. Another point I have noticed that at some time during the chase the police seem to have the suspect cornered or 'boxed in' as they call it, only to discover that, when they are leaving their vehicles to arrest the driver, he then finds a gap which has been left that he can sneak through. So he gets away and the chase starts all over again! Then, when they have eventually managed to stop the car, the occupants of the following police cars all come rushing forward to help with the arrest. This usually means jumping on the poor bloke and putting the boot in, while all eight of them try to handcuff him using their own hand cuffs.

At the end of all this, the poor chap has more injuries than he would have sustained if he had actually crashed the car at the high speed that he had took off in. At this point all the police cars are left abandoned all over the road, blocking it, with the lights still flashing. Of course this adds up to giving the event the full effect of a disaster zone. In the end all the police men are quite happy with their efforts as they pose for their cars onboard camera as well as the one in the chopper up above, just in case it zooms in for a close up.

My point being that when all these police vehicles which are normally on patrol, are chasing this suspect as he thunders down the motorway, what are all the rest of the house breakers and muggers doing in the areas left unattended while they are away doing their bit to combat crime? Then, of course, there is the cost of all this which must be high considering that there is the helicopter plus all the those highly trained car crews involved in the chase - not to mention the cost of the damage done to their cars along with all the personnel back at home base monitoring the whole event. Chases can go on for a matter of hours yet, after all that effort, the car thief gets off with either a small prison term or probation and a few points on his or her license. Can this cost be justified? Still that is reality after all.

Another point to all this is that we are supposed to believe while watching these action films that bullets spark when they hit any object, usually cars or buildings. Of course we all know that most bullets are made of lead and wouldn't spark at all if they hit any of those surfaces. Another point about this is that the guns they use seem to have fantastic magazines that can hold up to at least three hundred rounds at a time. The hero bursts onto the scene wiping out all the bad guys with never-ending bouts of fire power and not even one round of the hundreds fired back towards him find its mark. Of course in real life we all know, well some of us do, that a three second burst from an automatic weapon would use up to thirty two rounds, which is the most ammunition these weapons can hold.

Also, if the hero of the scene gets hit in the arm or leg with a round he or she is still perfectly capable of getting back up and doing away with the so-called bad guy who shot him. This always amazes me as, when a person is actually shot in the arm or leg in real life, they are totally incapacitated and most commonly would be in shock and not even fit enough to stand up let alone jump up and carry on the fight. During the fight both parties will have been hit or kicked in the face and other parts of the body on numerous occasions and by more than one person at times. Yet, when it's all over, our hero stands up with not a mark on him apart from the mandatory trickle of blood coming from the corner of their mouth. All this, of course, is all right for the movie world but I can't help but wonder what it is doing to the younger audiences who will probably grow up thinking that what they see up there on the silver screen or on their televisions and computer games at home, is what actually happens in real life.

I think, looking back to my days in the ambulance service, the first thing that seemed to surprise most of the people we saw who were involved in car accidents or other sudden attacks of violence to the body, is how they reacted to the amount of blood they saw. The same reaction could be seen when we arrived at a fight scene, usually outside a pub or a club. As soon as we arrived there would be the friends of the victim surrounding them and urging us to do something quickly. The amount of bruising and cuts on the face would alarm these people as they were so used to seeing the results of such violence on television or films.

In the end I suppose, if the film and television people keep portraying the result of violence in this manner, our younger generation will grow up thinking that this is what really happens when someone is punched and kicked or even thrown down a flight of stairs. Yet at some time in their future, and lets hope it never happens, if they do come into contact with such violent scenes, I hope they will have a better grasp of reality.

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