A Welsh woman was convicted yesterday of racially abusing her father's mistress by calling her an 'English cow'. Prestatyn magistrates heard that Elen Humphreys, 25, went to Angela Payne's house in Rhyl to collect some of her father's belongings and told her 'Leave well alone, you English cow'.
Humphreys was convicted of racially aggravated harassment and was ordered to pay Ms Payne £50 in compensation and given a 12-month conditional discharge. She pleaded guilty.
This is, of course, totally ridiculous. The epithet “cow” is insulting, certainly, but it's common enough and has no racial connotations. Except possibly to cows.
A Welsh cow
But “English”? How is that racist? It was a statement of fact. The GOS is English, and if someone used this word about him he wouldn't feel even slightly aggrieved. If anything, he's proud of it. Or do we all have to be careful now about using any word that describes nationality? Is “American” offensive to an American? Would a Frenchman punch you on the nose if you used the word “French” in his hearing? And do newspapers risk legal action for headlines like “German economy in the doldrums, says IMF”?
When this story was printed in the Daily Wail, readers wrote comments like “I despair of this country ....”, but they're wrong. It's not just this country, not by a long chalk. Here are some stories from the other side of the Atlantic, from ... oh, I forgot, I mustn't name the country in case it's racist. Let's just say “from the Land of the Free”. Is that OK?
1 DON'T HELP THE POLICE OR THEY'LL ARREST YOU
Michael Keeley and his wife owned a house that they rented out until August 2012, when they realised that their tenants were running a meth lab, which wasn't exactly specified on the lease. The tenants were arrested, and the police cleared out the rental house.
But when the Keeleys returned to the house to get it ready for the next tenants, they discovered that someone had broken back into the house, removed a wall mirror, and stuffed eight more bags of meth into the wall cavity.
Michael Keeley promptly called the police and left the premises, as he figured the perpetrator could still be lurking around. When he returned, he found the police already there. He calmly walked them through what he had found and explained how the former tenants were, you know, arrested already for possession of meth, and that this was probably related.
The Keeleys were arrested on the spot. As one of the arresting officers said to Michael's face, "We know no one broke into your house. You did it yourself."
The police separated the Keeleys and interrogated them in different rooms. Meanwhile, their young son was left outside in the car crying for his parents. As his mom tried to comfort the child, a police officer told them to get someone to take care of him or they would call child services to take him away.
The Keeleys wound up being thrown in jail for several days before they were able to post bond, leaving their child with a close relative. The charges were later dropped. Presumably some judge asked the police, "What are you, stupid?"
2 THE LIFEGUARD SACKED FOR SAVING A DROWNING MAN
When lifeguards see somebody drowning, they don't usually stop to flip open the rule book to figure out what the protocol is in this situation. Florida lifeguard Tomas Lopez understood his duty very well: when he spotted a man drowning in the summer of 2012, he did exactly what anyone would expect a lifeguard to do and saved the guy's life.
But he had forgotten to check whether the man was drowning in an acceptable drowning zone because after he completed his deed for the day, his employer fired him. The victim had been swimming in the "swim at your own risk" section of the beach, and when they put that sign up, they really f*cking meant it. Lopez lost his job for rescuing somebody who wasn't drowning within his allocated rescue zone, and two more lifeguards were fired for defending Lopez's actions. Several other lifeguards quit in protest.
Needless to say, it wasn't long before the employers realised that they might have made a bad PR move, and reversed their stance on the matter, admitting they had been "hasty" in their original decision. The response of the former employees at being offered their jobs back involved one artfully extended middle finger.
3 PARAMEDIC CHARGED WITH GIVING A COLD MAN A BLANKET
Jeff Gaglio was a paramedic working in Detroit, Michigan. Serving with the fire department, he was called to a house fire, where he found a house burning down and its elderly resident standing outside in nothing but his underwear in the freezing cold night.
So Gaglio did the sensible thing: he gave the man a blanket. Several weeks later he found himself brought up on charges. Apparently it wasn't his blanket to give - it was a work blanket, belonging to the city. The crowning idiocy is that the blanket was almost certainly donated, and not bought by the city council. Gaglio still awaits his punishment.
4 DON'T HELP THE POLICE OR YOU'LL LOSE YOUR JOB
All right, this time it wasn't actually the police who were at fault.
George Daw is a school bus driver in Long Island, New York. On August 1, 2011 a severe thunderstorm blew in, and while most drivers weren't keen on braving the weather, Daw had teenagers he needed to get home, and he took his bus driving job very, very seriously. So seriously that when he drove past a police car that was stranded and sinking beneath the waves, he rescued the officers like some kind of bus driving Bruce Willis and drove them back to their precinct.
He was promptly fired.
Apparently, the Educational Bus Company that employed Daw takes bus driving very seriously as well. Their rule is that you can't just deviate from your route to pick up a bunch of unscheduled passengers, not even if they're police officers. Not even if they're police officers trapped in a sinking car in the middle of a hailstorm.
The bus company took refuge in the usual mealy-mouthed way: they hid behind the children's safety. They released a statement simply stating that it's against company policy to pick up unscheduled passengers in the name of the children's safety.
In the face of some pretty bad publicity, the company did eventually give Daw his job back.
5 IF YOU THWART A TERRORIST ATTACK, YOU'RE PROBABLY THE TERRORIST
At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics a security guard named Richard Jewell spotted an unattended backpack beneath a park bench. Discovering that the backpack contained three fully active pipe bombs set to go off, Jewell was thrust into the kind of situation that is a bit above a security guard's pay grade. But rather than collapse into a quivering, hysterical mess Jewell calmly took the lead in alerting authorities and evacuating the area without the kind of organ-trampling panic that usually accompanies the word "bomb."
Unfortunately the bomb went off before people got clear, and one woman was killed. A cameraman died from a heart attack, and 111 people were injured.
Jewell was hailed as a hero, but became a “person of interest” in the FBI's jargon. Though he was never arrested, the home where he lived with his mother was searched and his background exhaustively investigated, amid a media storm that had cameras following him to the grocery store. A former employer made allegations to the FBI and newspapers that were, according to Jewell's lawyers, false and misleading. Eventually he was exonerated, but that didn't help much: he had already lost his job and suffered a crucifixion in the media. There was no big moment of vindication for him, and he never got the hero status he deserved. It was 10 years before someone finally stepped up to thank Jewell, even after they caught the real terrorist, an anti-abortion loony named Eric Rudolph – and it took several more bombs and at least one more death before they managed it.
All right, that's enough poking fun at the Amer ... those people over there. To redress the balance, one more little lunacy from Engl ... from where we live. A nursery nurse has been sacked from her job at Little Folks Nursery in Birmingham after she smacked a child on the bottom for being naughty.
The child was her own daughter.
either on this site or on the World Wide Web.
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