Sunday 6 May 2012

Non-explosive Tupperware box disrupts Olympics

The British newspapers are up in arms today. Well, the red tops are at least. This is always a good sign. Firstly, it means there's no actual news to report, which is a good thing for scaredy cats like me. Secondly it is a sure sign that no English footballers are currently cheating on their wives, which should help them concentrate on their preparations for the European Championships next month.

The issue is that, during a security exercise, a policeman successfully smuggled a dummy bomb into the London Olympic Park. In this world of terror-threats and religious fundamentalism, this is a great concern. Particularly for The Sun on Sunday, who are always keen to distract people from any of the numerous terrible things that their parent company has done.

I love news stories like this. They are designed to cause panic and outrage. In so doing, they prove the futility of both of those emotions. They are snap reactions, devoid of any reason or perspective. If you really analyse anything deeply and properly, panic and outrage should quickly dissipate. If they don't, you are probably in trouble. But even so, having a brain clouded by either is unlikely to be a constructive platform for action.

In days past, I would panic myself up into a tree over silly things like this. Luckily, over the years I have learnt to be both more analytical personally and more cynical of the motives of the news media. Sorry, the news media. But you did kind of bring this on yourselves.

The whole point of exercises is that they are supposed to discover flaws, so that when the actual thing is in progress it won't happen again. Maybe if News International's hacks had practised not tapping phones and not rooting through celebrities' bins more often, their current and future troubles would be significantly smaller. Furthermore, it was a dummy bomb. I don't know about you, but you're welcome to smuggle as many dummy bombs as you like into anywhere. You can smuggle some into my anus, as long as I'm not breathing out at the time. Go nuts. Give your children some dummy bombs to play with. Feed a few to your dog. What I'm actually concerned about is real bombs.

Of course, this will all seem very silly come July and Usain Bolt's attempt at defending his 100 metre sprint crown is waylaid as he trips over a lunchbox full of Blu-tak and batteries, hurled onto the track by a mischievous urban terrorist. But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

It always helps to put your trust in the people who are in charge of these things, after all. The fact is, whether you want to believe it or not - and whether the press want us to believe it or not - they know what they're doing better than we do. And even if they don't, thinking that they do is a nice warm feeling, although I may just have wet myself.

Personally, I'd be more offended if someone tried to smuggle a copy of The Sun, or Rupert Murdoch, into the Olympic Park.

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