Friday, April 21, 2006

Crime, Clarke, Compensation and Cluelessness (Continued)

The inestimably brilliant, public-spirited, noble, fearless, erudite, kind, sensible and generally nice Tom Reynolds, an ambulance-type paramedic who blogs - superbly, with erudition, kindness and nobility - at Random Acts of Reality, illustrates far more graphically than I can hope to expect a point I made yesterday.

Tom has been called to attend to

"Two people in collapsed state".

Turns out they were a couple of smackheads who had overdone it a bit. One was 6' 2" and

built like a brick outhouse apparent weightlifter

As he was being lifted into the ambulance, he came round and smacked Tom around the head, shattering his glasses. A station officer is helpful and tells Tom to buy a new pair and

... that when I got new glasses I should give the receipt to him so that he can do battle with the finances department and then I can claim the money back. Asking him if the patient would be made to pay by the LAS, I was told that this wouldn't be the case, and that the money would come out of our normal funding.

I was told not to buy any solid gold glasses.

I find this a bit ridiculous – here is a patient who has indulged in something illegal – he has assaulted a number of ambulance and hospital staff (thankfully no-one was seriously injured), he has wasted all our time and broken and essential bit of kit for the running of an ambulance. Because of him there was one less ambulance covering our area that night.

And he's going to get away without losing a penny.

There are a number of illuminating points here:
1. Tom should not have to pay for new glasses. The DSO, it seems, is going to have to have a fight to get this sorted out. Why?
2. Notwithstanding 1 above, it IS right that Tom should go and buy glasses and get his money refunded, rather than someone else go and buy them for him. This way Tom will get the glasses he wants (because he is going to choose them) quicker (because he can go to any shop he chooses and because he won't have to wait for forms to be processed and money released) and cheaper (because there won't be lots of people without access to the relevant information - such as his taste in glasses - in between him and his choice of glasses).
3. Notwithstanding 1 (Tom should not ultimately pay) and 2 (Tom should buy and be refunded) above, the TAXPAYER HAS ABSOLUTELY NO FUCKING RESPONSIBILITY TO PICK UP THE TAB FOR TOM'S GLASSES, WHETHER SOLID GOLD

In these times of asymmetric warfare, Sam Johnson's line that
"Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier"
is perhaps wide of the mark. It is to people like Tom that this sentiment now refers. One cannot fail to be humbled the sense of duty and true public service that blazes from his writing. Imagine how many blankets we could supply if we were not having to pick up the tab that results from the timidity of our criminal justice system.

UPDATE: I meant to update this post with the classic "afterthought-that-strikes-you-immediately-you-press-the-publish-button"-type afterthought. I have been beaten to it by DK. The afterthought is this:

The only reason that it is futile to attempt to extract compensation from this scrote is that he is supported by the welfare state and has no income or assets of his own. Any extraction therefore comes straight out of the taxpayer anyway. The answer: Abolish the welfare state. If this scrote - and indeed all who are supported by the taxpayer - was dependent upon the generosity of his family or others in his immediate community, he would not be able to get away with this sort of behaviour. The welfare state is not - and can never be - consistent with individual responsibility for your actions. It must be abolished. NOW.

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