Yesterday I clicked on a link to the video on You Tube about somebody’s tram ride here in modern day Britain. A piece of mobile footage of a woman allegedly exercising her right to free speech on a busy tram.
Later on in the day news went round Twitter to say that she had been identified and then later on that she had been arrested by BTP. And then, after Twitter had claimed responsibility for tracking down the woman and having her arrested next the expressions of horror that she had been arrested. C’mon Twitter really? What did we all expect was going to happen?
For each of us that clicked on or forwarded the link we took another step to publishing this woman’s identity. I’m actually pleased that BTP have been able to take steps and I sincerely hope that they will be positively done.
When I watched the video I had an initial red burn of anger about her ignorance and her prejudice. How dare she speak on behalf of Britain? In fact I tweeted something stupid in response as a knee-jerk reaction. But then I watched the video again ignoring what she was actually saying and watched what was going on around her.
I’m not a mental health/drugs specialist but something was not ‘normal’ about her. Her constant lip licking, her vacant staring and slurring of words or perhaps just the fact that she would even start a ‘discussion’ like that where she did. What she was saying was more than just ignorance and prejudice.
The child passively sat on her lap entirely unresponsive to the fact that (lets assume) his mother is screeching at a group of people. The picture is not brilliant but he looked fairly well cared for but his calm in the middle of the storm suggests to me that this behaviour is something that he is very much used to.
And then there is the crowd. In the background, half way through the video, a man drops a bag to the floor and his stance becomes aggressive, confrontational. His buttons are being pressed in the same way that mine were when I first watched the video. He starts to move towards her, squaring up but then he backs off. Maybe on realising she has a child on her lap or maybe because he sees that its all being filmed. Maybe he just thinks twice. As the mobile footage scans around the tram peoples faces are a mix of anger, amazement and resignation.
Finally, a woman responds to her and adds to the level of hate and violent language. Her concern about the woman’s words based not on what she was saying but how she was saying it she was “waking her baby” nothing she did or said improved the situation it just escalated it.
So, to get back to her ‘arrest’ (if that is indeed what happened) lets hope that somebody gets to make an assessment of that woman’s mental health and somebody takes an interest in the welfare of the child. I hope he is as well looked after as he looks because, putting aside any mental health or drug issues, he’s going to have to struggle to rise above those maternal values of intolerance, prejudice and hate.
And I leave you with some thoughts: what if the incident hadn’t been filmed? If the baby hadn’t been sat on her lap? If the guy hadn’t backed down for whatever reason? Maybe the worst thing would have been that she was ‘helped’ off the tram at the next stop. Maybe not.