There was a bit of a kerfuffle in London Town on Saturday, with people demonstrating that it was a Good Thing to take pictures but a Bad Thing to go round blowing stuff up.
Good men, such as Old Holborn. Making a point. Peacefully.
The powers-that-be seem to have a problem with terrorism lately; seems that the alert as been raised to "severe" - that's "highly likely", and the level below the highest level, "critical". The Critical level means "imminent", and I believe that the last time that one was called was just after someone blew something up. Post-horse-bolted stable-door-closing exercise.
I have a camera. It's quite a good one, for me. It isn't an SLR or anything, but it has quite a few of those pixel thingies and takes a good shot if you point it at the right thing in the right light and hold it quite still and press the knob. I'm not very good at photography, but I like having a camera in case something noteworthy happens, or my kids balance spoons on their noses, or something. But I'm not a photographer.
I have taken pictures of Plod all over the place. They normally don't mind. I have even taken pictures of New Scotland Yard - in fact, I've been in it. I've taken pictures of Portcullis House - in fact I've been in it. Same goes for The Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle - I've probably got more pictures of London than Getty Images or the last planeload of Japanese visitors.
Perhaps I just don't look like a terrorist. I hope not. I'd be a rubbish one.
We've had terrorists for ages. The earliest ones I remember were in the 70's, when they blew up a couple of pubs in Guildford. They were IRA ones then (the terrorists, not the pubs). Allegedly (you have to say that).
I believe that Mr Government talked to the IRA, under duress, and they probably sort of understood what the gripe was. Something to do with some Irish chaps being Protestant and others being Catholic. That sort of equates to some of them wanting to be part of the UK, and some of them not. At the end of the day, some of them got antsy about it and then got together with some like-minded chaps, mostly called McSomething, then got all carried away and started chucking Semtex about. Mr Government didn't think that they'd get this cross, but they did.
Then, more recently, some chaps got the hump about something in the USA and chucked a couple of airliners at a couple of buildings. Not at all funny, that. On a much larger scale but in essence no different. The chaps who did the chucking, in this case, were called Muslims. Muslims are not terrorists, but they often disagree with Christians, in the same way as Catholics disagree with Protestants and vice-versa. Men disagree with women on the same sort of scale, and socialists disagree with Tories. It will never change.
Terrorists are a strange breed of people. It scares me that I understand why they do what they do. It scares me a heck of a lot more that Mr Government doesn't.
There is a thing called Islam, which has Muslims. I am not an expert on it, not am I an expert on Christianity (which has Christians). There are, today, a few people running round Nigeria chucking stuff at each other, because some are Muslims and some Christians. It's happened since about 2000 years ago (and probably more), one way or another. Jews, Christians, Muslims, and even factions of these such as Protestant, Catholic, Sunni, Sheite (they're probably misspelt - that's how much I know).
I'll tell you what I think I know, though. And it seems blindingly obvious to me. These things, called religions, have tenets. Basic concepts. Mainly, they have the same ones. But then some have different ones, or different interpretations of them, and then you get trouble.
One tenet of Islam is the prohibition of usury. The old testament of the Bible (which is seen by Christians as the word of God) also gives usury a good dressing-down. The Romans used to love it, but look what happened to them.
The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (sic) in the USA were icons of usury. I have a suspicion, more than a strong one, that the chaps who chucked the airliners at them saw them as the devil with the horns on.
It can't be condoned. No act of severe violence against a person can (although there are one or two people I'd dearly love to slap).
Usury is the act of using money in order to make more money. Specifically, it is the charging of a very high rate of interest, or even an illegal rate, on money lent. I can see why it would be up there in the list of sins in a civilised religion. Jesus (the one Christians follow) did this thing in a synagogue where he saw red and tipped over the money-changer's tables. Muhammed (the one Muslims follow, PBUH) said in his Farewell Pilgrimage to Medina "Allah forbids you to take usury ...".
I disagree with usury. The whole poxy world is powered by usury. I have nothing against money, it's not a bad attempt at making things common so you don't have to argue how many goats there are to a chicken, and how long you have to dig someone's veg patch to work off the fixing of a tap washer. And there's nothing wrong with someone borrowing some money off you, or vice-versa, and getting a couple of pints as a thank-you, or paying you back what you borrowed plus some sensible interest.
But what there bloody well is something wrong with, seriously wrong, is getting some money and making some more with it, so you can make even more with it, and more, and more.
There is one proper way to make some money, and that is to do some honest work. Do something somebody wants, and they give you some of that money, and you spend it on something made by other men. And fine, save some, so you've got some later, when you need it.
Today, as another bank announces that it's limiting some of its people's bonuses to only ONE MILLION FUCKING POUNDS, remember that.
Think about it. And, as usual, please argue. I especially welcome comments from Islam.