The SnapChat of British paratroopers in Afghanistan using a photo of Jeremy Corbyn as a target for rifle practice (using paint pellets incidentally) has inevitably got some in our increasingly reactionary and humourless society in a right pickle.
Okay, first-off, it was silly, juvenile behaviour and, in times like these when the UK is hardly an international beacon of common sense, it really doesn’t help. And we should also remind ourselves to take a moment and reflect we are but only a few weeks away from the third anniversary of the murder of MP Jo Cox.
But, yet again in this country, the lunatics are out in force. A Glasgow MP, when invited onto a radio station, claimed to be “horrified” at the social media footage.
No mate, “horrified” is 9/11 and 7/7; “horrified” is thousands of lives and homes devastated by a tsunami; “horrified” is children being blown limb-from-limb in Syria. “Horrified” is not a group of guys six months into a stressful situation none of us can begin to comprehend letting off a bit of (admittedly ill-advised) steam.
Of course, the Twitter brigade came out from behind their keyboards to demand the lads be court-martialled.
Speaking to the aforesaid MP, LBC’s Nick Ferrari recalled a time many years ago when, as a cub reporter on a local paper, he went into a fire station to get details of the week’s activity and saw the watch throwing darts at a photo of Margaret Thatcher.
As Ferrari said: “Did that incident make me think these lads would be any less likely to put themselves in danger to get me out of a burning building. No, of course, it didn’t. Don’t be stupid!”
These paratroopers were thoughtless and are no doubt questioning their actions. Which of us in our misspent youth (or older enough to know better) hasn’t said or done something we’ve instantly regretted?
But to even suggest these boys should be court martialled and thrown out of the army is frankly bonkers – and it’s no doubt being fuelled by the basket case element that currently walk amongst us.
The paratroopers should be severely reprimanded and have rights and privileges revoked but, come on, are we seriously going to destroy these lads’ careers?
And, whilst I’m not excusing their foolish behaviour, perhaps we should also take a moment to reflect on where exactly the sympathies of the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition have sat over many decades.