Friday, February 12, 2010

On Monday, P.C. Plod had tea with his friend, Harry Callahan.

"Burglar Bill is a very bad man," says Harry.

"He certainly is a very bad man indeed," says P.C. Plod.

"I think the best thing would be if he were killed," says Harry.

"I think killing Burglar Bill would be a very good thing indeed," says P.C Plod.

On Tuesday, P.C Plod is out on patrol.

Who should he see but Burglar Bill!

P.C. Plod calls up Sgt Goldsmith on his walkie talkie, because this was in the olden days before there were mobile phones.

"I've seen Burglar Bill!" says P.C Plod.

"He's a bad man," says Sgt Goldsmith.

"A very, very bad man," says P.C. Plod

"A very bad man indeed," says Sgt. Goldsmith.

"Can I kill him, huh, huh, huh, can I kill him, can I?" says P.C. Plod.

"Certainly not," says Sgt Goldsmith "We haven't had the death penalty in Toytown for years and years and years, and even if we did, you couldn't just shoot him, you'd have to arrest him and fill out all the necessary paper work."

"Wait a minute," says P.C Plod "If Burglar Bill had a gun, would it be legal for me to kill him?"

"Well," says Sgt Goldsmith "If he had a gun and if he was threatening you or the citizens of Toytown, then it might be legal for you to kill him."

"What an astonishing coincidence," says P.C Plod "I've just noticed that Burglar Bill has a gun, and is going to shoot me and several of the citizens of Toytown, unless I act very quickly."

Bang, bang, bang, goes P.C. Plod's gun.

On Wednesday, the Mayor of Toytown sends for P.C. Plod.

"I hear that you killed poor William Burglar," says the Mayor. "This is very bad, and you will have to sit on the naughty step till tea time."

"But I only killed him in self-defence!" says P.C Plod "He had a gun, and was threatening the people of Toytown."

"Oh, that's all right then," says Mr Mayor.

On Thursday, Doctor Bob knocks on Mr. Mayor's door.

"After P.C. Plod shot Burglar Bill, a concerned citizen called for me, and I came jolly quickly on my bicycle with my little black bag to try to patch him up with vinegar and brown paper. And guess what?"

"What?" says the Mayor.

"Burglar Bill didn't have a gun at all!"

"Oh dear," says the Mayor.

So he calls back P.C.Plod and tells him that he did kill Burglar Bill and would have to sit on the naughty step until tea time after all.

"I have already told you" says P.C Plod "That I killed him in self defence, because he had a gun."

"But he didn't have a gun," says the Mayor.

"I know he didn't have a gun," says P.C Plod "Who on earth said he did have a gun? But I thought he had a gun, and so did everyone else and so would you have done if you had been there. It turned out that the thing he was waving at the citizens of Toytown was a table leg and not a gun at all. But if it had been a gun, he would have shot me, so you can't blame me for making such a Terrible Mistake."

"That's fair enough," says the Mayor.

But on Friday, several of the citizens of Toytown go and knock on the Mayor's door.

"Mr Your Worship The Mayor" say the Citizens, who know the proper way of talking to a Mayor, "We were there when P.C. Plod killed Burglar Bill, and we can tell you that Burglar Bill didn't have a gun, or even a chair leg, and he certainly wasn't threatening to shoot anyone. In fact, before P.C Plod's gun went bang bang bang, we both shouted 'Oh P.C Plod, please do not shoot Burglar Bill, for he is unarmed!' "

"Oh dear," says the Mayor, who is beginning to think that he is trapped in an extended metaphor, and sends for P.C Plod again.

"You killed Burglar Bill, go and sit on the naughty step," says the Mayor.

"We have been through this before," says P.C Plod. "I have admitted that I made a terrible mistake in shooting an unarmed burglar, but it was an honest mistake because I thought that he had a gun, and burglars sometimes do have guns so it is better to be safe than sorry."

"But you didn't think he had a gun," says the Mayor. "At least, the several of the citizens of Toytown say that he was unarmed at the time. So there is no way that you can say that it was a self defence."

"Who ever mentioned self-defence?" says P.C Plod. "Why on earth do you keep going on about self-defence, and bringing guns into it? Burglar Bill was a very bad man, so even if I had known that he didn't have a gun, which I didn't, I would still have shot him, because Toytown is much safer without him and you should be very pleased that he is dead."

"Whether I am pleased or not has nothing to do with it!" says the Mayor, crossly. "You asked Sgt Goldsmith for permission to kill him, and he told you quite clearly that if he didn't have a gun it would be illegal to kill him however bad a man he was."

"I realise that we are never going to agree on this," says P.C Plod "And I, you know, totally respect your right to hold a, you know, different point of view, but I formed the view that Toytown would be better off without Burglar Bill, so I took the decision to remove him because I really, honestly, sincerely, in my heart of hearts, believed that it was the right thing to do."

"Oh, well, that's all right then," says the Mayor.

On Saturday, P.C Plod knocks on the Mayor's door.

"You know what I said yesterday, about how it was right for me to kill Burglar Bill because I sincerely believed that killing Burglar Bill was the right thing to do?"

"Yes," says the Mayor, whose head was spinning a bit by this time.

"Well, I think that I may have chosen my words badly. What I think I meant to say was that I really, genuinely, and sincerely believed that it would have been right to kill him if he had had a gun, but that, since bad men do sometimes have guns and since you can't ever be sure which ones do and which ones don't  the best way to make sure that he didn't have gun was to kill him, so killing him because he had a gun and killing him because he was a bad man are really the same thing, and it was self defence even if I knew he didn't have a gun, which I didn't, because he might have got a gun afterwards."

"I'm glad we've got that sorted out," says the Mayor.

On Sunday, P.C Plod has tea with his friend Harry Callahan.

"Burglar Joe is a very bad man," says Harry.  

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