Monday, 19 November 2012

Wanted: fresh air and exercise

By the time I realised what was causing the problem yesterday evening, it was really too late to rectify the situation.  I should have realised much earlier what was going to happen; after all, it is a common occurrence when we are in France - or it was common until I twigged onto the fact that if I forgo my daily walk in the fresh air, I get very twitchy and restless later in the day - which is both a problem and a challenge but most decidedly not a new opportunity!  And yesterday I didn't walk the dog either in the morning or the afternoon.  Things will be better today!

While not walking the dog I read the paper and was especially interested in the background to the case of one Sergeant Danny Nightingale.  In a nutshell, the story goes like this.  Sergeant Nightingale has served in the army for 17 years, the last 11 in the Special Air Service.  While his unit was in Iraq he was presented with a memento by the Iraquis in recognition of his special service to them.  It was a hand gun, which Sergeant Nightingale intended to have decommissioned and presented to the sergeants' mess at Hereford, the SAS headquarters.  When two of his colleagues were killed in a helicopter crash, Sgt Nightingale volunteered to return to the UK with the bodies to help the families of the dead men.  Meanwhile, his colleagues packed his kit, which was placed in a locked box and sent to Hereford.  Later, the box - still locked - was transferred to an army married quarter where Sgt Nightingale was staying temporarily with another SAS man and his wife.

In the fullness of time, Sgt Nightingale took part in an extreme sporting event when he suffered an accident which caused brain damage.  As a result, his memory became very patchy and he completely forgot the handgun locked in the box.

It was only when his colleague's wife complained of domestic violence and that her husband had ammunition in the house that the local police broke open the box and found the gun.  They were satisfied with the explanation and decided that no further action was needed on their part.

The army, however, had other ideas and Sgt Nightingale was court martialled.  When warned by the judge that if he pleaded not guilty and was found guilty, he would be sentenced to five years, he pleaded guilty, expecting little more than a slap on the wrist when the mitigating circumstances were explained to the court.  Instead, he is now serving 18 months in an army jail, after which he will be dishonourably discharged.  Meanwhile, he receives no pay.  His wife's income is insufficient to pay the rent as well as maintaining herself and the twoyoung daughters so she is likely to be evicted.

Seems to me that justice should be served with a fair-sized helping of common sense, which hasn't been the case here.

Read the full story here.


Our autumn hues don't cover such a wide spread as those in New England.  Instead, individual trees provide small splashes of colour.  Yesterday we saw a yellow acer, today's is... orange?  red?

1 comment:

Buck said...

One hopes a large public outcry might affect Sgt. Nightingale's case. I'm not all THAT hopeful, however, as the military... no matter in what country... is remarkably hidebound and inflexible.

What a terrible miscarriage of justice.