At long last, the saga of Raol Moat has finished - he killed himself after being surrounded by armed police and talked to for several hours by a police negotiator.
Let us not downplay the sheer professionalism of the police in dealing with a runaway nut-job like Moat - they could have easily went for a shoot-to-kill (or 'suicide by cop' as its known in the US) policy, but, they did not. There's a huge argument kicking off about routinely arming UK police officers - I dont know where I stand on that. Looking at the Police Inspectors Blog - he makes an extremely strong case for arming. And since his blog is apparently from a serving front line policeman - I have to accept that his opinion counts for a lot.
I also feel extremely bad for the police negotiator - who valiantly tried for hours to talk a complete nut-job round. In order to do that you have to form a bond - and when Moat shot himself, that officer may suffer a form of grief. Its a hard, difficult, draining job and I couldnt pretend for a second I could do it.
However, I may have a few tounge-in-cheek suggestions, should anyone wish to hear..
I've been in many presentations so dull my own soul tried to exit my body. Or meetings. Meetings with lawyers, accountants (though I hasten to add my own particular accountant is somewhat more interesting than most of his colleagues). Specification meetings with customers where its quickly apparent that they have no clue what they want. Talking with hobbyists or other computer folk, whose interests dont perfectly align with mine.
So my suggestion is to develop a scale of boredom. Topics so dull that your average armed nut-job will despair completely and give up and come meekly. My suggested list in ascending order is:
- Object Orientated Lotuscript. Hugely useful, but I've seen people fall asleep as I've been presenting. So it qualifies as an easy starter.
- Arcane Accounting process such as tax liability calculation, double entry bookeeping, year end accounts.
- Petrol heads talking about car specifications. 'Oh but I have twin webers' giving me an extra 3.5 bhp!'
- Train spotters and their fascination with 'GNER 4-6-4's
- Lawyers talking about libel legislation
- Any geek comparing Linux distros. Lovely though they are, I don't have enough life left to compare debian with suse with bsd (Yes, I know BSD isn't linux) with ubuntu...
- Microsoft Sharepoint demos. How hard can file-share-point be? Didnt we do this collaboration stuff 15 years ago?
- A project status scrum, where the scrum-leader doesn't understand it has to be short.
and possibly the dullest thing in the world?
It has got to be: Any IBM sales presentation.
So come on folks - lets put our names forward to the local forces, crank up the powerpoint/keynote slides and get our kevlar wet-weather gear out and save some lives!