Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Think For A Minute: Getting killed in Mallorca

Of course, you never quite know what really happened, but you can imagine. It only takes a minute. Far less in fact. A second? A little more?

When Ross McWhirter was shot by the IRA, a fellow contributor to a university magazine penned an ode to the co-founder of the Guinness Book of Records. "The time of death, an expert doctor reckons, was little more than one and one half seconds ... Remember, you're the record holder for being the quickest dead." He wasn't, because he died later in hospital, but it can be as little as one and a half seconds.

It all happened in seconds in Magalluf. It all happened very quickly, said witnesses. It doesn't take long. It wouldn't have taken long for the cyclist on the road between Inca and Manacor to have collided with a lorry and been killed on Monday morning, as it wouldn't have taken long for the cyclist in Can Picafort last year to have lost his life, or as it wouldn't have taken long for the two Thomson reps to have died when they were knocked down in Puerto Alcúdia a few years ago.

The little floral tributes to the reps will reappear in a few days time, as they reappear each year. They last a few days, longer than the less than a minute that it took. It can take longer, as with Gabriel Marquet who was in a coma for several days after being attacked in Puerto Alcúdia in 2009. It wouldn't have taken long, though, for the blow to have been delivered that was to prove fatal. But bear this in mind, and think for a minute; Marquet was not British, and nor was his attacker, while the background to Marquet's death was the street-drinking botellón.

Think for a minute, or a moment, before acting and hopefully you won't have acted. Assuming you can think and you are not desensitized and insensible through drink. That's where the blame will lie, of course. Groups of lads and the not-so lads on the lash in Maga. What can you expect? There's one thing you would hope not to expect, and that's bleeding to death in a street.

It's bad for the image of Calvia, complains the tourist business association. It's an awful lot worse for the one who is no longer with us, and for his family. Think for a minute before uttering the insensitive. Perhaps like some who put comments to the news stories should think for a minute. Who is the image really bad for? Calvia or Britain? The commentators on the news story in "Ultima Hora" say that the "English tourists who come to Magalluf are the low class of the country", "the English tourism is the most 'unpresentable' that there is in England", "the British in Magalluf are basically those which are unemployed", "the good English of the 70s no longer want to come to Mallorca", "the hoteliers and politicians should reflect on whether these tourists are what we want in the Balearics".

There are probably Britons who think the same and who also rush to let the world know their thoughts, without really knowing or without stopping to think. From one horrific incident, whole conclusions are swiftly drawn in the time it takes for the brain to formulate them. Seconds. And they are sticks or broken bottles with which to beat and stab Magalluf and a sector of British society, whichever that might be, because you don't know. And nor does it really matter. All that does is that someone is dead.

Think for a minute or for less. Think about that cyclist. Had a moment's thought been taken, he might be alive. You don't know for sure, but he might. You're in a hurry of course. You are impatient. There's a cyclist in the way. It takes considerably less than a minute. But why does it matter, if it takes a minute rather than thirty seconds to make that bit of road? Because it doesn't matter. It does matter to a body dead on the road and to you if you are the one who has put the body there. How long does it take? Seconds. Life changes and ends. Bang. Gone.

They've calculated how much longer it will take taxi drivers to make certain journeys because of the reduction in motorway speed. A minute here, and a minute there. What do they matter? They don't.

What do you think when there is a cyclist in the way or a car that is moving too slowly for your liking? He's taking the piss, he's annoying me, angering me, I'll show him. Is that how the thinking goes, with or without the aid of drink? Yes, it is. And without really thinking, it takes only seconds.

One person, left in a pool of blood on a Magalluf street, can no longer think. Another person can and will. For a long time. He will think how life changes and ends. In seconds.

Any comments to andrew@thealcudiaguide.com please.

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