Sunday, 9 January 2011
He along with a couple of other young soldiers attended a football match. When they were looking to get a taxi back to camp, they got involved in an altercation with an Asian man who they thought was a taxi driver,(He was parked at a taxi rank) He started ranting at the three young men about why did they think he was a taxi driver just because his race. They tried to apologise and walked away, to a taxi further down the rank. As they went to get into the taxi, the Asian man had left his car and tried to prevent them getting into the cab. shouting obscenities and obstructing them.One of the young men pushed him away and he hit his head on the ground. Two of the young men panicked and ran.
Conor did not run. But the next he knew he was in handcuffs and in a police car. He was taken to a police station and advised he would be charged with "Racial Assault". Conor is not racist in any way shape or form. He is a decent lad and has close friends of different racial backgrounds. He has his faults as do all of us, but violence and racism do not sit well with Conor. So followed several fraught hours, worrying about this boys future. He could be kicked out of the army, have a criminal record and thrown on the scrapheap. His parents were distraught. Thank God for the power of prayer and the generosity of strangers.
The CCTV at the football ground had recorded the whole incident. From the first contact to the last and Conor was exonerated. The police informed his CO that he had been scared but very polite whilst being questioned. The charge was dropped and he was released to the army. Back at the camp, he faced further questioning, found that the two lads who had bolted from the scene had gone to their CO the following morning and confessed everything. Their careers hang in the balance at the moment. All three of them had been drinking...all under age.
Conor is on punishment this weekend and has been assigned a social worker to help him come to terms with what has happened. His career is safe at the moment, but I think this has been a short, sharp, shock and we are going to see a more mature, responsible young man from now on. Please God.
Underage drinking is a big problem in this country and is usually at the root of most petty crime. I am not stupid enough to believe my grandchildren will not partake. It is seen as part of the initiation into adulthood and egged on by bravado and peer pressure. It scares me, as it scares me the thought that that push to the ground could have proved fatal and those three young men would have been on a murder charge.
Thank you for your prayers and kind thoughts. I am a mother/grandmother who wears her heart on her sleeve. I cannot begin to explain how I have felt this past few days, watching my daughter's pain and fearing the worst for my grandson. But your kindness as help so much, thank you.