4am on Tuesday. I woke with this blog bottled up in my head so better to get up and free it.
It’s been a busy week. Last week we attended the inquest into Linda’s death in Trowbridge, just outside Bath. As the Coroner reminded me on several occasions, the who, how, when and where of her death and not much else allowed.
I don’t want to go over the same ground yet again; the best reporting of the proceedings was in the Daily Telegraph on 15 February.
As always, the event was reported differently and this diversity is a good thing for free speech and allows for different perspectives. However, The Guardian, which should know better, ran the headline, “Father blames aid worker’s death on ‘soldier’s error’.”
Twisting of words
There is a twisting of words going on here that we feel a need to correct.
What I did say was:
“On the actual night in question, a series of chance events all went the wrong way, one after another after another, and there appears to have been an error of judgement by one soldier in an action which lasted under a minute.
“One tragic aspect of it was that when the grenade was thrown, it would appear that the kidnappers were all dead or dying and the only person who was absolutely killed by the grenade was Linda.”
I don’t blame the soldier who threw the grenade – how can I possibly ‘blame’ someone in that situation from my office desk?
I didn’t and don’t blame the soldier who threw the grenade. He was in an exposed position, in the dark, and two armed Afghans had just been shot after popping up in quick succession from a gully in front of him. Split second decision. Grenades should be the last weapons to choose in a rescue. But how can I possibly ‘blame’ someone in that situation from my office desk? He appeared to make an error of judgement, and nearly killed one of his own troop but, hey, I’ve made errors of judgement and so have you – and probably in much less stressful situations.
Lorna was depressed by the headline – she thought that the people who donated to the Foundation because we refused to blame the American forces would feel betrayed.
Back to Lewis, and that’s the last of the formalities associated with Linda’s death over. This is a big relief for us. It will be good to settle back into our routine on the croft again. Such peace and quiet. It was great to visit friends on a Sunday afternoon and not to see one car during the last 22 miles of the trip.
But there’s always something to break the monotony. Entering the byre on Friday morning, there appeared to be half a rugby ball of red brains projecting from the rear end of one of my two cows. The cow’s vagina had become fed up with the gloomy life of an unsung heroine within the reproductive cycle and had taken an extrovert turn.
Nothing for it but to roll up both sleeves, get involved and push it back in. Not an easy task which the cow didn’t appreciate and we danced all over the place, me half attached to her rear end. I think she was being very ungrateful: I am a Taurus after all.
Shame about the misinterpretation by the Guardian – but I think most readers know that you and Lorna have been steadfast in your refusal to apportion blame.
Your refusal to blame the rescuers is inspiring. It is so rare that you see someone who has suffered a tragic loss avoid the blame game. It encouraged me to support your foundation, hopefully like many others. I am sure that you will use the money wisely, you have shown real integrity which inspires trust.