Edward Woollard did a stupid thing in a moment of madness. That decision has cost him a couple of years of his life. It is a sad day that it came to this but he has no-one to blame but himself and the courts did the right thing.
As I am sure most of you know Edward Woollard is the 18 year-old who dropped a fire extinguisher off the roof of Tory Party HQ during the first set of student protests in November. It was an instinctive thing that in the end resulted in no real damage done. However that was totally by luck and not by judgement. that fire extinguisher hauled towards a crowd of both policemen and women as well as at fellow protesters would have in all likelihood killed whoever it struck below.
I think this sad tale shows us that peaceful protests are all well and good but when it turns violent and ugly lives can be changed. The only way to not put yourself in that situation is to keep a calm head and know your plan. If you want to be safe then protest peacefully. If you are willing to let your adrenaline get to you then you risk troubles down the road. This kid had every right to protest about tuition fee rises but I suspect as he sits in a prison van on his way to a Young Offenders Institute for a couple of years he wishes that he hadn’t been so bone-headed and probably wishes he’d just gone to college that day instead.
This story should be a warning to protestors that when the adrenaline gets flowing you can make bad decisions that can impact on the rest of your lives. Protest but know your plan of action and stick to it. If the mob goes one way then you have to make the decision on whether you want to deviate from your plan and put yourself in a bad position. Protesting isn’t just about getting your point across but doing so in a safe and peaceful way. Not just for others but for yourself.
This kid didn’t and it has cost him big time and it will probably cost others as well. These young people have brains and want to go to university for free but it is sad that a small minority didn’t use said brains when it came to protesting on that front. The actions of his mother were first-rate. This wasn’t throwing a stone at a window this was just dumb luck it wasn’t murder. It must have been the hardest thing she has ever had to do but she did the right thing and whatever happens I hope the kid realises that and doesn’t blame her for what has happened.
Edward Woollard made his bed and now he has to lie in it. For everyone protesting in the future please learn from this. Have a protesting plan and stick to it otherwise you are leaving things more to chance and to the adrenaline – and that isn’t a safe place to be in a mob.
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