The case for “reasonable force”?

I might come across as all nice and stuff here (right? …. ) but really I’m a bile-filled person who loathes large sections of society.

First up for a verbal thumping are bouncers. You might know them as “doormen”. They are the gentlemen hired by public establishments such as pubs, night clubs, casinos and venues to welcome patrons, ensure that peace is maintained and that all clientele are safe.

However, I find a fair percentage of them to be arseholes.

This is not some new revelation. My parents tell me horror stories from the sixties and seventies of smug, burly, aggressive wind-up merchants who get a kick out of the only legitimate power trip they will ever experience in their lives. It’s okay to be an arsehole if you’re in a passive job like a supermarket check-out or something. But to be an arsehole in a public position of seeming authority is another thing altogether.

Last Saturday my mate Noel (home from the States for a week) was drinking away in a pub in Dublin city centre. Because we have no smoking in pubs he headed out for a puff to the designated smoking area. He was out there, about to light up, when a burly, aggressive doorman (BAD) approached him.

BAD: Put your drink on the table over there before you come out here.
NOEL (looking around the smoking area): But other people are drinking out here?
BAD (sighing deeply and getting louder): Put your drink on the table over there, come out and have your smoke then go back in and get your drink.
NOEL: Fine. I will. But I just would like to know why you are discriminating against me?

Cue BAD grabbing the beer out of Noel’s hand, grabbing him by the arm and throwing him out of the bar.

Noel, being Noel, decided that this arsehole was not going to get away with it and called the police.

Half an hour later two typically useless, unmotivated Garda� turned up to see what the problem was. As Noel explained the story (showing the Garda his now-bruised arm) the man in blue did his best to dissuade Noel from taking it any further even telling him that the doorman had a right to use “reasonable force”.

“Eh, no he doesn’t actually. He has a right to use reasonable force in the case of self-defence but not in this situation. He has no right to lay a hand on me.”

The Garda – clearly one of the many who would prefer to be spending his Saturday night drinking in a Garda-only lock-in – sighed deeply.

VERY BORED GARDA: “You’ll have to go and make a statement tomorrow.”
NOEL: “Fine.”
VERY BORED GARDA: “It will go to court and you’ll have to fly back from the US for the court case.”
NOEL: “No problem. I’d fly back at a day’s notice for this.”

So there you go. Our helpful Garda did his best to ensure there was no paperwork coming his way. Meanwhile the BAD was collaborating his story with another BAD so that he could stitch Noel up. Why? Because some of these guys are fringe members of the criminal classes.

I took pictures of Noel’s arm on Sunday and sure enough, it’s hard to believe that someone can think it’s ok to do this totally unprovoked.
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