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IN THE midst of the chaos that has gripped Birmingham over the past two days lies a tale of desperation, of course.

And all people of goodwill will surely feel a degree of sympathy for the man who brought much of the city centre to a standstill by perching on the edge of a bridge for 28 hours.

Yet there is understandably also a great deal of exasperation.

Exasperation from commuters who have struggled to travel because of the long traffic jams.

Exasperation from businesses including shops, restaurants and bars that have seen their trade fall.

And because of that West Midlands Police has serious questions to answer.

Beyond doubt the force's priority must be to end such stand-offs without harm befalling anyone.

But might not its softly-softly approach have prolonged a situation that could have been brought more swiftly to a conclusion, meaning less disruption for everyone and less cash spent on such a massive police operation? Indeed, to the lay person, feeding fast food to this man hardly seems a way to shorten things.

There appear to have been opportunities when he might have been wrestled to the ground earlier and others when he could have been Tasered.

Long-suffering travellers and hard-hit businesses will find it hard to comprehend why these chances were not taken earlier.

IQBAL Chana cannot be accused of acting indecisively when he was stabbed in the chest in his Handsworth shop.

Despite suffering a wound that came close to killing him, the father of two disarmed the man, bundled him to the floor and sat on him until police arrived.

Now Jarnail Singh Kela has been jailed for 22 years - a fitting sentence for such a vicious assault.

Though caution is well advised when anyone is confronted by a weapon-wielding maniac, it is hard not to admire Iqbal's courage.

Well done. sir. Another thug caged.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 1, 2010
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