As a quick, semi-throwaway comment on twitter, just before I left the office this evening, I asked

Is it only me that is amused by that firearms officer allegedly inserting song titles into his inquest evidence?

Not expecting much back (everyone else on Twitter but me is a spam-bot, right?), I trundled home, only to find a whole bunch of replies (whoo, some actual real people follow me).

Now don't get me wrong, obviously the shooting of a man, whether or not he is waving a shotgun out of his window, and whether or not he's daft enough to point that same shotgun at a police sniper, is serious. Deadly serious. Literally.

But to get all uppity about some clever wordplay in the testimony given by someone in the trial? Really? I'm sure that there will be plenty of people bitching on about the lack of respect, and how the officer isn't taking things seriously, but should we all just stop and take a step back for second? I think we should.

Our species has a fantastic, if sometimes a little disturbing, coping method, known as black humour. There can't be many things worse than having to go to sleep at night, knowing that you pulled the trigger and killed a fellow human being. Even after all the training, and the no-doubt seemingly endless counselling sessions, that policeman has to close his eyes every night and try not to re-live that moment. I can't begin to imagine what that would be like, and I don't think that many of the people criticising the use of some song titles in his evidence could either.

Mind you, I am a massive fan of clever wordplay (see the Two Ronnies - Hardware Store for a great example, and one of my all time favourite sketches), and I believe that some of the cleverest wordplay practitioners are the folks who write headlines for tabloid newspapers, the finest example being when Celtic were rather unexpectedly beaten 3-1 by Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish Cup in February 2000. In a moment which may never be surpassed, a Sun employee came up with the utterly sublime "Super Caley Go Ballistic, Celtic Are Atrocious"

<random tech tip>br /> You know those seriously annoying trailers, adverts, and anti-piracy notices you get at the start of DVDs? And you know how you can't skip them? And you know how annoying it is that you, the paying customer has an un-skippable anti-piracy thing preaching at you, while the folks who downloaded a dodgy copy don't get any of that?

Well, if you use a mac, then help is at hand. Somebody has released a patch to make the OS X DVD player ignore the "do not skip this important preaching/advert" flags. You can find over on google code here.
</random tech tip>