The press in the UK has been abuzz recently because Scotland Yard has sent a letter to the Portugese authorities requesting assistance in questioning
three burglary suspects known to have been in the area of Praia da Luz the night Madeleine McCann was announced by her mother as having been
Analysis of phone records from that evening have revealed numerous calls between the three, thought to have been members of a gang of burglars, at the
time of the alleged abduction.
Earlier this month, Sky News reported that a police team were hunting three men whose phones were "red hot" after Madeleine went missing
from her family's Praia da Luz apartment in May 2007.
If you will indulge me for a moment, I would like to present a small vignette which might help one to understand the position of the police in all of
this. They sent a group of four detectives to Portugal to meet with Portugese counterparts in connection with this business of the burglars. The group
of four have now returned to the UK. No arrests have been made.
Years ago when I lived in the savage precincts of an undergraduate residence at an unnamed university far from my present abode and associated with
people who are no longer part of my life and who ceased to be part of my life when I left university so many, many years ago and whom I have not seen
since and have heard no news of in decades, I was present at a "smoker".
I won't go into details about what a "smoker" is except to say that a fillum was shown at this smoker which was the sort of thing one might see on
the National Geographic channel, only more so.
The story was set in South America and depicted the adventures of a chimpanzee and a very attractive South American girl whose clothing happened to be
at the laundry that day.
The girl in the movie, who was a first class example of feminine beauty, smiled and laughed and rolled around on the grass and wiggled various
appealing parts of her anatomy and stretched out toward the chimp in a very enticing way.
The chimp, on the other hand, was the model of gentlemanly decorum. He seemed to be unsure of what was expected of him. He looked around, perhaps at
others off camera, perhaps at his handler, as if looking for some clue from them, some indication of what he should do.
The girl would get his attention and take his hand and bring it up to some part of her, to make contact, but he just let the hand drop when she let go
and kept looking around as if puzzled by the situation. Perhaps he was fearful that members of his own troop of chimpanzees might see the film and he
didn't want to be seen in an embarrassing situation. Perhaps chimpanzees frown upon the sort of scenario that was apparently being staged and perhaps
he himself disapproved of the situation but was too polite to do anything but to be completely passive.
Nothing happened in the movie but the preliminaries, staged by the girl, were charming, to me at least.
Coming back to the present, we are told by Scotland Yard via the press, that the burglars were burning up the mobile airwaves between themselves after
Madeleine was abducted, and to the average person sitting at home, it must have seemed that the police were, at last, hot on the trail of the
kidnappers, because, after all, if I wrote for a British tabloid and had just nicked a toddler, that's the first thing I would do, call all my
friends asking them what I should do now, how I should handle it.
would do the same. Any average nitwit, watching the telly, would think and do the same thing if they were on the way home and
on impulse had nicked a toddler. It's obvious that the first thing to do is call your friends and talk about it. What to do about it? It makes
The police department, however, would look at it differently. A rash of phone calls would never be made immediately after a crime that had been
planned by professionals.
In fact, if a rash of phone calls were made by a group of criminals operating in the neighborhood, immediately after such a crime, it would almost
certainly be regarded by the police as a sign that the criminals in question were innocent of the crime in question and perhaps had been surprised by
the sudden invasion of the area by a heavy police presence and were likely alerting their fellows of that presence and telling them to abandon the
, considering the heavy tax payer expense having already been incurred by Scotland Yard's renewed investigation of the
Madeleine case, going through the motions
would undoubtedly have been expected of the police by their political masters.
The police, like the chimp in the movie, are being perfect gentlemen about the whole thing, but nothing is going to happen.