Saturday, July 07, 2007

Fast Track Justice

The justice system in Spain receives frequent criticism for its slowness and misplaced priorities, but at least in one case residents of Madrid can sleep easily in their beds safe in the knowledge that a threat to their way of life is being dealt with. I wrote a few months ago about the decision to convert a piece of public land in the centre of Madrid into a golf practice centre instead of the public park that had been promised. This brave decision to raise the sporting prowess of Madrileños, many of whom can’t tell one end of a golf club from the other, was criticised by the ungrateful local residents who insisted that a park was what they should be getting. Unfortunately, some of the more radical elements of this opposition decided to take things into their own hands. Armed with a variety of weapons (including picks and shovels), these - let’s not mince words here - urban terrorists decided to plant a tree replacing one that work on the site had removed. Fortunately, that is where the justice system has intervened and the 5 residents responsible for this act of wilful vandalism have been taken to court, thanks to the vigilance of a security guard. This same guard risked his life in an attempt to preserve the integrity of the driving range, because we all know that picks and shovels can be used for other things than just planting trees! I can’t find anything to confirm the rumour that the charge was one of “planting a tree with intent to improve a public space”, but let’s hope that the authorities crack down on this problem before it gets out of hand.

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