The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Of responsibility and humanity.

The level of a civilization may be determined by the degree of care people have for each other. By that measure, Great Britain is in severe decline.

Last night, Scotland was hailing three 18 year old students as heroes, for saving the life of a drowning woman. Graham McGrath, Rosie Lucey and Rhys Black spotted a 37 year old woman in the water near the Albert Bridge in Glasgow. She was crying out for help and getting lower and lower in the water. She was obviously drowning. Lifebelts had been thrown towards her, but she was too far from them, to reach them. This lady had mere moments to live.

Luckily, one would have thought, the police had reached the scene. I say "would have thought" for a reason. What do you think the Strathclyde police did when faced with a drowning woman? Have a good think.

Well, they decided to hold back the crowd. Apparently, saving a drowning woman is "not our is for the fire and rescue service to go into the water."

Wonderful. So, what do we have here? A variation on: "That is not my department".

So, the Strathclyde police force think that because jumping into the water to rescue drowning people doesn't fall into their job description, but is the job of "fire and rescue" that they should stand idly by and watch a woman drown? The fire and rescue service had not reached the scene. By the time they did, this woman would be dead. But what did the police force do? Control the crowd (because that IS in their job description).

Fortunately, three students, who didn't have jobs or job descriptions to limit their behavioural choices, decided that, since no-one else was doing anything to help her, that they would save her. Graham McGrath and Rosie Lucey, jumped into the water, swam out to the lady and pulled her back to the bank, as far as they could. Mr. Rhys Black then waded in to help them pull her out.

Now, the formerly drowning lady's lips were blue and her tongue was white. This is not surprising since, according to Mr. Rhys Black, she had been under the water for two minutes. She was in dire need of CPR.

Who do you think stepped forward, at that moment, to save this woman's life? Was it the policemen, all of whom were, no doubt, trained in CPR? No. The students set about performing CPR on the woman. At first they could find no pulse, no sign that she still lived - but they persisted. After a few minutes of CPR, she gurgled and a large amount of water came out of her mouth. She was alive.

The lady was taken to hospital where she is now recovering. Throughout all of this, the policemen took no steps to save her life.

Please reflect on that. Reflect on what it says Britain has become. Somewhere, along the way, it has lost its soul. Once upon a time, the lowest policeman would have done his utmost to save that woman. Indeed, once upon a time, anyone in the land, would have jumped in, to stop her from dying, unaided. Not, several members of the police force and a WHOLE CROWD of onlookers, can stand idly by, curious to see, perhaps, what a drowning person looks like - but NONE of them tried to help - until three young students, perhaps too young to have been indoctrinated by the national indifference, jumped in to save her life.

Once people were guided by their basic humanity, in their conduct with others. They made moral choices, based on moral centres, built up through a life's experience of what is good and right and moral. Now, however, we have "public servants" without any heart or soul at all. They are guided, not by a common inner morality, but by RULES and REGULATIONS and JOB DESCRIPTIONS. They are no longer human. They have become a variety of fleshy automata.

Any policeman who can stand by and watch someone drown just because it is not in his "job description" and is not his "responsibility" therefore, is inhuman. Life is the most precious gift any of us have. To stand by and watch someone lose that...lose EVERYTHING, just because nothing in their job description says they have to save her, is beyond belief. Those policemen have forgotten the most basic ideal of their profession "to serve and protect". To stand by, whilst a lady drowns, neither serves nor protects. It, in fact, shows an indifference to the value of human life, an attitude of cold uncaring for one's fellow humans, that is quite beyond belief.

When I was younger, the news papers were filled with stories of the heroism of police officers, fire officers and other public servants in the course of their duties. Remarkable acts of courage were quite commonplace. Now, we have, in their stead, a regulated indifference to human life - a police force that will first check its rule book, it regulations and its job descriptions, before intervening on the behalf of another human life imperilled. This just cannot be right. Worse, perhaps, than active evil, is passive indifference. At least the evil man acts out of some kind of inner principle, or motive force - all those policemen were acting out of, was a self-justified cowardice. The most likely underlying truth of the situation is that not a one of those policemen wanted to jump into the water, to save her, lest they might endanger themselves. So, what did they do? Checked their rule books for a reason to GET OUT OF DOING SO. Their job description didn't include such tasks - so they wouldn't do it, even though a woman was busily dying whilst they discovered that they didn't have a conscience to argue with.

I don't know why those policemen became policemen. I know this, though: it cannot have been for the reasons that policemen, of the past, used to do so. Policemen of earlier generations, genuinely seemed to have a certain nobility about their role in society: they were there to fight crime, protect and serve the people - and generally do what good they could, to ensure that the nation was safe to live in. Any policeman of earlier generations would, most definitely, have jumped in to save her. Not they would rather not get their clothes wet: after all what does the life of some stranger matter to them?

Technically, it may not have been their "responsibility" in terms of job description and division of labour, to have jumped in to save that woman. Technically, it may, indeed, have been the "responsibility" of the fire and rescue service. However, MORALLY, it WAS their responsibility to save her. It was essentially wrong for them to do nothing to help her, when not doing so would mean her death, when they were, quite clearly, in a position to help: they were standing by the body of water, in which was drowning. Basic humanity, and concern for our fellow human beings, should have guided them to save her. Yet, they had neither responsibility, nor humanity. They did not feel bound either by the rules under which they worked, or any sense of the value of human life. These policemen lack basic humanity.

It concerns me that they felt their job descriptions took precedence over their humanity. No job description should take precedence over humanity. That is the route on which the Nazis trod. They justified their inhumanity, by their job descriptions. So, too, were these policemen. Their indifference to that woman's life, was just as much a crime, as anything Germans managed to do a few generations before. The same thought process is at work: they justified their lack of action to save a life, based on their job descriptions and the division of labour in the emergency services. The value of a life, had no value for them. Only the rules under which they operate had value. There is something profoundly disturbing about that.

No rule should take precedence over human life. No job description should ever lead to inhuman acts. Yet, for the British police, rules do take precedence over life - and they do lead to inhuman acts, or inhuman inaction.

I must say, I don't recognize what Britain has become since I left it, in 1999. The place has been transformed into something I do not know, anymore. I feel the country of my birth has died, since I left it. It is no more. In its place we have something rather disturbing, if you care to look at it, with any perception.

I hope the publicity attached to this near drowning leads to a change in the rules that govern police action and inaction. Those rules cannot be allowed to stand unchanged if they lead, directly, to an indifference to basic humanity and the value of human life.

All Britain has to do, is to remind its public servants, that humanity should take precedence over any rule or regulation that has been, is, or shall be ever invented. Call that Rule No. 1.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 6 and Tiarnan, 4, this month, please go to:

I also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, HELP University College, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, IQ, intelligence and creativity.

My Internet Movie Database listing is at:
Ainan's IMDB listing is at
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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:56 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very appalling indeed. You should send your opinions to the local paper or the police dept.

It'll help save lives. =)

9:34 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes. It couldn't really be more appalling. They might as well have waded in and held her head under water. They would have been just as responsible for her death, had they done so, were it not for those students.

Thanks for your comment.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cops probably didnt want to wet their pretty uniforms.

Utterly shameful.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes. But where they ashamed? It seems not from their spokeperson's comments. Shocking.

11:01 AM  

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