Several airport staff and members of the public assisted in the violent apprehension of one of the suspects. One in particular was interviewed widely. His name is John Smeaton. Here is a clip from one of his tv interview:
In different news reports he says "What's the score? I've got to get this sorted ... He was throwing punches like a prize fighter. So I ran to help the police and I took a flying kick at him ... this is Glasgow, we’ll set about you."
John is an interviewers dream. A blogger noted: "The big man also put to rights any myths about the Scots having a poor command of the english language. While broadcasting live to millions around the globe he easily fired out such gems as “The man then egressed the vehicle”. Quite spectacular."
Here's another clip of genius from Mr Smeaton: "It was definitely gas they had ... anyone who's ever chucked a gas cannister ontae a bonfire knows what it smells like." And in response to an American tv reporter asking how he restrained the guy: "Me and other folk were just tryin' tae get the boot in and some other guy banjoed him."
The man is pure Glaswegian; tough but fair. Whenever there's advice on the tele saying "The man in this picture is extremely dangerous; the public are advised to avoid all contact with him", people like John probably reply "Naw, ya wee daftie" and go out looking for said criminal.
Almost immediately, a website was launched in his honour. The website itself was featured by the BBC (news will eat itself?), and today so far claims over 180,000 page views and 200 people who have each donated the price of a pint to John. So far seven Facebook groups dedicated to him, the most popular being the John Smeaton Appreciation Society and Terrorist-punching Glaswegian, we salute you!, are rapidly gaining members. He's been hailed on over a hundred blogs, has a fan group on Bebo, been Photoshopped on Flickr, turned into Jedi Smeaton wallpaper, and is all over the news. Though he doesn't yet have a Wikipedia page, but give it time [Update: 8:33pm, a page appears about him].
You can even buy a "Smeato t-shirt" online. And another one here. And see the one pictured above by Cybers. One of the oddities of the net, online shopping and print(ed t-shirts)-on-demand is that whenever there is any kind of major event or incident, it is often possible to go online and purchase related clothing apparel. Time to amend the old phrase to "Wasn't there, seen it on CNN, bought the t-shirt. Online."
Back to the tribute website and some classic lines:
- Nobody gets between 10,000 Weegies and a £99 week in Ibiza booked on Thursday night through Barrhead Travel.
- ... this is how we do things in Raintown. This ain’t London. There’s no stiff English upper lip here, no WAGs. And it sure ain’t Edinburgh - they’d all be hiding in Harvey Nicks and hysterically babbling about their Tuscan villas. There’s no ‘Big J’ in Edinburgh airport, there’s no ‘Smeato’ at Heathrow. Here we take the law into our own hands. And feet.
Some reader comments, from the website and a BBC news blog:
- "London Airports: Little bit of fog? Closed for days. Glasgow Airport: Blown up? Open within 24 hours. Sorted."
- "Giraffes were created when John Smeaton hit a horse with an uppercut"
- "I had to smile at a friends comment: He said it was typical of a Glaswegian to come face to face with an terrorist on fire, and clotheline him to the floor. Nowhere else in the world, only Glasgow."
- "Theres a new saying going round nowadays in Glasgow. It used to be if you were a cheeky bassa or you were to get a good slap you were getting “Doin”. Now folk are saying “You're getting a Smeaton pal”."
Best of all from the website, a library-related quote: "John Smeaton doesn’t read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants." Heh.
Later this summer I'm off to do some work-related travelling, which will involve eight flights and six different airports. Scared off by recent events? Naw. I've travel insurance, and for delays I'll be taking my "Teach yourself Norwegian" book (with the audio lessons saved to my ipod). Best of all, I've got John Smeaton on my side...