Since he was born Tinson1 and I have done many things together.
When he was a baby on Saturday mornings I used to push him in his buggy on a long walk around Greystones and Delgany, stopping to look at horses in fields, and trains going by. When he got a bit older these trips would include a visit to a cafe for a coke. When he was twelve I took him to a Man U game at Old Trafford, and this became an annual thing for a few years.
Last year in France he and I were sent into the village to post cards one afternoon and, since the legal drinking age is 16 over there, we spent a lovely hour chatting and sipping beer outside a bar (Mrs Tin does not know that, Jo).
One thing I have never done with him, though, is bring him with me as part of a gang while we went hunting for rival football fans to beat to death.
Because that is one of the many, many awful things about the death of Kevin McDaid in Coleraine last Sunday. He was beaten to death by Rangers fans out looking for Celtic fans after the last day of the soccer season (after Rangers, by the way, had won the league). Nine men were charged in connection with the murder on Friday, and two of them were a 47 year-old man and his 18 year-old son.
Of course, they have just been charged, not convicted, so I have to regard them as innocent. So I will do so.
Because the alternative would be that a man around my age would happily bring a son about Tinson1’s age out to commit criminal acts with him. It would mean that he would stand proudly by (the father’s been charged with affray, the son with murder) while his son kicked a man to death, and while the wife of this man was beaten too when she tried to stop it.
It would mean that he didn’t stop to consider that, if it all went as horribly wrong as it has, his son’s life as a free man would be over almost before it had started.
It would mean that he committed his own unique form of child abuse, in that he imposed his own bigoted, violent values upon his son, and in doing do ruined his life.
And surely no father would ever do that.