The issue of teenagers snorting butane, paint thinners, petrol, Tipp-Ex and EvoStik suddenly popped on to the local headlines following the recent tragic death of Anton Tahmasian. Since then, barely a day goes by without a related story appearing somewhere. The Xpress article suggests that solvent abuse is so widespread that business savvy teens are charging admission to parties in posh Jumeirah villas where less savvy teenagers abuse themselves into stupor on a lethal mix of vodka and butane. And here was I, believing that drink-driving was the traditional way of lethally combining hydrocarbons with alcohol.
In other news, another recent storyline involving teenagers and flammable substances concerned an explosion in a Mirdif villa that seriously burned four teenagers. Civil Defence (the Fire Brigade) is on record that investigations into the Mirdif blast are ongoing. The official line is that someone lit the oven, igniting a gas leak.
Interestingly, Xpress does not seem to believe this version of events. Last week’s issue included photographs that show no damage to the kitchen, cooking gas bottles outside remain untouched and almost full, yet the cellar looks like a bomb’s hit it. Big surprise, that. Methane leaking into the cellar from a broken septic tank in sufficient quantities to explode, yet no-one noticed the repugnant miasma of sewer gas? Another big surprise. Perhaps these noxious and highly flammable fumes were ignited by sparks from unicorns’ hooves. This appears about as likely as the rest of the hypothesis.
It was only a matter of time before someone connected the two stories. From Xpress:
- “I strongly believe that butane is the common thread that sews together the death of Anton, the four Mirdif teenage girls (whose faces were disfigured in a mysterious gas explosion inside a villa basement) and the poolside party gone wrong at our villa,” said the [anonymous] parent, who called on authorities “to do something before it’s too late”.
A police source added weight to the parent’s statement stating there were indications that butane may have been one of the reasons behind the Mirdif blast.
Incidentally, what does the parent expect the authorities to do “...before it’s too late”? Incidences of death and near-death indicate to me that “too late” is already upon us. Controlling one’s own offspring is apparently not an option. Neither, apparently, is Taking Responsibility For One’s Own Actions. It suddenly all becomes the government’s responsibility to deal with the problem. But how? Inhaling camping gas is clearly idiotically foolish, but is it actually illegal?
I anticipate the usual knee-jerk reaction: a ban. Extending this “Ban It” philosophy to its logical consequence, I shall particularly resent no longer being able to cook with gas while I’m camping, simply because some yoof believes that butane is for inhaling. No more cooking at home either, once all the guys in little red pickups are deported for purveying their Death in a Bottle.