"I grew up in a well-off middle class neighborhood, a mix of Protestant and Catholic kids. The first time I realized I was 'inferior' is when a Protestant friend told me, 'My mother said you're a Roman Catholic, and that means you're gonna burn in hellfire forever.' And I asked my mom why we were going to burn in hell. I was only 5 or 6, but I already knew we were second-class citizens in our own country."
The British soldiers were welcomed at first, because when you've got armed gangs of religious fanatics throwing bombs at each other on the street, uniformed soldiers throwing significantly fewer explosives in crowded public areas seems like it might be a step up.
Boui de Torout / AFP / Getty
The thing people forget about police states is that they're mildly preferable to regular shrapnelings.
"We went down to the barricades, made them sandwiches and pots of tea, and ran for cigarettes. There was a fantastic welcome initially. But within a few months they came under the orders of the unionist government and barricaded Catholic neighborhoods, took names and addresses, asking us where we were going. We'd go through 16 times a day, saying our names were Mickey Mouse or whatever. There was great contempt, and it eventually escalated to stone throwing and the like."
You've got to admire the self-confidence that allows someone to see armored cars in the distance and go "Screw it, rock."
Shane was 14 when the first British soldiers occupied his neighborhood. At that age, we were playing GoldenEye and sad games of Spin the Bottle (alone, with a picture of Tiffani Amber Thiessen) for fun. Shane was throwing rocks at soldiers with machine guns and body armor. All good times.
And then the shooting started.