I don't understand how a taxi-driver can own a rifle like that, said Barry Moss, a local resident. An odd remark but probably only to be expected, Mr Ross had just witnessed the sudden death by shooting of a young woman. Anyone, absolutely anyone, can acquire almost any sort of firearm; why shouldn't a taxi-driver have a rifle or a shotgun, what is so strange about taxi drivers ?
There's not usually any crime here, we wonder lonely as clouds in our tight-knit community, so it makes it worse. They all said that, that community stuff. Not quite tight-knit enough to protect Mr Bird from himself, or the community from him. Twelve dead, though, it'd be a quiet day in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Oh, lotsa places. Like Ulster, or Northern Ireland, in its glory days, the Deputy First Minister of which province, Mr Marty Kneecaps McGuinness, will probably have the front to extend his condolences to the folks in Cumbria, his chum, Mr Gerry Adams, his prayers.
We must see what we can make illegal. Automatic weapons and handguns were made illegal after the Strange, Peculiar and Covered-up Dunblane Massacre but the late Mr Derek Bird, the assailant in yesterday's shocking events, was clearly a born lawbreaker, took him fifty years to become one, mind, but deep down, he was a loner, nothing would have stopped him, you could see it in his eyes, he was probably a paedophile, too, can't we find someone and pay them to say that he was; in order to catch-out people like him, we better just ban everything. Anytime anybody kills someone with something we'll ban it, whatever it is; breadknives, washing lines, hammers, definitely hammers, just a murder looking for a skull, is a hammer.
When these awful things happen, say, when a nonce case is driven off to spend the rest of his days being hissed-at, scalded and stabbed in Wakefield Prison, I can't help but wonder, Which is the worst role to be in, here, is it the mother of the victim or the mother of the perp? The position of parent, in both cases, has brought tragedy; for the one, infinite public sympathy must, albeit slightly, cushion the blow but for the other there is no pity, just revulsion. Never seems fair, that; selective compassion's not really compassion at all, is it?
The difference, today, between Mr Bird and those he killed and wounded, is that they never hurt so badly that they wanted to and decided to commit acts so wantonly destructive that they would afterwards have no option but to kill themselves. Now, that's what you call a vale of tears.
When the two wee girls, Jessica and Holly were done to death by Ian Huntley, I was struck by what a ghastly man was the Vicar of Soham, his job, his mission statement, the essence of the Christianity whose uniform he wears, whose stipend maintains him, is forgiveness, turn the other cheek, the greatest commandment is Love thy neighbour as thyself. Never once, throughout that whole nightmare business, did he have a word of Christian compassion for the perpetrator, not one word, never once; never mentioned Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin. Oh, full of sociological Radio Four claptrap, he was, but of Christianity there was ne'er a word."Draw a line under one phase of our grieving and begin to look forward." He was full of it, semonising, was Tim Alban Wotsit, gave him an MBE for it, PR-man for the soundbites of grief but not a shred of Christianity. Here, in Ishmaelia, the Vicar of Soham, Tim, is a by-word for hypocrisy.
It'll be the same approach to the late Mr Bird, who has already generated hundreds of hours of cliche-mongering. One moment a respected member of the community, the next a monster, how does that happen? Do we really judge an entire life by its very worst moment? There will be a national outbreak of Kelvin McKenzie-ism, stringing-up's too good for them; dunderhead criminologists like David Mr Showbiz Wilson, former Cantabrian, high-flying prison governor, is feasting on it, already. Deputy Chief Constable Gob is reporting his force's actions in that dire, notebook-speak which he imagines dignifies his clod-hopping stupidity, we found them to be deceased on our arrival - they were dead when we got there, prat. There's a GP, speaking the Primary Care Trust equivalent of CopSpeak, rendering assistance to colleagues, and every deadbeat, fuckwit radio and TV presenter is having a ball as they roll around, in the shit, with the experts, with which, praise God, the nation is handsomely blessed.
Public enquiries will follow and lessons will be learned; officialdom will puff itself up, like some half-dead cobra, counsel and coroner will thank each other for their magnificent professionalism and that'll be that, Job Done. But who knows, soft words turneth away wrath, maybe just a hand of kindness from another human might have disrupted this man's fatal train of thought, it's not as though he was a serial, violent offender, just somebody swamped by his emotions. By all accounts he was not a noticeably bad person. But he is now. C'est la vie, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell.