Thursday, 3 June 2010


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.


lilith said...

I wouldn't like be the member of the medical team that turned him away the night before, when he went to the hospital and said he was going nuts...tough also for the friend that took the guns off him and stopped him, at least initially.

call me ishmael said...

I didn't know about that, I just sort of tuned-out from it, after the first onslaught, thanks, Lilith.

Andy said...

"...maybe just a hand of kindness from another human might have disrupted this man's fatal train of thought"

I always think along these lines. You don't just make yourself a horrible Daily Mail cartoon villain, there is always a reason for it. I don't think anyone is born with enough detatchment from society to want to do these things. Was it just over a wee squabble or was it something more long term that a bit of humanity could've nipped in the bud?

One of the people who killed was a part-time mole keeper. I don't really know how to digest that information.

call me ishmael said...

And of course, mr andy, the people whom we are instructed to celebrate, Cowell and Moron and the revolting knobhead, Sugar and the rest generate, as their life's work, detached, easy cruelty and indifference to the feelings of others. And what you see, here, in these ruined quarters, is what you get.

Anonymous said...

(I wonder how many people would have the courage to admit that visions of this kind of extreme revenge against the world-in-general have occasionally flitted, guilty, through their own neural pathways.)

The thing to ban, Mr Ishmael, is not knives, or guns, or sodium chlorate. It is feeling. That way, we will all be safe.

call me ishmael said...

You will have missed, mr squitch, earlier references, here, to the Polynesian-Tits-Painting Frog impressionist, M. Gauguin and his delightfully elegant phrase - Life being what is is, one dreams of Vengeance.

I am sure it is a preoccupation of many, if not, from time to time, most, or all of us. I am sure we will need to tread increasingly carefully.

Agatha said...

The notion of Christian forgiveness, Mr. Ishmael, is not one that goes down well with the masses, nor would it do much for the personal popularity of Christian pundits and the likelihood of being invited back onto the show. It goes something like this: God knows everything and if, even at the very moment of death, the sinner repents, says I believe in God and I am truly sorry for my unbelief and my sins, and really means it, then God will hear it and not condemn the repentent sinner to Hell. Remember the stuff about there is more rejoicing in Heaven over the one lost sheep than over all the sheep that always behaved themselves? Whereas, if someone is struck down in a state of sin, not having had the opportunity of saying sorry, maybe because they were unexpectedly shot, then off to the Outer Darkness with them. This is why Hamlet did not murder his uncle when he found him at his prayers - not because he was ambivalent about wanting the chap dead, but because he feared killing him at that point would send him straight to Heaven. Thus, we would arrive, logically, at the Christian position of Mr. Bird possibly going to Heaven whilst his victims go to the other place. Now that's not a position you'd want to justify, as a well-paid pundit, on national TV or radio. What is Mr.Screwtape's position on this? We've not heard from his P.A., Debbie, in ages.

call me ishmael said...

That's good, the shrieving stuff, but don't, ms agatha, bruit it about in the hearing of skymadeupnewsandfilth, this idea that the crazed have a hotline to Heaven, they'll be mounting a sting against God, Himself. It's wot our readers deserve. We expose Jehovah, not so Almighty now, is He?

The TeeVee coverage is relentless, probably take the start of the World Cup to push it down the madeupnewsandfilth running order. You can almost smell the producers wetting themselves as Barry Moss reduces himself to tears. Again.

A sadder and a wiser man he'll rise, the morrow's morn.

mongoose said...

The same ludicrous proposition, Agatha, as Fr Kemp's all those years ago. The Nepalese babies were doomed even though they had never had a chance of even hearing the Word. Yes, he fiddled some purgatory of limbo to save himself from actually having to commit to babies burning in hell-fire but with one theological slip, he was gone.

The thin end of yesterday's wedge is known to anyone who has ever slammed a door or shouted an angry sentence. We are angry and we are out of control. It is thankfully a rare thing that this can twist a mind so that the next morning a chap gets out of bed and goes postal. Straws and camels' backs perhaps. He does seem though to have settled some scores - brother, lawyer, work colleagues; it wasn't just random. Oddly, I would be inclined to more understanding were it completely random and a gone bonkers mayhem.

The Dunblane thing, Mr Ishmael, gets darker the more one reads around it.

call me ishmael said...

Yes, random would be, I dunno, not better but more easily digested than a pre-mortem hit list.

There is another thing though, at work, not just anger and loss of control. The same media weeping and wailing, now, like a crowd of paid praisesingers, has no qualms about showing, just for instance, The Day Of The Jackal, with its fetishising of armaments, ballistics, assassinations. There are hundreds, thousands of examples of such visual extravagandising of cross-haired headshots, administered coolly by technically accomplished murderers, arriving with their weapons broken-down and then expertly reassembled from their aluminium briefcases. Cool, lethal gunsex.

Someone else will know, mr verge or mrs woar, there is ree-surch into this widely-enjoyed fantasy, particulary in the US, where Kennedy's slo-mo, exploding head is part of the national image-bank.

From James Bond's Q-guns to the infinite variety and number of shiny automatic weapons available in the Matrix, Hollywood has created a firearms vernacular and a series of almost balletic, fetish moves, load and lock, change the clip, drag the .50 cal off its mount and rest it on the forearm; get the little red laser dot over the target's heart or brain. And so on. We could all do it in our sleep. And increasingly we do it in our awake.

mongoose said...

The pinnacle of that being "Equilibrium". This is a shoot-'em-up wherein the violence is almost balletic. The emotionless kill the emotional. The executioners are called "Clerics". Not withstanding the five minute good guy's redemption at the end, I wouldn't want to be the screenwriter's shrink.

call me ishmael said...

Haven't heard of that one. Up here, at the end of the Kingdom, cinema is still seen pretty much as a branch of the church. They show Whisky Galore every six months and the Thirty-Nine Steps quite regularly. We have to await DVD release for other stuff.

Old Holborn said...

a little sense at last

Not every adult is a paedophile, a terrorist or a mass murderer

Big wheel man said...

The number of times i've rolled through a busy high street at the wheel of 40 tons of momentum, and thought that with one alteration of the steering wheel, i could kill dozens.
If i could be sure that they were all sinners, the chance to play God would be very tempting.

call me ishmael said...

Yes, it is a miracle that there is so very little in the way of multiple homicide, opportunities abound, as you say and, God knows, mankind grows less loveable daily.

Verge said...

The Hollywood thing, Mr Ish - vilest example may have been "Rules of Engagement", where a senior officer is on trial for opening fire on a mob of unruly civilian ragheads. In the explanatory/exculpatory denouement/flashback, we see that it really couldn't have been helped; throughout the crowd were insurgents with guns - even the little kid had it coming, if I remember right.

On a slightly different tack, something that happens quite often and always makes me feel a bit sick is the use of genuine archive newsfootage of people violently killed in the course or service of an entertainment. It's a movie, you cunts, make it up. (Maybe, the point is, they always do - scary thought, if that powers that be do metaphysical irony.) And not just the movies; didn't the act that kept (was it?) SuBo off the top of the charts after a "cheeky" internet campaign use the image of a burning Vietnamese monk on the cover of its cd box? Everything is showbiz.

mongoose said...

"Serves them right for bringing their kids to a war", Mr Verge. Honest, as the man says, not make up.