Monday, 19 July 2010

'R.I.P No.1 Legend.'

The above is not something I would expect to find written on a note accompanying a bunch of flowers left in memory of a man David Cameron called a ‘callous murderer.’ Raoul Moat was headline news over the past few weeks. The ex bouncer was released from prison on 1st July this year, after being sentenced for assaulting a nine year old child. Days later he was being hunted in relation to the shooting of his ex girlfriend and her new partner, who was killed. Moat went on to shoot police officer David Rathband who has been left blinded by the attack. Moat was hunted by armed officers for a week before a six hour police negotiation which ended with him taking his own life.

It is unbelievable that the public are sympathising with such a man, when surely the sympathy is due to his victims. To brand him a legend is perverse. Could they be confusing him with a celebrity? Another person whose past traumas are aired to excuse their actions.

As a society we have an unnecessary need to place blame, it seems to me that we need to accept more responsibility for ourselves. In Moat’s case, the blame is on social services for not recognising and acting upon Moat’s mental disposition, after he sought help from them. The police are also being criticised for their ’blunders’ during the hunt for Moat. It is said they failed to pick up on his danger to the public, after he threatened his ex partner and posted concerning statuses on his facebook page, claiming to have ’lost everything.’

Why is so difficult to accept that Moat was a disturbed individual who reached a fatal breaking point. Moat was fully aware of his instability, evident from his own recordings of conversations with social workers where he claimed he wanted to see a psychiatrist. His break down could not have been predicted, therefore his actions were his own and not the by-product of a failing social system.

Another interesting source of blame is the media itself. Johann Hari from The Independent said; ‘The media needs to show some responsibility. We must stop putting the killers face everywhere and broadcasting his every grievance. Instead, we should report the facts soberly, and lead with the victims.‘ We must remember these events were not part of a television soap opera, the coverage Moat was given as a result of his appalling actions does not make him someone to elevate in our society.

Those with no connection to Moat, who are laying flowers and notes of sympathy for him should seek help themselves.

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