By Charlie Edwards
In short, the answer is yes. These attacks are very rare, and is a complete coincidence that two happened almost concurrently. You cannot foresee these events, you cannot prevent them. It is purely a failure of human nature. What, if anything, should the government do in response?
Derrick Bird embarked on a killing spree on the 2nd June, killing 13 (including himself) and injuring a further 11. It was not pre-empted, it was not motivated by drugs, gangs or alcohol, something triggered a switch in his pysche and he went off. The shooting of innocent people is where these two men’s stories coincide. Moat’s is a far easier one to comprehend and, rightly or wrongly, sympathise with.
Raoul Moat was unhappy with the way social services didn’t take his relationship with his children seriously, and after being told his girlfriend was in a relationship with a police officer, began a grudge with the police force, including killing Chris Brown two days after his release from prison, the man his ex-girlfriend was seeing (Moat thought he was a police officer) and seriously injuring PC David Rathband. He pledged “not to finish until I am dead”. He suffered from ‘Roid Rage’, where your mental state is altered by an addiction to steroids.
He was a danger to society, but such is the nature of the British judicial system and a liberal society, we cannot lock up everyone who simply ‘poses a threat’. We can only imprison those who commit crimes, and the police were aware of Moat’s instability when they released him.
Bird was simply a man who decided one day he was going to shoot his twin brother, and was scared of the resulting outrage. In what he saw as his defence, he shot and killed more innocent people. This is more a chilling insight into the human pysche; what we fear most is not our inadequacies but what can be achieved through our limitless power.
There needs to be symbolic tightening of gun, prison, crime and knife laws as a message to those who see Moat or Bird as visionaries or martyrs. This does not happen every day, as I began this article, and removing our liberties in response to dealing with the threat of two people who are now dead, would be futile.