Yes, the Mary Dejevsky who couldn’t wait to find out the identity of her latest sob-story stars before rushing to print. And yes, the Mary Dejevsky who thought that the design of Tube stations might be to blame for gang massacres.
Oh, this’ll be fun….
In those bygone days when Raoul Moat's peculiarly dissonant name first landed in the national consciousness, it belonged to a just-released felon wanted for a double-shooting – a serious baddie by any definition. When this same Moat shot a policeman on duty at a roundabout, he was dispatched straight to that special hall of infamy that the British reserve for those who kill or maim police officers. And there he remained until... Well, it is hard to fix exactly when the mood changed.Did it, Mary? Are the people now lauding Moat the same people who were urging the police to catch him, then?
I don’t think so, somehow…
Unless you mean ‘media people’. The mood changed for them when they realised they wouldn’t get many more column inches out of a dead Moat unless they changed the focus…
For me, it was about four days into the police pursuit: after they had brought in the 4x4s from Northern Ireland, started consulting survival specialists and arrested several people for assisting him.Should they not have arrested people thought to be aiding an offender?
At that point, Moat passed almost imperceptibly from one most-wanted category to another; from that of hardened criminal to be shot on sight to that of victim and renegade – a delightful word heard all too rarely today.Yes, you never hear it applied to people like Joe Jackson, do you?
He was ugly, a steroid-user, and, yes, a killer. But deep down, I was rooting for him.I think that says a lot about Mary, frankly, and very little about anyone else.
Two mornings running, I awoke, fully expecting him to have been caught overnight, only to learn rather too cheerfully that he was still on the run. When he died under the arc lights, in circumstances that still have to be elucidated, it was hard not to share a little of his brother's fury against this "public execution".It wasn’t hard. I didn’t share it.
He was no random killer – not at the outset, anyway – but a man with profound personal grudges bent on vengeance.Well, yes, they all are, Mary. They all have ‘reasons’ for doing what they do.
And there’s no doubt whatsoever that Moat had a horrible childhood. But so do many others who somehow do not end their days with a sawn-off shotgun pointed at their head by their own hand…
Take the police. There is a shared sense of outrage when officers are killed or injured doing their duty. But you do not have to belong to a criminal underworld to harbour misgivings about aspects of modern policing, such as the lack (until very recently) of officers visibly on the beat, the way whole estates are felt to have been abandoned to gangs, and overzealous policing of public protests. How many householders have not vented frustration at the way burglary is tossed off as trivial by boneheaded officers too idle to do anything.Lots, I’d imagine. And it’s been quite a feature of this blog.
Yet somehow, I fail to be moved by a fugitive killer’s death as a result. Go figure.
Fairness is an overused word these days, but most Britons have a highly developed sense of what it means and, in this case, the feeling grew that the police operation lacked proportion.Yup, agreed. It was a giant farce for most of the time, and showcased, in Sue Sim, the kind of useless ‘top cop’ we know we now have in charge in most forces. Sorry, ‘services’.
And yet, I still can’t find it in me to summon up any sympathy for Moat. It’s not ‘fairness’ to do so, Mary.
This is in part because people like an outlaw; it is not only in Britain that fugitives from justice have an honoured place in popular lore. But it is also because, to judge by their comments, there are many who genuinely feel that the odds, in the way society is organised today, are stacked against them, as – they sense – they were stacked against Moat.You mean, even paranoids have enemies?
Well, yes. That’s what happens when you shoot people!
Social media, such as Facebook, have, perhaps for the first time, given such sentiments a voice. Mr Cameron and his ministers may, for propriety's sake, condemn them, but they would be wasting an opportunity if they did not read at least a sample of the tributes – and take note.They certainly would. They would be wasting an opportunity to see what 13 years of NuLabour rule (and the long march of the progressives through our institutions before that) hath wrought…