Tuesday, July 13, 2010

PC David Rathband - the forgotten star of the Moat affair.

I wake from a very lucid and well organised dream of meeting a group of people, all of whom had adjusted well to the loss of the sight of one eye. It stemmed from hearing the words of PC David Rathband, the policeman shot by Raoul Moat. He was amazingly philosophical about his injury, which will probably leave him blind. The hysterical saturation news of the Moat affair has neglected David Rathband, as it has neglected Chris Brown, the man he murdered. The media presentation must bear part of the blame for the perverse sympathy for Moat that is emerging. Rather than seriously reflecting on the way they cover killers (here is a brilliant Charlie Brooker vid of a forensic psychiatrist arguing convincingly that they should not be rewarded with national fame),  the durr-media are now turning their smear-guns on the police. The police are prone to serious errors, but I personally do not feel that Moat is up there with Tomlinson or the Green Gathering.

Yes, the police did make errors. They did not take the warnings from the prison seriously, and they could perhaps have made better use of Moat's uncle and brother, and Tazering someone with his finger on the trigger is not really a very bright idea. We should excuse them from failing to make instant use of Gazza, who by all accounts was pissed as the proverbial fart. On the other hand, if Gazza really knew him, or if Moat venerated Gazza, they could have sobered him up and brought him into play next day.

The failure to use non-professionals is a standard weakness of professions. Same goes for my profession. We like to keep things standard and tidy. Amateurs are a bit of an unknown quantity. Even so, lessons should be learned. 

What we have to learn is that the world is not able to be neatly categorised into good and bad people. We are all complex mixtures of useful and non-useful behaviour patterns. The police service, like the medical and journalistic professions,   is not good or bad; it is a mixture of both.  The difference is that medicine and the police look at what they do after a significant event; journalism seems to consider itself above such introspection.

Above and beyond the professions stand the persons. Moat was a murderer who should be forgotten. PC David Rathband is a star, who should be remembered.

PS I am not alone in finding the media coverage at fault.


minthe said...

Don't be so quick to judge sympathy for Moat to be "perverse".

Now I don't know any more about this than you do, but it's more than likely that this man had severe drug dependency / mental health issues of the kind that are only exacerbated in our modern individualistic urban deserts.

Even worse in prison where the "culture" is appalling with a majority of people with failing mental health and drug addiction which is not addressed or treated. Stuck like rats in a trap.

The whole thing is a terrible tragedy for everyone and it is far from being an "isolated event" as the authorities would always have us believe. Like Baby P, Fiona Pilkington, Karen Matthews and how many others they are an intrinsic part of the fabric of our failing, dysfunctional society.

It seems that Moat became a mad dog who ended by putting himself out of his misery.

"The police service, like the medical and journalistic professions, is not good or bad; it is a mixture of both. The difference is that medicine and the police look at what they do after a significant event; journalism seems to consider itself above such introspection."

Too true. The media luvvies are sickening in their hypocrisy and lack of any sense of responsibility or decency.

Whited sepulchres spring to mind.

Anonymous said...

Hello Minthe

Moat murdered one man, blinded another, and wounded a woman. He is not a hero, nor was he a tragic victim of mindless police violence. He was no Ian Tomlinson.

I feel sorry for Moat's family. Like David Rathband, I bear Moat no malice. Like all of us, his actions were conditioned by a cascade of factors, including those that you rightly mentioned. Buy in the end, he did not have to kill. He chose to kill. He used a gun on unarmed people. I have no respect for that.

Yes, prison is stupid. Yes, our society is disintegrating (read the Spirit level to find out how to re-integrate it).

Glat we agree in our low view of sensational journalism.

Tjhankd for commenting

minthe said...

Oh I certainly don't have any respect for this sort of behaviour. I'll leave that to the White British wannabe "honour killers".

Anyhow, who does this description fit? Clue, a man with vastly more evil power and influence over all our lives than Moat ever had:

“Mad, bad, dangerous and beyond hope of redemption… flawed, lacking perspective and having a paranoia about him… He’s like something out of the mafiosi… He’s aggressive, brutal…there’s no one to match X for someone who articulates high principles while practising the lowest skulduggery.”