Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The killing fields of Cumbria

Twelve people have been confirmed dead so far today after the carnage wrought by gunman Derrick Bird in the Cumbrian seaside town of Whitehaven.

As is so often the case, news networks quickly rounded up a gaggle of acquaintances and friends, who to a man described him as "polite", "mild-mannered", "placid". His friends said he was "good craig", while his local ladylady declared he was a good egg.

How, then, do we broach this gap between the public persona and the bloody reality of events? The Guardian reports a man who knew Mr Bird telling Radio 4: ""I can't see how this piece fits into his jigsaw. It's just completely out of place."

Perhaps, scary though it is to admit, the truth is that we don't need to. Maybe it is quite possible to be a well-functioning citizen and a cold-blooded killer? Isn't that the basis of shows like Dexter, where we root for the serial murderer on the flimsy premise that he only, er, y'know, murders bad guys?

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