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Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Re: Moat

Raoul Moat - as everyone in England knows - is on the run.  He is a big man - a body builder - and he has allegedly shot and killed his ex-girlfriend's new lover, thinking him a police office, and also seriously wounded her, and another man, a police officer.  He is currently on the run in a remote part of North-Eastern England, in territory he "knows like the back of his hand" since camping there as a child, armed with shotguns.  Today his camp was found, with a letter to his wounded ex-partner.  His previous letter had taunted the police, and claimed he would kill more of them.  That this situation is not going to end well seems unfortunately certain - Moat apparently seeks suicide by cop - but then again, forensic pyschologists now claim he is measured - and, to a degree, appears intelligent enough to elude a small army of helicopters and searchers.  If guilty as charged, then Moat is a villain - but his behaviour has uncomortable echoes of murder ballads, Robin Hood style heroism of the old school, and folk tale or legendary aspects of highwaymen; it also smacks of Rambo.  The longer he manages to evade capture, live off the land, and leave messages, taunting the authorities - and, especially if he does not kill anyone else, or himself - he may land himself in prison, but also with some form of lasting infamy.  It is to be hoped this sad saga will end soon, and as well as possible, with no more loss of life.  What is it about England, that it seems to produce such persons?  Is it the central lawlessness of the English imaginary, that, secular, anti-authoritarian and once-imperial, seeks powerful freedom within the round of a small island?
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