Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Twelve killed in Cumbria shooting spree.

Not since Hungerford in 1987 has Britain experienced anything like this.

Twelve people have been killed by a gunman who went on the rampage across Cumbria in north-west England.

Taxi driver Derrick Bird shot dead a colleague in the town of Whitehaven before driving through the countryside apparently targeting people at random.

Twenty-five others have been injured, three critically. Police say they are dealing with 30 separate crime scenes.

Mr Bird's body was found in a wooded area in Boot in the Lake District and two weapons have been recovered.

The fact that the first person he killed was another taxi driver seemed to me to be the only hint of motivation for the series of utterly random killings which followed. But then we read this:
Channel 4 News has spoken to Peter Leder, who had been with Bird last night. Mr Leder said he thought the suspected gunman had known at least four of the people he shot.
What the Hell has occurred here?

And I don't know why; but, as in the case of Hungerford, there is something profoundly shocking about the locations at which these terrible acts of violence occur.

When I think of Cumbria, I think of The Lake District, and people walking the hills and taking in the incredible beauty of the place. The notion that this should be the backdrop for random acts of terrible violence simply doesn't compute in my brain. Perhaps it's movies which makes me think that this kind of thing always happens in major conurbations, like London.

After the first shooting, witnesses said Mr Bird drove through Whitehaven with a gun hanging out of his car window, then headed south through Gosforth and Seascale before turning inland.

Nowhere should ever suffer from this kind of appalling random violence, but sleepy English towns, for some reasons, makes the whole thing far more shocking. It's simply incongruent.


It is now being rumoured that there might have been a disagreement about a will and that Bird's brother and a solicitor may be amongst the dead. Here is how the local newspaper in Whitehaven is covering this.

Click here for full article.

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