Thursday, 15 July 2010

Rauol Moat: a need for a careful distinction

This BBC news report gives some idea of the present coverage of Raoul Moat in the media. There are also media reports of Rauol Moat's last words, which suggest that he experienced a real sense of having nowhere "to belong" in the world. Care needs to be taken in basing comments on media coverage alone, and only those involved in the events themselves will really understand fully Rauol Moat's situation.

One has to recognise that Rauol Moat's reported actions - his shooting of three people and his threats against others - were evil. In so far as a person is formed by the way in which they act, this can also suggest that we should recognise that Rauol Moat was in some degree an "evil man". The glorification of his actions is therefore to be deprecated, to be opposed and to be condemned. His actions deserve no sympathy, and should be fully recognised as the evil that they were.

At the same time, the media reports of Rauol Moat's last words and other aspects of the coverage suggest that Rauol Moat was a very troubled person. Fr Ray suggested, and I agree with his suggestion, that perhaps in some way Rauol Moat's situation reflects that in which many in our society might find themselves, though in his case it was lived out to an extreme that is fortunately very rare. It appears that, if we were to identify anyone as being marginalised from our society, that person would be Rauol Moat. That is not to suggest that he is any sense a "good man"; recognising his mariginalisation does not involve that suggestion at all.

Once again, reflecting on events of this nature, I come back to the notion of a mysterium iniquitatis, a mystery of evil. There is something about this evil that we cannot fathom, but can only hope that it is open to redemption.

So, in expressing sympathy for Rauol Moat and leaving flowers in his memory, we might be responding in a quite legitimate way to our sense of this man's marginalisation and anguish, something that might be very encouraging for his family. But we cannot, and should not, thereby be seen as saying that his actions are anything else but profoundly evil.

And if we want to say that Rauol Moat deserves no sympathy, we might be quite legitimately condemning the evil of his actions. But in saying this, we should not say, of any member of our society, that they are marginalised, outside the pale and should remain so.

Both the contributors to Facebook and the Prime Minister might do well to make a very careful distinction.

1 comment:

madame evangelista said...

Thanks for this thoughtful and balanced post Joe.