I’m not defending what Raoul Moat did, because it’s indefensible. There was no excuse for it, and no legitimate justification. I have the greatest sympathy for all those who were damaged by his wickedness, and pray for them.
At the same time, I find it fairly hard to defend David Cameron and all those who are up in arms about the sympathy which some have for Mr Moat : because they clearly haven’t grasped the fact that although what he did was totally wrong, the underlying cause of it appears to have been a disordered personality – at least part of the damage to which was the fault of modern society. Fr Ray posted about it yesterday, here.
I’m not saying that society is responsible for what Mr Moat did : he was, and he alone . . . because we’ve all been damaged at times, whether by society in general, or by others, and coping with that damage, and accepting it as part of our penance in life, is one of the things that being a Christian is all about.
Notwithstanding that, though, I don’t think society has the right to assume that because people have that obligation, it doesn’t matter what society does to people; because it clearly does, if only because not everyone can cope with everything that happens to them – so those who care about God’s children, and about His world, must remember Raoul Moat and his death, and try and ensure that others are not damaged in the same way.
‘No man is an island’, said John Donne : in other words, on some level, we are all responsible for the damage done to Mr Moat, and all the other people like him; and I’m afraid I’m not all that impressed by a Prime Minister, a man with a good education and considerable resources behind him, who cannot recognize that elementary fact. Let us pray for them both : Mr Moat, that in Purgatory he may recognize what he has done, and through penance come in time to the divine life in Heaven; and Mr Cameron, that he may gain a more realistic appreciation of life in the modern world in which he has a real opportunity to help prevent such tragedies in the future.