I was following the week's developments through the medium of Radio4, twitter, google maps/streetview and finally Sky News, it was thrilling and entertaining stuff. Reality more or spectacle, a pantomime than and Jason Bourne or Rambo First Blood movie.
Did he have to die? When the images came through of the standoff on Riverside in Rothbury, I was hovering over the scene in googlemaps, plotting out where the cameramen were, where the police cordon was, the ring of sharp shooters, and the iconic snarling tazercop. From streetview I could feel the terrain, some idea of lying on the ground, lying on the grass, bits of gravel pressing through. And when the rain came, that brought it all home, no escape, only one possible resolution to the standoff.
Its been a warm couple of days where I am in London, even a couple of showers a day doesn't get rid of the sweat and the grime. I can barely imagine a week's worth of it.
This one time when I was a healthy fifteen year old in Bolton, I took it upon myself to walk the fifty mile county boundary in a day, setting off into the heath and the hills at 5am and finally giving up twenty hours later, soaking wet with sweat and rain, hungry and aching. My ma came to pick me up from somewhere near Leigh, I woke up in my warm dry bed two days later.
So such end for Raoul Moat, only one possible outcome.
I've been an emotional kind of guy in the past, furious for exgirlfriend moving on, breaking up with me and picking up with someone else more successfully. My frustration vented with spreadsheets and graphs, or occasionally simmering for days, months, years until I can vent it badly disguised in unmade film screenplays and unpublished novels.
Not so for Raoul Moat, only one possible outcome for him.
What could the police have done differently? What could the police have done that wouldn't have so automatically lead to his death?
As the stand off first started yesterday even, I was certain of the one possible outcome. My drinking companion wasn't, she was more optimistic, "He could give himself up or the police marksman will take him out." No, neither of these things, there was only one possible outcome.
"Could they not tranquilise him?"
No tranquiliser works quicker than his trigger finger.
"Could they not sneak up behind him and snatch the shot gun away?"
Not with his finger on the trigger.
"Could an alcoholic hasbeen footballer turn up with chicken and a can of lager?"
Sure, but it wouldn't help.
"Could they not just wait until he falls asleep?"
Not with his finger on the trigger.
Since the rise of Section 44 and the rule of the Association of Chief Police Officiers, the public's faith in the police has been falling, and whilst most people haven't declared war on them, there was tangible sympathy for Moat's cause.
I must stress that when I come until contact with the police they're very polite and professional, and whenever I ask them for directions, which I often do, they're very help. Its just the police in the newspapers and in blog stories that I'm not so fond of.
I wanted a T-shirt, I have sympathy for dumped ex-boyfriends and those who sweepingly rally against the police.
It was the latter that damned him to death though.
He only killed one person, poor Chris Brown. Innocent Chris Brown. Who was he, what was he like. Did he have any unpublished novels, was he a key player in his local fiveaside team, on course to lead them to regional championship glory next season. Was he the best admin in the office, tipped for promotion. Was he secretly addicted to tetris on his touchscreen smartphone. Or looking forward to a summer holiday, booked, paid for, never to be taken. No wikipedia page for Chris Brown.
It puts the forthcoming Scott Pilgrim versus the World movie in perspective. In it Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriend's 7 evil ex- partners.
Meanwhile in darkest Tooting, a fifteen year-old called Akmol Miah set fire to his ex-girlfriend's housen killing her and her sister, because he'd been dumped. He was sentenced to life in prison.
The Scottish band The Just Joans have a sweet and funny song called Hideous Accident, its about a boy who with fingers crossed hopes his exgirlfriend's new boyfriend doesn't die in some hideous accident.
Its some time in the afternoon of the day after, I'm just back from getting Pringles from the corner shop. The newspapers there all bear headlines about the standoff, and some of the more later editions about how Moat has been 'caught' or 'captured'. Death moves to quickly for the deadwood press.
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