It's been a tragic and inexplicably cruel week in the news. Firstly, the awful news of three prostitutes being murdered and dismembered once more in the Bradford area a place synonymous with the Yorkshire Ripper. The man being held for the murders is a criminology student studying for a PhD. Once again, prostitutes, so easily the target for brutalization are murdered in dreadful circumstances. Today, sees an apparent quiet and unassuming taxi driver called Derrick Bird going on a shooting rampage around sleepy villages and towns in Cumbria before turning the gun on himself. Twelve people are dead and at least twenty five are injured, some in a critical condition. Sadly, the town of Whitehaven will be as notorious for all the wrong reasons in the same way as Hungerford and Dunblane. Tonight, many families will be mourning the loss of loved ones made all the worse in the pointless and nonsensical way in which they died.
A friend of mine contacted me earlier and suggested that as a psychiatric nurse, I'd probably have a good insight into the possible madness which drives someone to commit a shooting rampage killing innocent people without any provocation. Well the simple truth is, I don't. I doubt anyone could begin to work out what pushes a person who lives 'normally' and the suddenly snaps with such devastating consequences. What's similar in these two tragedies, and in the case of most multi-killings, is the way neighbours and friends describe the perpetrators. Invariably male, they are described as 'quiet', 'a bit of a loner', 'shy and polite', and 'normal'.
The awful truth is, they may look normal but their actions are a million miles away from normal. And here's a prediction without the benefit of psychiatric insight... it's almost inevitable that more prostitutes will be murdered callously, and a quiet and polite loner will pick up a rifle and kill his neighbours randomly and indiscriminately until he turns the gun on himself. And we will once again ask the question... why?