I have heard a lot of things over the last few days which have left me not simply angry, but seething. These range from some young ‘woman’ claiming she was rioting because she was taking her taxes back (sic) to Ken Livingstone trying (and failing) to gain political points of the back of what’s been going on.
However, there was one thing that surpassed all of these. It was a simple sentence which somehow became lost in the madness that engulfed the country yesterday and was uttered by the brother of Michael Duggan. The individual whose shooting was the catalyst for all this kicking off. In the wake of the initial Independent Police Complaints Commission confirming that Duggan did not fire a shot at police officers before they killed him, his brother released a statement which included the following: ‘this is an outrage, someone must be held to account’.
Let’s get one thing crystal clear here. The fact he did not shoot at police is irrelevant because the only thing that counts is that he was knowingly in possession of a loaded weapon which is illegal in the UK. Now this isn’t an offence of the ‘I’m sorry I didn’t know how fast I was going officer’ this is one of the most serious offences anyone can commit under UK law because guns are designed for one purpose and one purpose only, to kill. And if you knowingly carry a gun then there can only be one reason, that at some point you expect to use it. A simple truth which does kind of taint any suggestion that you are a ‘decent’ man or a pillar of the community because the simple act of picking up a weapon and putting it in your pocket actually makes you a major and dangerous armed criminal.
Inevitably, there will be utterances that he was carrying it for ‘self-defence’ but that isn’t a reason, it’s actually a further admission of guilt. Because it provides further evidence of the type of life he was leading and the type of circles he moved in. Circles in which guns get shot and people die. And let’s not forget, it is Duggan and his gun carrying ilk who continue to hold large areas of London and beyond ransom on account of their mere presence on our streets. Indeed, if this sorry episode has one potential silver lining it’s that the good law-abiding people of this country might finally show the resolve to stand up and reclaim the streets from these vermin.
Yet there is another equally important issue here. This wasn’t a teenager, it was a 29-year-old man who had already served a period on remand and so the family must have known what he was like and exactly what kind of life he was living.
Yes, I’m sure he might well have been a decent bloke who loved his wife, kids and mum but he was also a criminal. A gun carrying criminal. So should we feel sorry for him, no. Should we feel sorry for the family, possibly.
But I’d have a lot more sympathy for them if they came out and admitted what every like-minded individual thinks; that the one and only person responsible for the death of Mark Duggan is Mark Duggan.
Since this blog was first posted two and a half years ago it has caused all kinds of reaction, some negative but the bulk supportive. That has continued in the wake of the verdict yesterday which ruled the killing lawful. The death of an individual in any instance is regrettable but the fact remains, had Duggan not knowingly and seemingly willingly allied himself to a culture of crime and violence, he would be alive today and his children would still have their father.
That is a fact and it is one those screaming for ‘justice’ would do well to remember before they start trying to apportion blame.
Dougie Brimson is an author and screenwriter who served 18 years as a member of the RAF. Details of his life and work can be found at www.dougiebrimson.com