Wednesday 22 September 2010

The Raoul Moat Tapes

The Raoul Moat Tapes was a TV documentary about true crime which, although flawed by a faintly sensationalist tone, still provided an interesting insight into the life of the man whose brief shooting spree in the North East last month ended in a stand-off with police negotiators and Moat’s ultimate suicide.

Moat’s case has prompted controversy because of the startling level of sympathy that he received, bearing in mind that he shot his lover, murdered her new partner, and blinded a police officer. He had a long-running grudge against the police, and because he eluded them for a few days, in the simple minds of some he seems to have acquired a sort of cult hero status.

Moat was big on self pity, and this comes out very strongly in the series of tapes that he made and passed to a friend shortly before his death. He did not seem to see that he was the author of his own problems. And yet, it is easy to be harsh about a jealous and violent man, and Moat was not necessarily without potential redeeming features. He was not unintelligent, and it may be that if he’d had better role models in his early years, he could have made something of his life. Instead he gave in to his worst instincts, and inflicted great harm on innocent people.

Psychiatrists suggested that there is a strong link between violence and jealousy (interesting to me, bearing in mind the theme of The Serpent Pool) and also that there can be a close link between suicide and homicide. These were interesting insights, but my overwhelming emotion after watching this programme was sadness. I felt sorry for Moat, although the world may well be better off without him, and terribly sorry for his victims. Once again, I was struck by the sheer self-destructiveness of violence, and the pointless waste of life in which it so often results.


Anonymous said...

Martin - What an interesting documentary that must have been in terms of getting an insight into Moat's point of view. I have to say that I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness when I read the stories and heard the news broadcasts about what he did. You're so right that violence so often has such terribly tragic consequences. We write about it and read about it but, of course, it is so different when it happens in real life. The Lake District murders earlier this year are just another example of that. Something just pushes some people over the line, so to speak, and drives them to horrible acts and it is, truly, saddening...

aguja said...

Yes, I agree with sad, too. Knowing the beauty of Rothbury well, it seemed so tragic and pitiful that he returned to a place that he loved and knew well himself for his end ... sort of crawling into his lair and awaiting the inevitable, having nowhere else to go.

I agree with you that he did not seem to realise that he was the author of his own problems.

Thank you for this post.