Thursday, June 03, 2010

Perils of the countryside

The terrible scenes in Cumbria, which I'm not going to make some tasteless jokes about, I don't know what sort of fuck you think I am but I am much more responsible than that, also I can't think of any, anyway, there were terrible scenes in Cumbria, where a deranged 52-year-old man went on a grudge-fuelled shooting spree, killing 12, including his twin brother, before killing himself. The nation was shocked: the Queen made a rare comment to say she was shocked; Mr Cameron said he was shocked; Such was the national shock that Corrie had to be cancelled; while Lady Gaga was so shocked she pretended to be murdered in her stage show, the little imp.

I was shocked, of course, but I was able to wonder why it is that these shooting sprees - which invariably involve some ne'er-do-well, generally with acne and halitosis, getting upset after years of mild slights and sexual failures and finally taking a military approach to recompense - why do they always happen in tiny little quiet peaceful hamlets, far far away from the tortured morass of the big cities, where, if you were to believe films like Taxi Driver or Falling Down, you'd be far more likely to encounter deranged souls just one throwaway remark from armed armageddon. And that's what I'd expect as well, despite clear messages from the likes of Agatha Christie about the true nature of the rural character. And now the evidence is in and can't be denied (and look at all the research I've done): Hungerford, Dunblane, Whitehaven, Egremont and Seascale, Columbine, of course, Blacksburg, in Virginia, Erfut and Winnenden, both in Germany, Kauhajoki in Finland, the brilliantly named Zug, in Switzerland, and so on. The list of modern day mass murder backwaters grows by the day. Admit it, you don't know a thing about any of those places, apart from that they had spree shootings. The most notable place to have had a spree shooting that I can find was Nepal's Narayanhity Royal Palace. But apart from the odd mentally masticated royal, spree shootings are a hick thing - you might get mugged, burgled, raped, ripped off, violated and generally shat on in the big city, but you can be sure as eggs is eggs you ain't gonna get spree shot in a spree shooting.

So why is this? I can venture a few ideas: because the countryside is so piss boring that mass murder is the only thing lively enough to shatter the tedium, after sheep shagging, magic mushrooms and burning out the newcomers have run their course; because in the big city if you started letting off a shotgun at all and sundry you'd probably get shot yourself by the local teenagers, mistaking you for one of their postcardcode rivals; because in actual fact the big city plays near enough constant host to shooting sprees, but they go unremarked in and amongst all the other brutality, venality, criminality, inhospitality and psychosexuality of the urban swamp; because countryside folk have a lot more guns generally, for shooting uh things; because countryside folk are just fucking weird, otherwise they'd move to the aforementioned city; because what would a rural idyll be without a shock to shatter it?

But whatever the reason, the lesson is clear - run from the hills!