Cumbria in mourning

I think everyone who lives here is feeling shaken today by a crime that would seem more credible if it happened in the USA. A quiet man,a good mate in the pub, a man who kept himself to himself, suddenly goes on the rampage with two guns, killing his twin brother, his solicitor, and at least nine other people, injuring many others and finally turning the gun on himself. There are many questions. We are all asking why a man who was capable of 'flipping' like this was allowed to have two high performance guns. Are the checks adequate? Probably not - it's still very easy to get a gun. Cumbria is a hunting and shooting county - I live surrounded by it. But I always want to ask why anyone really needs a gun? Is it necessary to kill anything? I don't believe that killing animals for fun is either ethical or moral. And if private individuals are allowed to keep guns, there is always going to be someone, somewhere, who is going to use that gun under stress against another human being.

When I landed in Boston, USA, the first thing I saw was a giant poster with a picture of a dead child and the slogan 'It is easier to child-proof your gun, than it is to gun-proof your child'. It's stayed with me for ever.


  1. Kathleen - I have been thinking of you and others I know in Cumbria in the wake of what happened earlier in the week. You are absolutely right to question how and why this man - who had a criminal record - was given a gun licence.

    Like you, I live in hunting and shooting country, a landscape replete with irony - great natural beautiful but peppered with people who are obsessed with pursuing and killing what they regard as fair game - foxes, stags and so much more.

    They do it for no other reason than that it quickens their blood. And the terrorising and killing continues because the likelihood of prosecution on and around Exmoor is zero. The so-called ban has no meaning whatsoever; it is routinely ignored three times a week during the hunting season.

    The prevailing attitude is that the only laws to be obeyed are the laws with which one agrees. This was summed up for me a couple of years ago by one hunt veteran (and local landowner) who said she couldn't care less about the ban. "No-one's going to tell us what to do. We do what we like." And they do.


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