Disclaimer: I started this post at the end of last week, and it’s been lurking around in my drafts folder unfinished ever since. I’ve been spurred to finish it by John Demitriou’s post (which I’ve only just got around to reading) on the same subject.
According to the Daily Star, the Raul Moat group has been closed, not by Facebook, but by the group’s founder Shivoun O’Dowd.
So why am I disappointed?
Not because of free speech: if we follow the ‘their blog, their rules’ thing (and I do) then Facebook pages certainly count.
Not because I hold some sort of candle for Raul Moat: I ‘m of the opinion that he was a dangerous psycopath and was indeed screaming into Twitter that the SWAT team should have shot him hours earlier.
Not even because I believe the Moat-mensch to be seriously unhinged individuals and its good to have a list of them so they can be rounded up (a Red List?!) and removed – that’s the pre-libertarian Stalinist Wh00ps talking- but just the simple disappointment I feel whenever anything on the internet gets shut down, for whatever the reason.
Having perused a few of the ‘tributes’ on both Facebook and the other site, courtesy of Al Jahom, it seems that a large part of the sentiment is not so much pro-Moat as anti-police. While Moat himself may not have had much justification for his feelings as he got quite rightly banged up for a crime, there is perhaps more justification in the public at large, although probably not to the extent of acting cheerleader to a gun-wielding maniac.
The criminal classes naturally feel little affinity for the police but as the police have become increasingly heavy-handed towards regular decent folk while simultaneously ignoring them when they have need to call on police services the feelings of resentment and downright antipathy are getting stronger. The police are no longer ‘our’ Boys in Blue, they’ve become ‘their’ Bastards in Black (black is more intimidating) in an ever-growing profusion of forms: Police, Community Safety Wardens, Rail Enforcement Officers, PCSOs, Traffic Enforcement officers, RSPCA and so on, all hell-bent on relieving you of cash at every opportunity and all wearing variations of the same uniform. It’s small wonder that the zeitgeist is firmly anti-police and that episodes like Moat should become a point around which those feelings condense should be hardly surprising at all.