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Topics related to WAR, CONFLICTS, TERRORISM, etc in Flash Points forum!

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Old April 15th, 2004   #1
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Topics related to WAR, CONFLICTS, TERRORISM, etc in Flash Points forum!

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Old April 19th, 2010   #2
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No diminished responsibility: For Mental Illness


In the first week of April 1999 I taught my last class as a full-time lecturer and teacher in Perth Western Australia after some thirty years in classrooms. That same month a 22 year old former member of the British National Party and the National Socialist Movement, David John Copeland, who became known as the "London Nail Bomber," set out on a 13-day bombing campaign aimed at London's black, Bangladeshi and gay communities. I was finishing some marking at the time and enjoying an Australian autumn, always my favorite season Downunder.

Over three successive weekends between April 17 and 30, Copeland placed homemade nail bombs, each containing up to 1,500 four-inch nails in three locations: outside a supermarket in Brixton an area of south London with a large black population, in Brick Lane in the east end of London an area with a large South Asian community and; finally, in the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho's Old Compton Street, the heart of London's gay community. The bombs killed three and injured 129.

Although Copeland was diagnosed by five psychiatrists as having paranoid schizophrenia his plea of diminished responsibility was not accepted by the prosecution which was under pressure not to concede to his pleas of guilty to manslaughter. He was convicted of murder on June 30, 2000, and given six concurrent life sentences. By this time I had taken a sea-change to Tasmania and was living on the Tamar River near the Bass Strait. -Ron Price with thanks to M. K. Chakrabarti, “Marketplace Multiculturalism--Brick Lane: A Novel by Monica Ali,” in Boston Review: A Political and Literary Forum, December 2003/January 2004 and Wikipedia, 16 April 2010.

What can not be changed must be borne,
and since there is so much that can not be
changed, there is much that must be borne.
This is a central principle of life which one
comes to accept sooner or later, hopefully,
with radiant acquiescence......I could echo
this Boston Review article or Jane Austen
here with my daily life-tale that unfolds at
its own mysterious pace, meanings often
withheld, a smile at some thing unseen, &
an atmosphere of perfect control & courtesy
mixed with very fine satire and that endless
concern for quotidian reality imprisoned in
a world of English or just social conventions.

My outer life had been far from uneventful
over all those decades, certainly not like the
uneventful life of Jane Austen, as fas as we
know. My letters did not reveal the humour
of battered pride and obstructed genius with
the satire, even redemption, some cruelty &
perhaps a genuine and very natural outrage.(1)
You put the whole world into question, Jane,
left it stable and whole—and dangling—and
it’s still dangling as if, it seems, by a thread.

(1) Lee Siegel, “A Writer Who is Good For You,” The Atlantic Online, January 1998.

Ron Price
18 April 2010
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Old July 6th, 2011
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