As David Copeland begins six life sentences in Broadmoor we must deem him to be a one-off, an exception and not the norm.
Through reading The Turner Diaries (which details a mythical white uprising) and The Terrorist’s Cook Book (which details exactly how to make a bomb) – which he found on the internet – Copeland decided that he wanted to cause a race war. In this he failed.
His misguided idea was that after a few attacks in Brixton, Brick Lane (and eventually Southall) an uprising from the ethnic communities would follow which would provoke a white backlash. His thinking was flawed because in order for his scheme to work, everyone else in Britain would have to have the same warped mind.
Copeland simply did not realise – and could not comprehend – that the vast majority of the population do not think that way. Apart from the fact that this is not (by and large) a racist country, the British public always supports the underdog. Therefore if some mad prankster starts to blow up certain areas just because they have a higher proportion of blacks, Asians or gays, our sympathies immediately turn to those communities.
Some commentators have posited that Copeland may represent the small tip of a larger and more worrying iceberg, and it may indeed be true that the number of people who read and believe in racist ideology is more than we would like to admit. However, the number of people whose sense of right and wrong is so warped that they feel compelled to commit violent acts based on such misguided philosophies is small.
It is because the behaviour of David Copeland and the killers of Stephen Lawrence and Michael Menson is so contrary to the norm and so against what the vast majority of ordinary right thinking people believe, that such crimes are so newsworthy.
It is to the credit of the Criminal Prosecution Service and The Mirror that Copeland’s plea of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility was rejected. While personal liberty moralists may debate the ethics of a tabloid newspaper playing agent provocateur and sending letters to Copeland, purporting to be from a female penfriend, the ruse worked. In his correspondence with “Patsy” (ie The Mirror) Copeland admitted “I can’t believe that I have fooled all the doctors.”
That Copeland failed the tried and tested “get out of jail free” card of diminished responsibility/temporary insanity so favoured by spouse slayers (male and female) will be of some comfort to his victims, although greater comfort to us, the general public, knowing that he will never see freedom again.
Perhaps we can only hope that in prison Copeland may experience “a little of what he deserves”. His attack on the Admiral Duncan pub was apparently provoked partly because of his confusion about his own sexuality. Who among us can’t help notice that as a fairly fit and not unattractive young man, Copeland might be picked on by inmates for sexual favours?