Sorry David Rathband, we failed you

I want to talk about PC David Rathband.

It is my policy not to mention the name of torturers or murderers, but to refer only to their victims.  I strongly believe that they lose the right to their own individual name once they’ve made the decision to kill somebody else. As an example, when one of the torturer/killers of Liverpool toddler James Bulger was in the news in recent years for committing more offences, I wrote about him by only referring to him as one of James’s murderers.

PC David Rathband was shot twice in the face by a known nutter who went on the rampage, killing his ex-girlfriend’s lover, maiming his ex-girlfriend and then, finding the first unarmed policeman he could just sitting in his patrol car, went up to him and shot him twice, instantly blinding him.

After a prolonged stand-off, the fucker who’d hurt PC Rathband then shot himself dead.

That was probably the only good thing he’d ever done in his entire life, thus saving us a fortune keeping him incarcerated for life, or letting him back out after a few years only to offend yet again.  Hey, we’d already done that once with him!

Now then.  David Rathband didn’t decide one day to be blind.  He had no choice in the matter.  It was forced upon him.  It completely changed his life.  He had to try to learn how to exist in a brand new world of darkness.  He even said he could mentally deal with having been shot, but not with the darkness.

The in-depth interviews with him, notably with Victoria Derbyshire of Radio 5 Live and BBC TV News, showed him as a very optimistic man with a supportive wife and family, yet, with hindsight, he seemed to be struggling with everything, almost crying out for help.

He appears to have been a proud man, an independent man, suddenly plunged into a world of dependency on others.  One can only imagine the frustration.  He noted that help with things like cashflow and advice hadn’t been given to him or his family immediately after he was shot, and so set up the Blue Lamp Foundation to help other victims working for the emergency services not suffer the same indignity.

He struggled to regain his composure and live a ‘normal’ life.  Maybe he couldn’t accept his new ‘normality’, who could?  He probably became more frustrated and depressed.  I’m guessing he probably tried to hide this by immersing himself in other things, but within the home he lashed out, probably verbally and physically, and probably without meaning to.  In many ways he was already on a downward spiral.

Last year the police were called following a ‘domestic incident’ in the home, but the matter was settled and not taken any further.  Then he moved out, separating from his wife and children.

David Rathband spent some time in Australia with his brother.  Whilst there he had surgery to remove more of the shrapnel from his face and skull.  Then he returned to the UK and hanged himself.

His depression had shown itself to his followers on Twitter, and his tweets had become more ‘down’.  Those that realised tried to reach out to him.  Police called him.  The proud man told them he was ok.  But he wasn’t.

He was being tortured to death.  A slow, agonising torture, of a proud proud man, too proud to ask for real help.  It was a two year slow and painful torture forced upon him by a madman who’d been given light sentences for what he’d done to previous victims of his violence.

That has to be changed.  We must take more care of the future’s victims.

David Rathband was a victim of an evil bastard who made the decision to sneak up on him and blind him just because he could.  David lost everything from that day onwards, and finally he lost the will to live.

But, at least his death was his own decision, and he was in control.  It wasn’t anybody else’s decision, forced upon him.  For the first time since he was shot, he was in control and making his own decision.

We have to respect that.

We have to learn from it.