Thursday, 10 March 2016

TV Review: Dunblane - Our Story

Sunday marks the twentieth anniversary of the Dunblane school massacre; an unfathomable day when (to quote the primary school's headmaster Ron Taylor) 'evil visited' in the shape of local man Thomas Hamilton who, in just three minutes, took the lives of 16 five-year-old children and their teacher Gwen Mayor before turning the gun upon himself.

Last night's BBC2 documentary Dunblane: Our Story commemorated the tragedy and was harrowing, tear-jerking television. The film rightly refused to focus on the perpetrator or attempt to get inside his head to provide some explanation for the inexplicable devastation. Instead, it concentrated on those affected by the day. Those who lost someone and who have lived their lives since with a palpable void around them; never to know what potential their child or sibling may have had. Some of the survivors of that day, and the parents and sisters of victims recounted their experiences for the film - many of whom have never spoken out before - and it was an emotive, overwhelmingly poignant but also strangely life affirming experience for the viewer which ended on the optimistic note of how life goes on in Dunblane.  

Personally I well remember that day, 13th March 1996. I was in my last year at high school, about to take my GCSE's in the summer, and I had gone home for my lunch which was where I heard the news. I returned to school and, in the school yard, I told people what had happened. I recall one boy just laughing, finding it amusing that such a thing could have happened. Looking back, I don't know if he genuinely found something humourous in the deaths of so many infant children and their teacher, or whether it was just the bravado of wanting to appear 'edgy' among his peers. I've never been a violent person - I went all through school, indeed life - without really throwing a punch, but I know I came close to it that day. In the end I called him a bastard and walked on. I wonder if he has kids now?

For those who died, and those left behind who are hurting, I'd like to light a candle. My thoughts with them this weekend.

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