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 RIP Ronnie Biggs

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nordmann
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PostSubject: RIP Ronnie Biggs   Wed 18 Dec 2013, 14:47



One of the first lessons I can recall in micro-ethical moral relativism was my mother, brandishing the newspaper on the day the Great Train Robbers went down for 30 years and more for robbing money, while in the Old Bailey on the same day an axe-murderer got a reduced sentence on grounds of poor mental health. Both headlines were reported in adjacent columns and illustrated perfectly the value of property compared to human life in our so-called compassionate society.

I am aware they conked a lad who recovered and then keeled over dead some months later (94 months later actually!), and this was indeed a bold thing to do - though the prosecution's insistence that they be done for murder too was based on rather circumspect medical "evidence".

When he scarpered there was a little cheer from certain quarters close to home (well, at home actually) and his subsequent career as fugitive, beach bum, Sex Pistol etc has been a source of great entertainment.

The picture above is from the funeral of Bruce Reynolds (the "mastermind" behind the heist) at Highgate earlier this year. Game to the end, our Ronnie!


Last edited by nordmann on Thu 19 Dec 2013, 13:39; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: RIP Ronnie Biggs   Wed 18 Dec 2013, 16:48


RIP Jack Mills - killed by thugs and thieves!
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: RIP Ronnie Biggs   Thu 19 Dec 2013, 02:55

It wasn't quite just a cynical contrast between the value set on money and a life, though, was it?  Mr Mills was going about his ordinary working life when he was attacked out of the blue, really, and I don't think those bashing him cared whether he lived or not. It wasn't a case of money or your life , but money and your life, or at least your health and work and well-being. And people whose lives are affected by (usually) white-colour criminals in positions of power stealing their money often have the rest of their lives severely affected and their health often damaged. 

Mental health issues are often behind serious crime and it usually taken into account.  A horrific murder near where I live recently turned out to be carried out by a man with mental health problems and although NZ generally has a rather punitive attitude to these sort of things, I saw nothing but sympathy for everyone concerned with this.  The woman's death notice mentioned her dearly loved husband.  They were Pacific Island people who are more forgiving generally, I think, but he was considered unfit to plea.  I do on the other remember many years a man using as his defence temporary insanity when he killed his wife, which had just come upon him suddenly and disappeared straightaway so he could go on living his life ordinarily. He got off. Their daughters were absolutely shocked and disgusted. 

The case here which upsets me most is one where it wasn't really money or life that was at issue.  A man had come from South Africa, leaving behind his very young family and his job, to look after his dying mother.  He spent some months caring for her in the last stages of cancer with all its horrific effects, incontinence, vomiting, pain, sweating etc. His mother was a strong woman, aged 85, and she refused hospital or doctor visits.  He did all this on his own without nursing experience (I think - he is a scientist) and finally she refused to eat.  But she still didn't die for a month.  After she did die he wrote a book or article in which he said he had eventually given her a lethal dose of morphine.  He was charged and convicted and given 5 months home detention.  I thought he should have been knighted or sanctified.  I bet the people judging him had never put themselves in that dreadful situation or done that kind of work.   http://mg.co.za/article/2013-03-28-00-granting-a-death-wish
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: RIP Ronnie Biggs   Thu 19 Dec 2013, 08:03

Meles meles wrote:

RIP Jack Mills - killed by thugs and thieves!

Jack Mills died in 1970 of leukemia. It is incredibly doubtful from a medical standpoint that a black eye and facial bruising incurred in 1963 could directly or even indirectly lead to a death from cancer seven years later. In 1971 however the outstanding warrant for Biggs' rearrest was amended to include murder by the CPS "on medical advice" despite no medical officer attached to the service having advised such a ludicrous thing. A little matter of a concerted campaign by The Daily Mail to embarrass the police force of course could not have played a role in all this.

And by this stage of course the axe murderer was enjoying his freedom again.
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PostSubject: Re: RIP Ronnie Biggs   Thu 19 Dec 2013, 12:40

Yes Mills died of leukemia .... but cancer aside, after being bludgeoned on the head by an iron bar during the robbery he basically never worked again. He may have been milking his injuries or he may have already been ill .... but he still didn't deserve being attacked whilst, as Caro says, just doing his job.


I guess one person's 'lovable rogue' is another's 'thieving thug'!
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PostSubject: Re: RIP Ronnie Biggs   Thu 19 Dec 2013, 13:13

Quote :
... and his subsequent career as fugitive, beach bum, Sex Pistol etc has been a source of great entertainment.


Mmm. I was going to shake my head disapprovingly at that and, like a true Daily Mail reader, comment on post-Imperial decadence and lowering of moral standards. But of course postmodern malaise has nothing to do with it: we have always made heroes of villains - romanticised bad lots. But what makes a thieving thug a folk hero? Why do Jesse James, Ronnie Biggs, Ned Kelly and Richard Turpin live on, whereas thousands of other criminals are quite forgotten?

PS Did the poor chap who had his fifteen minutes of fame thanks to the Great Train Robbers - that unfortunate Jack Mills - ever comment on those who had biffed him so hard? Did he think they were just cheeky, lovable rogues or what?
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PostSubject: Re: RIP Ronnie Biggs   Thu 19 Dec 2013, 13:27

Biggs was neither a lovable rogue nor a thieving thug. A thief he had been on several occasions, right enough, and not a very good one judging by his police record. Ironically given how infamous he was to become later his involvement in the planned robbery was - by agreement with Reynolds - pretty peripheral. He had been working as a carpenter at that point having been "straight" for almost ten years but financial problems had enticed him back into crime and his sole task in the operation was to locate someone who could take over driving the train (he didn't do that very well either). What it amounted to really was that Reynolds was cutting him in for a share as a mate knowing full well that Biggs wasn't really intelligent or even criminal enough to be included in the planning or to take part in the heist itself.

Although the actual assailant who hit Mills with an iron bar has never been publicly identified there has never been any suggestion by either the other robbers or the police that Biggs was the man. Frank Williams, a detective assigned to pursue and convict the members of the gang who had escaped detection and arrest in 1963, claimed to have identified and interviewed the assailant in London. There wasn't enough evidence to proceed further at the time. Ronald Biggs at that point was living as a fugitive in Australia.

Temp: the main bone of contention expressed by both The Daily Mail and the Mills family has always been money - namely that they received compensation of £250 whereas some of the gang later went on to earn good money out of their association with such a high profile crime. Ironically Biggs wasn't in that number. He never got to spend his "share" of the heist (others did) and for the rest of his life never earned that much. His much publicised stints as novelty vocalist with The Sex Pistols, Pilsen and Die Toten Hosen earned him just enough to keep the wolf from the door now and again.
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PostSubject: Re: RIP Ronnie Biggs   Thu 02 Jan 2014, 13:37

Quote :
Mmm. I was going to shake my head disapprovingly at that and, like a true Daily Mail reader, comment on post-Imperial decadence and lowering of moral standards. But of course postmodern malaise has nothing to do with it: we have always made heroes of villains - romanticised bad lots. But what makes a thieving thug a folk hero? Why do Jesse James, Ronnie Biggs, Ned Kelly and Richard Turpin live on, whereas thousands of other criminals are quite forgotten?

You forgot Richard III on your list....

Joking aside, I'd argue that it's not about the individual so much as what they stand for.  Whether or not Biggs was a hapless chump, a loveable rogue, a wicked villain or just a massive bell end (I'd plump for this last one), it's not him which people celebrate.  OK, the TV crews find the occasional acquaintance of these old school villains who can be relied upon to come out with the "they woz good boys oo' only did fer veir own and oo' lavved veir Mam" codswallop, but what ensured Biggs' fame was the fact that what he did makes a very good, very memorable and very exciting story.  He was savvy (or broke) enough to keep the story warm and in so doing ceased to become plain old Mr. R Biggs the Blundering Minor League Villain and instead became Good Old Ronnie What Sticks Two Fingers Up to The Man. 

If it happens at all, it will be this carefully synchronised pantomime character, rather than the actual flesh and blood man, who will achieve a lasting measure of fame.

Bish bosh.

AR
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PostSubject: Re: RIP Ronnie Biggs   Thu 02 Jan 2014, 13:59

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PostSubject: Re: RIP Ronnie Biggs   Thu 02 Jan 2014, 14:30

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PostSubject: Re: RIP Ronnie Biggs   Fri 03 Jan 2014, 13:20

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PostSubject: Re: RIP Ronnie Biggs   Sun 19 Jan 2014, 11:39

Does anyone remember the Mini advert that caused all the fuss "It nips in and out like Ronnie Biggs"
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RIP Ronnie Biggs

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