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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Tuesday, January 06, 2004
    How tenuous a hold we have on ourselves. How suddenly a young car thief finds himself transformed into a killer; how suddenly a holidaying wife becomes a traumatised widow.

    J.G. Ballard has written of "[the airport's] transience, alienation and discontinuities, and its unashamed response to the pressures of speed, disposibility and the instant impulse." We could read all these factors into today's terrible news from Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Yet Michael Howard's death, run over by his own vehicle at 5.30am, means that the airport car park now becomes a place of permanence. A memorial setting, a future destination for a family's grim pilgrimage, a concrete reminder of the violent death of this father-of-three.

    I am reminded of young Alistair in Stump, nervous on a mercenary mission of vengeance, repeatedly telling his scally cohort Darren that "I can't bump anyone. I don't have it in me to waste anyone." I picture Mr Howard's hapless killer as an Alistair. In an instant early today, his life, and many others besides, span hopelessly out of control.