Claims had been made of his having taken photographs of semi-naked boys without parental consent. Later that year, he was seconded as leader to the 24th Stirlingshire troop, which was being revived. Several complaints were made about his leadership, including two occasions when Scouts were forced to sleep with Hamilton in his van during hill-walking expeditions. He was blacklisted by the Association and thwarted in a later attempt he made to become a Scout leader in Clackmannanshire. On the day following the massacre, Robertson spoke of having previously argued with Hamilton "in my own home".
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Words, when Dunblane asks for silence, space to mourn, to rage, to try to understand the incomprehensible. We assemble facts, names, lists, numbers. We look for character traits, analogies, consequences.
But how much of that will enable us to solve the same impossible puzzle that assails the nation: they were children, five-and six-year-olds, in a gym class, doing what five- and —six-year-olds do, laughing, playing, shouting, hoping, dreaming.
Children in a gym class. How could it be? How could anyone, in however twisted a mind, turn children into creatures to be killed? At times like this the modern world is so unfathomable. A deranged man kills children in a violent slaughter. Yet there is no calculus we can use to tell us whether or how our age is, in some grand moral scheme, any better or worse than previous ages. What is sure is that, unlike those times, these days we know instantly almost as much as the people of Dunblane know about what happened to their children in that gym class.
As a result, Dunblane belongs to us all, at once, wherever we are…. And yet the events at Dunblane come from somewhere. Hamilton emerged from the backdrop against which he acted. The events in Dunblane did not come from nowhere. They emerged from a backdrop.
The Independent, 16 March In a very real sense, the surging water in an ocean does not move; rather, energy moves through it. In this same sense, the energy of violence moves through our culture. Some experience it as a light but unpleasant breeze, easy to tolerate. Others are destroyed by it, as if by a hurricane. But nobody — nobody — is untouched. After putting the children into the back of his car, and securing them in their seats, he scraped ice off the windscreen before hastily driving to Dunblane Primary School.
His daughter was to attend the nursery class which started at 9. He drove along the Old Doune Road and entered the school yard via the main gates. After driving up the main drive, he had difficulty getting a parking space as there were lots of other vehicles parked there.
He arrived at 9. After taking his children from the car, he walked them into the school via the main entrance. He entered the main reception area, turned left and walked down a set of stairs. After turning left again, he entered the corridor of the nursery wing and entered the first classroom on the right. He left his daughter at the nursery class and walked off down the corridor with his son. At another entrance to the school, local housewife Audrey McMillan was arriving to drop off her daughter at the same nursery class.
She saw a white van driving very slowly between the two entrances to the school at about 9. It was moving at approximately 10 miles per hour. After passing the hotel, the driver put on his indicator about 20 yards before the school gates and drove into the school still driving very slowly.
He appeared to be lost and unsure as to where he was going, but then turned into the access road leading into the Nursery playground where the Primary 1 and 2 infants were. The diesel van engine was noticeabley loud. The van appeared to be very new and was very clean. It was a panel van and had only two doors with no markings on it.
It also had 2 back doors. Mrs McMillan was taking her daughter to Nursery class which started at 9. As she walked her daughter into the playground she could still see the van moving slowly, but it was now travelling adjacent to the wall. It reversed hard against the wall, or possibly against a telegraph pole or lamp post. There was nothing else parked nearby. The driver was by now out of the van and he looked across at them. They were just 50 yards from him. Mrs McMillan described him as middle aged, large build, if not fat, and was about 5 feet 10 inches in height.
He was wearing dark framed glasses and the lenses were clear, like reading glasses. He was wearing very dark clothing and the top was zipped just about to his mouth covering his neck.
His trousers were dark coloured and he wore black steel toecap boots like Doc Martens. They were very clumpy with heavy soles. He walked around the side of the van and to the drivers side and opened both rear doors. He then went into the van, but reappeared after a number of seconds, turned around and lay a silver grey plastic sheet on the ground which he unfolded.
It appeared to be a tool rack and had objects in it but Mrs McMillan was unable to see what they were. Mrs McMillan then drove off.
Meanwhile, in the corridor of the nursery wing, Grant McCutcheon stopped so that his son could play with some toys and a Wendy House. After about three minutes, he saw a group of children, aged about seven or eight, being shooed along the corridor by their teacher.
The teacher was middle aged with grey hair and wearing a shift. The children and teacher all passed him and entered the third room on the right, the GP room. The corridor was then empty, except for Grant and his son and a young woman of about She was quite tall, about 5 feet 8 inches, medium build, with long dark hair, wearing glasses, black leggings and a dark coloured top. As he stood watching his son play in the Wendy House, the Deputy Head of the school approached him.
But then he realised that what she was telling him was something to be really concerned about. Can I help? After handing his son over to the young dark haired woman, he ran up the corridor of the nursery wing to the main corridor with Mrs Awlson at his heels. She had blood on her head and her hands, but was conscious and moving, so he continued to run towards the assembly hall area. There was no-one else around, and no-one in the assembly hall when he entered via the swing doors.
Mrs Awlson told him to turn right. After going through another set of double doors, he turned left and ran along the corridor, up a flight of stairs half way along the corridor and then, on the left side of the corridor further on he saw a group of four children in gym kit sitting on the floor with their backs propped up against the wall on the left. They were all wearing blue T-shirts and dark shorts.
All the children had gunshot wounds. They all had bloodstained clothing. One boy had what looked like pellet marks to his left leg. As the children were all conscious and breathing, the policeman continued running towards the doors leading to the gym. Both doors were ajar. He entered the gym. A flurry of thoughts and feelings came on me and I was aware of a strong smell of gunsmoke. I also formed the opinion that all the children I saw were dead as all were motionless.
I saw a group of bodies to my immediate right at the entrance doors where I stood. That was the group where the teacher Gwen Mayor was that died. I can recall that her body was on top of other children. I saw that they were dressed in gym kit, blue T-shirts and dark shorts. I formed the opinion that they were all dead. I also saw a group to my left, halfway up the left side of the hall. They consisted of about four or five further children, wearing exactly the same state of dress.
I formed the opinion they were all dead also. I also saw another group of children half way up the gym hall on the right side. That group consisted of about four children who looked dead. I further observed the janitor John Currie who was standing to the left side of a black figure lying on the floor. I knew he was the gunman. I formed this opinion as he had shot himself in the head and together with other factors in my mind I took him to be as such. As I took all this in and formed my opinions I saw two pistols there.
I saw that his head had been blown away and the contents were behind him. I was focused on this image. It was dark coloured and was not a revolver. I cannot describe it further. I also said to the janitor as he stood up to put the pistol down on the floor. I saw him place it as his feet. He told me he just wanted to get the gun away from him.
I also saw, at the same time as all this, that the gunman was gurgling and breathing heavily.
Words, when Dunblane asks for silence, space to mourn, to rage, to try to understand the incomprehensible. We assemble facts, names, lists, numbers. We look for character traits, analogies, consequences. But how much of that will enable us to solve the same impossible puzzle that assails the nation: they were children, five-and six-year-olds, in a gym class, doing what five- and —six-year-olds do, laughing, playing, shouting, hoping, dreaming. Children in a gym class.