After 12 years of detailed investigation, the Saville Inquiry into the Bloody Sunday killings has concluded that shooting unarmed people who are trying to get away is “a bad thing”.
Thirteen marchers were shot dead on 30 January 1972 in Londonderry when British paratroopers opened fire on crowds at a civil rights demonstration, an incident which the £200m inquiry has now found to be ‘really not necessary’.
As the Rt Hon Lord Saville of Newdigate explained, “After twelve long years, thousands of witness statements, and hundreds of millions of pounds, we have come to the conclusion that we’re almost certainly not going to find any evidence to support the actions of the soldiers that day.”
“Twelve years is probably long enough to go looking for extenuating circumstances, so it’s probably best to conclude what most people have suspected all along – shooting unarmed civilians is wrong.”
Political commentator Giles Rathbone explained, “It was nip and tuck there for a while. Would the inquiry be able to drag the inquiry out long enough to find some evidence to suggest that shooting people indiscriminately is okay, or would they be forced to report what everyone has known since the day they started?”
“As the inquiry entered its second decade hopes were raised that such evidence might be found, but after 12 long years, even the army’s staunchest supporters were beginning to think they were taking the piss.”
A government spokesperson said, “This is a terrible day, and one we must learn from – but most of all it sends out a strong message to those in a position to harm members of the public – if you pull that trigger then be prepared to read some pretty stern words about your actions in about thirty years time.”