#0021 30 April

Back in 1789 on this day George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States of America.

A while later in 1897 J J Thompson a British Physicist who went on to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics announced on this day that he had discovered the electron.

Not long after that in 1900 William McKinlay the 25th President of the United States of America signed the Hawaiian Organic Act, making Hawaii a territory of the United States.

Then in 1945 on this day both Adolf Hitler and his wife, Eva Braun committed suicide in a bunker in Berlin.

In 1975 the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) fell to the North Vietnamese troops during the Vietnam War.

At 18:37 in 1999 a bar in Soho London called The Admiral Duncan, which attracted a primarily gay clientele was blown apart by a nail bomb containing 1,500 nails killing three people and injuring, some seriously 83 others. It was the third bomb in three successive weekends by a 22 year old self confessed racist and homophobe David Copeland. In 2000 was convicted of murder and given six life sentences.

In the bar that evening were four friends from Essex Nic Moore 31 and John Light 32 were celebrating the pregnancy of their friends Andrea Dykes 27 and Andrea’s husband Julian. Andrea, her unborn child, Nic and John who was to be the child’s Godfather were killed. Julian was seriously injured.

At Broadmore Hospital five psychiatrists diagnosed Copland as having paranoid schizophrenia. One other diagnosed personality disorder but not serious enough to avoid a charge of murder.

His motive? To spread fear, resentment and hatred throughout this country it would cause a racial war. He admitted during police interviews.

He was due for release in 2049 when he would have been 73. In June 2014 he attacked a fellow inmate at Belmarsh Prison with a shiv of razor blades attached to a toothbrush handle. In Oct the following year he was convicted for a further three years. Maybe due to upheld ruling in 2011 at the Court of Appeal he only served 18 months of the three years.

Not only did he not achieve his objective but during the time that Copland was in prison the age of consent has been equalised, same-sex couples won equal adoption rights and gay marriage became legal.

Let’s remember that this self confessed racist and homophobe did not succeed in bringing about a racial war. That the tragic deaths were mercifully low. Many lives were irrevocably changed that day. The ripples of which are still being felt decades after.

In honour of the hundreds of lives changed that day be ever vigilant of racialism, homophonia and any other behaviour whose end is to cause damage to those we call minorities in our country. Should any inclination of such come into your orbit do not let it pass unchallenged. However do not take any unnecessary risks either. Watch out for one another.

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