Danny Doherty and William Fleming

Danny Doherty and William Fleming grew up in Derry. They were from Republican families and each had relatives that were imprisoned at one time or another for their political ideals and paramilitary activities. They followed in their families’ footsteps and each joined Na Fianna Éireann at a young age, before funneling into the Derry Brigade as soon as they were able.

Each man knew what the cost might be. They knew their membership in the IRA could land them in prison or in the grave but they felt it was worth the risk. Danny Doherty was a veteran with six years of active service in the Derry Brigade but Willie Fleming was younger and greener with only two years under his belt when the two men were killed (or overkilled) in a hail of gunfire on this day in 1984.

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The Gibraltar Killings

If you somehow knew who Adolph Hitler would become and what he would do, would you murder him before he could do his damage? This rhetorical question is asked by personality tests, psychologists, and Philosophy professors all the time to gauge the morality of their subjects.  Many otherwise peaceful people have quickly answered yes. So then the quandary becomes about where the boundary lies and when we become OK with murder or assassination. When you use someone as horrible as Hitler, the odds are guaranteed to have an emotional and reactionary response. When taken out of the hypothetical realm, odds are that most people would say they are against preemptive murder, no matter what the circumstances are. There are laws against that kind of thing in almost every civilized nation – including Britain – but on this day in 1988, British soldiers ignored them.
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