Nail Bomber premiered on 26th May 2021 on Netflix. Directed by Daniel Vernon, the 72-minute long documentary tells the true-crime story of the 1999 London nail bombings, where a series of bomb explosions took place in London, England, the United Kingdom, targetted against certain communities.
An Act Of Hatred
“I bomb the blacks, Pakis, degenerates. I would have bombed the Jews as well if I’d got a chance.” – David Copeland
Nail Bomber: Manhunt takes into account the 1999 London nail bombings i.e., a series of bomb explosions that took place in London, England, and the United Kingdom. Over three consecutive weekends between 17th April 1999 to 30th April 1999, homemade nail bombs were detonated in crowded localities like Brixton in South London, Brick Lane, Spitalfields, the East End, and the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho in the West End.
“I chose the gays because I hate them. That was personal.”– David Copeland
Each nail-bomb contained approximately 1,500 4-inch (100 mm) nails, in holdalls that were left in the afore-mentioned public spaces. According to records, the bombs killed three people, including a pregnant woman, and injured around 140 people, four of whom lost limbs.
“My main intent was to spread fear, resentment and hatred throughout this country; it was to cause a racial war.” He said, “If you’ve read The Turner Diaries, you know the year 2000 there’ll be the uprising and all that, racial violence on the streets. My aim was political. It was to cause a racial war in this country. There’d be a backlash from the ethnic minorities, then all the white people will go out and vote BNP.” – David Copeland
The bombings were aimed at London’s Black, Bengali and LGBTQ+ communities. On 2nd May 1999, the Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Branch charged 22-year-old David James Copeland with the murder and bombings. Copeland was found out to be a Neo-Nazi militant and a former member of two major political groups namely the British National Party and later the National Socialist Movement. Copeland was later found guilty and was charged with murder with 6 life sentences as punishment in 2000. Copeland was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and a personality disorder during his court hearing. However, these diagnoses were not enough to keep him from being charged with murder and therefore he was punished.
Nail Bomber: Manhunt is a good example of two things. One is the perils of far-right extremism, the belief that terrible beliefs logically lead to awful action. The other is how critical it is to resist extremism together, with many different groups and organizations coming together in the centre for the common good. Beyond the obvious, the sorrow is that it took such a horrible crime and numerous deaths for people to reach a common ground. In any case, Nail Bomber: Manhunt is a strong piece of contemporary documentary film.
Nail Bomber: Manhunt makes frequent use of archival material and old police recordings, which has an effect on the viewers as they live through the gruesome times again. Copeland is the personification of neo-Nazism, unabashed and dispassionate, supported by weak institutions and residual prejudices. His acts were heinous and it did send shivers down my spine as to how much can someone hate people, but they could have been avoided, as we’ve been reminded time and time again. His hatred was so widespread that it attracted enough like-minded individuals to lead to his imprisonment, which was made possible by the combined efforts of the targeted communities and an undercover source within the BNP who anticipated Copeland’s intentions.
The case of David Copeland makes you angry and sad at the same time. Because again you’re seeing the prejudice and hatred towards certain communities that haven’t stopped in 21 years. To date, we hear cases of Black, Asian, and Queer deaths and discrimination and it is more political than personal sometimes. Every passing year a new slogan is yelled for equality sometimes it’s Black Lives Matter, sometimes it’s Stop Asian Hate and sometimes it’s Love is Love, the drill never stops and neither does the hatred.
It’s moments like this, when you consider the number of victims, that you’ll be perplexed and disgusted that this man was able to harm so many innocent people. Despite this, Nail Bomber: Manhunt ends on a positive note, with the audience delighted. Despite their suffering, they continue to lead their lives with a strong sense of hope.
Stream It or Skip It
STREAM IT! Nail Bomber: Manhunt in its entire duration keeps viewers engaged with real-time footages and more. Additionally, the documentary does not over-dramatize the entire crime and rather puts it forward in the best possible way without overshadowing the intent of the creation.
Nail Bomber: Manhunt is streaming now on Netflix.