Update: Another Night, Another Horror

London

You start to think that each day when nothing bad happens is a good day. Last night I was talking to my partner and friends who had been out for meals, and it had been a lovely early summer evening, partly because nothing bad had happened.

That was before 10pm, when three men rampaged through one of the busiest areas of central London and killed seven (so far – the body count is at this moment expected to climb, with many injured).

But what is our response to these attacks meant to be? Keep calm and carry on? How do you tackle homegrown radicals attacking independently without any real organisation and only a sense of grievance? When extremists are reduced to using knives and cars, we know they’re amateurs – but amateurs can still cause terrible damage.

When you start breaking down the stats of the years since the King’s Cross 7/7 bombings, one thing jumps out. All were terrorist converts, not born extremists, and several had established mental problems, from Asperger’s to schizophrenia.

That’s why it’s impossible for us to understand the mindset of someone who would kill children and sacrifice themselves for no real purpose, because the attacks achieve nothing at all.

One of the most disturbing aspects is the lack of consensus at the top level on what to do in the immediate term about the problem. Having embraced multiculturalism, are we now to follow Donald Trump and dismantle it? Surely that will only make things worse?

With an election in the offing and a disastrous exit from Europe barely planned, we’re left with the thought of our negotiators being Theresa May, famously a politician one uses as a load-and-point sniper on specific issues but not a forward-thinking strategist, and Jeremy Corbyn, a backward-looking career apologist who cannot remain stable on a single issue. Nobody else is in the running.

This is not war but a series of uncoordinated copycat crimes, ideas taken up from Nice and Paris, all originally stemming from 9/11 and the discontent leading up to it, an expression of contempt rather than a plan of action. One can’t help feeling that the roots of anger are little different from those of high school snipers.

And so we go on, helplessly accepting that this will not change anything, adopting a stoicism that can only allow us to shrug and say ‘How awful’.

 

26 comments on “Update: Another Night, Another Horror”

  1. Jan says:

    All condolences to the relatives and friends of the victims of this attack. May all the lives shattered by the injuries they have received be healed as best they can be.

    Utmost respect to the L.A.S and police officers who attended this outrage. Particularly the firearms officers who made split second decisions as to tackling suspects,wearing -what turned out to be fake- suicide vests. Somewhere down the line one poor soul will make a wrong decision and be ripped to shreds by the media, the politicos and the chattering people who will never face a decision of the like in their lives.

    Condolences to t

  2. Matt says:

    Well said Jan. Condolences to all those affected.

    Thanks Chris for your post It has helped me understand a little of why these things are happening.

  3. keith page says:

    Just seen a tv clip of Londoner ‘Gerard’ in Borough High Street who fought off armed fanatics with chairs, bottles etc when he saw a young woman being stabbed 10-15 times.If anyone deserves a bravery award, it’s this man.Well done, ‘Gerard’ .

  4. Ian Schofield says:

    Multiculturalism is part of the problem. Having encouraged large numbers of immigrants to lead separate and very different lives we have allowed an alien and backward ideology to take hold that we are now powerless to control. For an excellent insight read Douglas Murray’s new book ‘The Strange Death of Europe’ which details the contribution multiculturalism and post-colonial guilt has made to today’s tragic events. A few vigils and hashtags and then we will move on to the next atrocity. We are engaged in a war that we dare not recognise the very existence of. God bless those involved last night.

  5. admin says:

    Let’s not drag gods into it, Ian. ‘Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.’ – Dame Edith Cavell.

  6. Ian Schofield says:

    Chris, I think gods were dragged into the tragic events last night with “This is for Allah”.

  7. Steveb says:

    Random thoughts

    The combination of religion and government is always bad news. Islam lends itself to this: See Michael Cook, ancient religions, modern politics.

    The guy behind the Manchester bombing wasn’t a convert, was he. He was from a Libyan exile family.

    It’s tough if not impossible to separate the various strands of Islam from the political situations and cultures whence they come.

  8. Peter Dixon says:

    Excellent clip – the man is obviously behind the whole Trump / Russia thing. Can you believe in your own President? And even if he’s shown to be the biggest idiot on the planet will you still support him?

    Lots of this is a media thing. Go back to the 1970’s and you see the British Government at war with the IRA. The death and destruction, the mistrust, the fear were tangible. But we didn’t have smartphones and the internet to snowball every event into the carnival of horrors we can all see or contribute to on facebook or youtube.

    The IRA was an organisation (that included a bunch of homicidal nutters) with an aim and membership. Eventually an agreement was met and we don’t have precisely the same Irish problem.

    These new attacks are random events, carried out by individuals with no central organisation – only a burning need to attack ‘the West’ in all its evil ways. One answer is a sort of Soviet system where every street has someone who keeps an eye on their neighbours and reports daily to the security services.

    At the moment four people have managed to kill and injure dozens of people and halt campaigning twice during an election. They aren’t worried that they are considered as amateurs; they fully expected to be killed and used everyday, readily available, objects to cause murder and havoc. The ‘copycat’ nature of the attacks is a given, each event creates the right publicity bubble to make another individual or group try something else.

    Give it 40 years and we’ll have forgotten most of it and will have a whole new, totally unexpected, threat to society – but its going to be impossible to knock people over in a driverless car.

  9. Steveb says:

    @Peter
    What changed was Ireland. Many Irish people in the UK in the 70s and 80s sympathised with the IRA. As Ireland changed, the Irish in the UK changed.
    The problem is, Pakistan isnt about to change, Libya isnt about to change. Etc etc. And that means the people who bring Pakistan to the UK with them, and there are many of those, they won’t change. That creates the environment where the dark side – be the final link in the chain converts or not – can exist.

  10. brooke says:

    Condolences to all.

  11. chazza says:

    Perhaps a small start is to dismantle ALL faith schools so that all children grow up together untainted by religious ideologies and dogma…

  12. Peter Tromans says:

    My understanding of anything socio-political is zero. The motivator of the attacks may be personal dissatisfaction, large terror organisations or political intrigue amongst the elite. I don’t know. However, the consequences are clear. Words don’t serve for the individuals who are killed or injured. For the rest of us, it’s fear. Last night in Turin fear led to a stampede and 1,500 people were injured fleeing an explosion that was only a firework. But, how afraid should we be? Should we lock ourselves up or go around armed to the teeth? Those are decisions that need context.

    In a year around 14,000 people in England and Wales die from causes other than illness or suicide. Around 500 of those are classed as homicides and around half of the homicides are perpetrated by friends, family or acquaintances of the victim.

    Rationally, though we should be aware of terrorist attack (and all other dangers), we face many greater risks to our lives with total equanimity.

  13. Steveb says:

    Religion / causes become enabling environments for people to act out their own psyches.
    Sometimes that’s very good sometimes very bad
    ‘Jihadi John’ Mohammed Emwazi was a guy who liked tormenting and killing people, he was given an enabling framework both philosophically and operationally to do it.
    Anyone who likes to take only a positive view of human nature should remember what happened under Pol Pot, forwhich no one can blame Islam by the way.

  14. Steveb says:

    @peter
    Firstly people overestimate what is out of the ordinary
    Secondly dont underestimate that one day there will be a dirty bomb or similar in London

  15. Ian Mason says:

    All the comments here citing religion remind me of how the ‘Irish Troubles’ were reported back in the day. You would forever hear the words ‘Catholic’ and ‘Protestant’ being used as if the ‘Troubles’ were religiously motivated. Nowadays we more correctly label those people ‘republican’ and ‘loyalist’ and acknowledge the political causes and nature of the ‘Troubles’ that had their roots centuries before in the English occupation of Ireland. Also remember that there were many factions on both sides of the ‘Troubles’ just as there are multiple factions in play today.

    Although religion is used to motive some of the foot soldiers in these so called Islamist attacks (as it was by some in the ‘Troubles’), religion is not the root cause of this. As always, the root cause is political and the pursuit of doctrinaire ideology that is to do with power and the use of violence to obtain or retain that power.

    Unpopular as it might be to say it, these Islamist attacks haven’t arisen in isolation from western intervention in the middle east. While condemning these attacks, we must also shoulder some of the blame for permitting some of the things that have provoked them, just as we had to before we could start making peaceful inroads into the ‘Irish Troubles’. Remember that as we condemn the slaughter of innocent civilians in London, they are also being killed in Syria and the Yemen. We need to condemn that with just as loud a voice if we have any hope of reaching peaceful solutions.

    Damn, I really am sick and tired of all this violence. We teach our children “violence never solved anything” and “two wrongs don’t make a right” and then immediately forget this when it comes to choosing a course of action ourselves.

  16. Vivienne says:

    There is not going to be a quick solution to this. How Theresa May plans to implement ‘enough is enough’ isn’t clear either. Long term, one might hope the UN is strengthened as it now seems moribund. At home, I would favour no faith schools although there are thousands, probably,of Church of England schools that many here would baulk at losing. I think a major problem is just young men without enough to do to or a way to succeed in life. It seems too easy for them to drift through life looking for a way to become important. How did the Manchester bomber have access to several flats?

    Lack of integration has become a problem partly due to the ease of contact with the home country. Once people would have had to assimilate to a greater degree to get on.

  17. Peter Tromans says:

    Steve, I’d hope that the police and security organisations would spot and stop a dirty bomb, 9/11 or similar action before it happened. Attacks like yesterday’s, requiring few, untrained individuals, little preparation and relatively simple equipment and materials, must be much more difficult for them.

    Rare, high consequence events are not restricted to acts of terror such as a dirty bomb. One day, London will be devastated by a Tsunami or some other natural event or major accident. And no doubt it will return bigger and better as it did after the Great Fire!

    My point remains, ordinary people, like me, should not avoid London; we should carry on with their lives without undu fear.

  18. Jan says:

    Sorry I was going to write b4 I got interrupted (for about 12,hours!) condolences to the families of these three numpties who were daft enough to think they were honouring their God by causing road traffic carnage and stabbing I innocents out for a few beers. You’ve been had over by some very evil ideas,+ people lads and the shame and hurt you have brought to your own is beyond measure.

  19. Steveb says:

    The whole western intervention in middle east thing is a complete red herring imo. It’s like Black Lives Matter demoing at City Airport and actually it’s a bunch of middleaged white guys. People do what they want to do then find reasons/excuses. The only exception that I think was unlucky timing was the ugly pictures from Gaza at the same time Isis was kicking off, I do think in fact I am sure these had some motivational effect.

  20. Helen Martin says:

    We’ve had multi culturalism 40 years or more and it doesn’t seem to have hurt us in Canada. There are a few “nutters” on both sides of things but not much else. We prayed for the people of Manchester, Kabul, and London this morning. These crazies are killing those who should be their own. Everyone has to learn that dropping bombs and killing people does not improve the world. It seems as though individuals have to look straight into the mouth of hell before they learn the lesson and if they’re blowing themselves up it’s too late even for them.
    My sympathies are with all those affected by these insane acts.

  21. Charles (another one) says:

    Despite the insanity and random nature of the events of recent weeks and days it is worth remembering that for the first time in a thousand odd years of our island’s history we haven’t been involved in any massive wars with our near neighbours (despite events in Ireland) for a period of 70 odd years. A record? Most/all of these wars involved people of very similar faiths and political beliefs to our own.

    How many people were killed in for example bicycle/car/lorry accidents or regular car crashes in the last week, died of smoking related diseases, or drink related complications, drug overdoses or otherwise ‘preventable’ causes? Or indeed from the pollution of our air and water, of which we have had a timely reminder by the US’s President actions this week?

    So yes these events are tragic, of course they are, but so are a lot of everyday deaths we manage to live with.

    The Adam Curtis piece is also very interesting; of course Putin has been doing this. Your article about 1984 the other day also made some interesting points, but it was surely Big Brother’s use of propaganda and the continual promotion of enemies outside, so that an ally one week is an aggressor the next that is perhaps more relevant than some of Orwell’s other ideas. In fact if fits Curtis’s thesis very well?

    And don’t get me started on a certain elderly Australian’s forty-year mission to destroy the UK, at which he seems to have finally succeeded…

  22. Charles (another one) says:

    As to multiculturalism, it’s worth mentioning again that you can walk down any street in any British city, and many towns, and you will hear and see people of obviously different backgrounds and cultures getting on and sharing the same spaces despite all the different opinions and beliefs that might so easily divide them.

    “Rivers of Blood”, hardly.

    My dad always said that if you stood outside any playground in the world you would hear the same excited babble of children’s voices. It’s when they go quiet you need to worry.

  23. Dawn says:

    Aspergers IS NOT a mental illness. It is on the Autism Spectrum. As a mom of a high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder child, once again I have to educate that Aspergers, Autism and all others on the Spectrum are not classified as mental diseases, but Learning Disorders. You do so much research for Bryant and May about London’s history, please educate yourself about ASD.

  24. admin says:

    I didn’t say it was an illness, Dawn, I said it was a problem, i.e.. something to be solved. There’s a big difference.

  25. Dawn says:

    @ admin.. again, please do your research… ASD people are non violent. Ask any parent in the community how they feel when their child gets lumped in theses violent groups. Most ASD children are non verbal, and cannot even hold a crayon. Have eating issues as food textures are always a problem.. clothes.. they cannot have tags, long or short sleeves can be a problem,. I could go on and on.. I am lucky I have been able to get my son in great programs, and work with him, it takes time and a lot of patience, but violence, no, there you are wrong.

  26. Richard says:

    Dawn,

    Don’t you mean Mum not Mom?

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