As is usual on these occasions I will start out by stating my sympathies for the victims and families of the London attack – I can’t imagine the pain of loss.
Again we have seen a angry man, consumed by hatred, justified by his beliefs and encouraged by the notion that its okay to kill, maim or die for some cause or other. In this case its a criminal from Essex with a substantial history of violent offences. He’s attracting a lot of attention at home because the UK doesn’t usually witness this sort of event, he’s getting a lot of notice abroad because he converted to Islam a few years ago and his new name is Khalid. Inevitably his crimes are therefore being reported as terrorism and getting a lot more media attentioninternationally than they probably warrant .
But really he’s just another angry killer: a wee bit older than your usual terrorist (who tend to be in their middle to late 20’s) but for all that, still just a man with a grudge. This is not to minimise the effect this will have on his victims, which will be terrible, but we should keep our reaction to the perpetrator sober and realistic. Each year around 500 people are killed in homicides in the UK.
Meanwhile, we have thousands of people employed to go to war to kill under orders, sit in the cinema and you will see plenty of violence, much of it presented for your enjoyment, and TV and literature loves a murderer. The US has a love of guns and violence – so much so that the NRA (National Rifle Association) is possibly more powerful than the president and using weapons to ‘defend’ yourself is enshrined in law. Worldwide ISIS and various other terrorist organisations (some loosely adherent to a bastardised version of Islam) commit violent crimes which they justify as some sort of fight against the West. In the recent past, violent men and a few women have killed countless people because of their love of country, a hatred for their country’s current government, because they wish that they had a different government, because there is too many socialists or capitalists, too many Jews, too many blacks or just because they wanted a brief moment of fame.
We have experts that parade onto television at times like these to tell us what has gone wrong and how we can fix it – some people think that violent oppression of one sort of another is the answer, others that violent intervention abroad will do the trick.
Over time violence and death are indeed becoming less frequent in global terms, but you know what has fixed it? Prosperity, trade and civilisation – meaning increased respect for women and children and other races and for those who follow different sexual paths too. Better education and more cash to spend will protect your loved ones better than any amount of guns in a hall cupboard. Ask the US – so many guns, so many deaths.
What has never worked? The glorification and justification of violence. Its about time we stopped viewing violence as entertainment, stopped believing that violent intervention was ever justified by governments or those opposed to them, and that violent oppression was ever going to be justified by your god, your ideology or your boss.
And the news should report soberly and minimally about these incidents because somebody somewhere is getting a kick out of seeing the attention this madman garnered and wondering if they could be the next martyr to the cause of minimally justified violence.