Monday, June 19, 2017

Copycat terror attack in London as a man rams into Muslims.

A victim is taken away on a stretcher after the attack. NBC/AP. 

A copycat terrorist has used the ramming tactics so common in recent attacks and adapted them to attack a group of Muslims, wounding 10 people in London. NBC News. The attacker drove his rented van into a group of people who were attending to a man who had collapsed. The man later died though it is unclear if he died due to the ramming attack or to his unrelated collapse. The community then captured and detained the man until authorities could arrive and arrest him. The attack comes on the heels of several Islamist terror attacks in the UK, including two similar ramming attacks and the Manchester suicide bombing. Witnesses claim that the suspect was specifically targeting Muslims. 

My Comment:
Before I get into the meat of this post I do have to say that I obviously condemn this attack. Whatever the issues the UK is having with it's Muslim population, getting into a van and running over a bunch of people isn't going to solve anything. Indeed, it seems like it would be massively counterproductive and may serve to further radicalize Muslims and push some of the moderates out of the fold. It also feeds into the worst tendencies of the political left, who will use this attack as a counterpoint to any criticism of terrorism or the governments response to it.

I also have to commend the heroism of the people on the scene. Not only did they capture the suspect they managed to capture them alive. Considering the circumstances, that was no small feat and it is impressive that they were able to resist the urge to dispense street justice to the suspect. I am not sure if I would have been so restrained. Either way though, I always respect people that put their lives on the line to defend others.

That being said, this was a sad but predictable outcome of the UK's recent problems with terrorism and Islam in general. The attacks that have rocked the UK have been terrible and I was frankly expecting some kind of blowback against Islam after the Westminster, Manchester and London Bridge attacks. Not to mention the non-terror related issues that the Muslim community have been involved in in the UK, like the Rotherham scandal. Indeed, I am amazed that it took this long for something like this to happen.

Why? Because, to the average person on the street, the UK government isn't doing a thing to prevent those problems. The message that the UK government has been sending is that these incidents are just part and parcel of living in the modern world and that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. Their main public response seems to have been to crack down on critics of Islam instead of bringing radicals to justice. They preach unity and togetherness but never responsibility and vigilance and have gone so far as to charge people with crimes for expressing their anger with the situation. I am sure that the UK is actually working hard to find and arrest the threats, but the public message seems to be that "Muslims are fine no matter what and anyone that objects to the murder of children is racist and is also going to be arrested".

When the government message is that is it any surprise that someone decided to take things into their own hands? We don't know the background of the attacker but I am guessing that he felt that nothing was being done to prevent these terror attacks and all the other problems caused by the lack of integration of Muslims in the UK and that somebody had to do something. He obviously chose the wrong thing to do by targeting people that are almost certainly completely innocent, but when the government doesn't seem to care that the people they are required to protect are getting murdered, is it even a surprise?

And this is what I am so afraid of. The UK and Europe might be heading into a death spiral of terror attacks. A cycle of revenge could be forming that could destroy the whole continent. Until now the people of Europe have had a tremendous amount of restraint but if the pace of terror attacks continues, there will be more reprisal attacks like this one. You can only push people so far before they start to push back. Remember, the Manchester bombing targeted children and so did the Rotherham rape/human trafficking gang. Once kids are being killed, all bets are off the table. Reprisal attacks were almost a given. Those reprisal attacks will further enrage radical Muslims and may push the moderates into the arms of the radicals. Actions like the terror attack today in London could actually radicalize peopl. If this tit for tat cycle goes on for long enough then it will be civil war. This is, of course, what groups like ISIS want.

Can that be avoided at this point? I am not sure it is even possible anymore. Even if the UK changed course and somehow came up with the perfect plan, it would still take a lot of time and effort to implement it. And in the meantime there will be more attacks and counter attacks. And I have seen no indication that the UK will take the steps I think that they need to take.

What are those steps? Here's a short list:

-Acknowledge that though there are many hundreds of millions and even perhaps billions of normal to good Muslims in the world, there is a major portion of the religion that is violent and dangerous. Not all Muslims are bad, but it's completely stupid to think all of them are good as well. This should be so obvious that it shouldn't be uncontroversial but to say it out loud makes you a "racist" in the United States and a criminal in Europe.

-Make it very clear to the public that the government cares about what happens to all of their people. All so often the press and the government goes on and on about the backlash against Muslims, which in this case was finally justified. In the vast majority of cases though, the backlash against a terror attack isn't anywhere near as bad as the actual terrorist attack. Yes it is terrible when an innocent Muslim gets yelled at for something they had nothing to do with, but it is way worse to be killed or injured in a terror attack. We should condemn the people that actually kill and not the people that are just angry and need reassurance that their lives matter. (This obviously also counts in reverse. The UK government should and probably will offer that reassurance to the Muslim community. The fact that they won't do so for everyone else is the problem)

-Don't crack down on free speech for anyone. Trying to make an idea forbidden is a great way to grow that idea. You can't stop people from thinking things that are inconvenient to you, no matter how much you try. Doing so will just increase the appeal of the idea, especially when the idea is that different people are being treated differently by the government. Let people express their anger so they can deal with it in a healthier way. Anything short of actual incitement to violence should be allowed.

-Provide a counterargument that isn't just faux unity drivel. "We are better than the terrorists" is way better than "we are all united against terrorism, but by the way white people suck and there is nothing we can do about terrorism anyways".

-Make sure to both parties understand that the cycle of revenge is a fools game and one that can destroy everything.

Will any of that happen? I sincerely doubt it. And as more terror attacks happen I am guessing that more people will be fed up with the perceived lack of action and even basic acknowledgement of the problem and there will be more reprisal attacks. Sooner or later the cycle of revenge will turn into actual war. I have thought for years that his would happen in Europe after the massive migration waves and it seems that it may be coming to pass if the trend started by this attack continues. The reaction to this attack and the attacks that I am sure will come will likely be the new status quo. Let's just hope that somehow the United States doesn't fall into the same trap...

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