More murder and mayhem

Nice_5d442ae46d1ba4d41823fee1db758ede_250While the biggest terrorist attack in recent days was in Kabul where at least 80 were killed and 231 wounded in a suicide attack on a Hazara minority crowd who were demonstrating against inadequate power infrastructure in their home villages, we worry more about attacks in France and Germany, because their societies are more like ours.

We need to look at the evidence in each case, to see what we can learn. To take the last first, police believe the Munich killings were linked to the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik rather than to IS:

    Police who searched the 18-year-old’s room say they found written material on attacks.

    The gunman, who later killed himself, had a 9mm Glock pistol and 300 bullets.

    Police are investigating whether he may have lured his victims through a Facebook invitation to a restaurant.

    He is suspected of using a fake account under a girl’s name to invite people to the McDonald’s restaurant where he launched his attack.

The perpetrator had been obsessed with mass killings, they said. Also:

    Police say the gunman had been in psychiatric care, receiving treatment for depression.

Seven of the dead were teenagers, three from Kosovo, three from Turkey and one from Greece.

The perpetrator was born in Munich, a dual German-Iranian national, who shouted anti-foreigner slurs and yelled “I’m German” at a man who challenged him..

More may be revealed later.

Authorities and the people in Germany had been alert and alarmed by an incident in a train near Würzburg on Monday that left five people injured. A 17 year-old asylum seeker used a knife and an axe to attack Chinese tourists, and was duly shot by police. Ostensibly he was an Afghani, but may have been a Pakistani who pretended to be Afghani to improve his chances of gaining asylum, and may have been older than 17.

The name he used, and was registered under in Germany, was different from the one used by IS in claiming responsibility. He had initially been thought of as self-radicalising, but a video had appeared foreshadowing the attack.

    German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters in Berlin Wednesday that the attacker appeared to have acted alone, but was goaded by propaganda from the “Islamic State” group. De Maiziere confirmed that a video of the young man circulated by “IS” supporters was authentic, but it was not yet clear when it was filmed.

    “It is perhaps a case that occupies a grey area between a crazed rampage and a terrorist act,” de Maiziere said.

The incident has raised questions about unaccompanied minors, many of whom are economic refugees.

    According to a study published in April by Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Foundation, about 154,000 Afghan citizens migrated to Germany in 2015, of whom 32,000 applied for asylum. More than 120,000 Afghan citizens remained in Germany without authorisation or had moved on to other countries, according to the study.

    The study found that most Afghan migrants were young and male. The majority of family members who were interviewed for the survey said they had fled their country because of the economic situation.

Joel Schalit, News Editor of EurActiv.com, talks about:

    trauma that many refugees carry with them to Europe. Murder, torture, homelessness, impoverishment – every conceivable wound imaginable, consistently received across a vast geography, from Pakistan all the way to Syria.

    The psychological damage the refugees are bringing with them is comparable to that of Holocaust survivors, and survivors of aerial bombardments of Europe’s cities during WWII. Perhaps even more so, given the duration of the conflict, which is now over three times as long as the war.

Some of these damaged young men don’t need much to radicalise them. The press has picked up the term “self radicalisation”.

Riaz Khan Ahmadzai, the Würzburg perpetrator, arrived in 2015, was fostered by a German family, had an apprenticeship, appeared to be integrating, but left a letter vowing to take revenge on the infidels and kill them in their own homes.

In the Nice attack, where 84 people were killed by a truck, it was at first thought of as a lone act by a mentally unstable person, given to personal violence, who had recently been radicalised.

Now it seems five others assisted him and he’d been planning the attack for over a year. For the full story, see the report by Ann Barker on ABC RN’s The World Today.

It’s not clear, however, that those assisting constituted, were part of, or were linked to organised terrorist groups.

Whatever the causes and the motivation, three attacks on civilians in eight days.

So what do we do?

Malcolm Turnbull says we’ll have have to re-think how large gatherings of people can be protected, and he’s also following up a recommendation that ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organisation) should have access to terrorist suspects’ mental health records.

That’s scary.

Jacinta Carroll, head of the Counter Terrorism Policy Centre at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, says anyone organising mass events will need to think about such things as physical security and the possible role of first responders.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, interviewed by Der Spiegel, said Germany would continue to have its carnival parades, football matches, church congresses and Oktoberfest, but security would be more in evidence, they would do what they could, but “no constitutional state in the world is in a position to prevent every crime, every massacre or every terrorist act with absolute certainty.”

Cindy Wockner, writing for News Corp, brings some useful perspective.

Some things once seen cannot be unseen, for example this picture from Nice:

Nice_7f861acd4a20ae7525a89b45ab876e83_600

We don’t know the story of the image, may never know, but with it comes fear and the realisation that it could happen anywhere:

    Where will it happen next? How do we stop it? Why is it happening? So many questions, so few answers. Too many tears, so much hatred and too many ill-informed commentators.

No easy answers.

According to the latest Global Terrorism Index in 2014 a total of 78 per cent of those killed by terrorists were in just five countries — Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria.

Some 30 of the 84 victims in Nice were Muslim.

    at the end of the day, preaching separation and calling for a halt to Muslim immigration only plays into the hands of those who wish to harm us. It makes the Muslim community feel alienated and less likely to trust authority, therefore less likely to report suspicious activity to authorities who are then, as a result, less likely to stop it. We know this because the police tell us. Police agencies need intelligence to operate.

And we need to learn how to talk about terrorism and our fears. George Brandis, for once, made a useful contribution. He defined “terrorism” as:

    an act or threat of violence motivated by an ideological cause to coerce government or intimidate the public.

He declined to call the Munich incident terrorism.

It’s worth another post, but there was the controversy sparked by Andrew Bolt, who wants to restrict Muslim immigration, linking Muslim populations with terrorist attacks, and breakfast host Sonia Kruger, who agreed with him. Then came Waleed Aly, who upset some people with his notion of ‘radical empathy’, of accepting, understanding, and I think “forgiving” Kruger’s fears, to break the cycle of anger and hatred.

Good luck, Waleed, people love their right to be angry!

Of course, it’s what they do with their anger that matters, as Uri Freedman who picked up the story at The Atlantic says.

It’s worth a read.

By the way, the Kabul attack was IS, not the Taliban, the first of its kind in that country. That is a worry.

Update: Back in 2014 I did a piece Terrorism deaths in perspective, based on an article by Bernard Keane in Crikey:

    In the 10 years from 2003 to 2012 a total of 417 people in Australia died from falling out of bed, 230 from falling off ladders and 198 from falling off chairs. Rational analysis tells us that we are more at risk from ourselves and our loved ones than from terrorists. Suicides come in at 22,800 and homicides at 2,617. Somewhere between 700 and 1000 women and children have been killed by their parents or partners.

53 thoughts on “More murder and mayhem”

  1. Update: Back in 2014 I did a piece Terrorism deaths in perspective, based on an article by Bernard Keane in Crikey:

      In the 10 years from 2003 to 2012 a total of 417 people in Australia died from falling out of bed, 230 from falling off ladders and 198 from falling off chairs. Rational analysis tells us that we are more at risk from ourselves and our loved ones than from terrorists. Suicides come in at 22,800 and homicides at 2,617. Somewhere between 700 and 1000 women and children have been killed by their parents or partners.
  2. Just in:

    One person has been killed and 10 injured in an explosion in Ansbach, near the German city of Nuremberg, that appears to be intentional, Government authorities say.

    The explosion at a restaurant late on Sunday night appears intentional.

  3. The Munich gunman appears to have planned the attack for a year.

    He had been under psychiatric care in a hospital for two months in 2015. Also:

    the shooter had a history of having been bullied by his peers, and in 2012 had been injured in an attack by other young people that had been reported to police.

    They’ve arrested a 16 year-old Afghan believed to have been a friend of the attacker was arrested on “suspicion of being an accessory”.

  4. Just to put things in context:
    An SBS article on murder said that :

    Fewer people are getting murdered in Australia, with the homicide rate hitting a record low.

    The latest report of the National Homicide Monitoring Program reveals there were 247 victims and 260 offenders in 2010-11 and 264 victims and 272 offenders in 2011-12.

    That works out to a national rate of 1.1 victims per 100,000 people, the lowest since the program started in 1989.

    By comparison, the 2012 rate in the US was 4.7 murders per 100,000.

    The report, by the Australian Institute of Criminology, shows knives were the most common murder weapons, responsible for 187 deaths (37 per cent), while beatings accounted for 125 deaths (24 per cent).

    Guns killed 69 people (14 per cent).

    The study shows indigenous people continue to be over-represented as both murder victims – 85 of the 511 victims in the two-year period – and as perpetrators, with 74 of the 532 offenders.

    Alcohol continues to feature in a large number of homicides. It is consumed by either victim or murderer in one-third of all cases.

    That’s actually an improvement – in 2008-10, alcohol featured in half.

    Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the homicide rate had trended down, with an 18 per cent reduction in the past 25 years.

    He said women continued to be over-represented as victims of intimate partner homicide, with 83 victims in the period 2010-12.

    “However, victimisation of women and girls reached a historic low and remained stable across the two-year reporting period, with a rate of 0.8 per 100,000,” he said in a statement.

    In terms of suicide this ABC fact check links to data on suicides and road deaths Key points:

    The Australian Bureau of Statistics collects data on the causes of death for everyone who dies in Australia.

    The data is based on the cause recorded by doctors on death certificates, or by a coroner.

    Criteria for reporting deaths to coroners vary across states and generally include where a person has died in a violent or unnatural manner, which includes by accident and suicide.

    Deaths classed by the ABS as suicides include cases where the coroner has determined the death was a suicide, or where the ABS has investigated further and found indications a person wanted to take their own life.

    The most recent data available shows that 2,522 people took their own life in 2013, compared with 2,098 in 2004.

    2522 is about 7 deaths per day of which over 5 per day are men. On traffic deaths the link said that there were 1187 deaths from traffic crashes in 2013.

    None of the above means that the potential for terrorism should be ignored. However, we should be wary of those who want to reduce our freedoms in the name of terrorism.

  5. I often point out that it was Tony Abbott, not Bob Brown that inspired me to become an active Green member in 2010.
    With that in mind we might like to ask ourselves how many Muslim youths who become attracted to Islamic extremism are inspired by the likes of Abbott, Hanson and Bolt rather radical Islamic leaders.

  6. What sort of non-tobacco substances are these people smoking?

    By all means, narrow the focus in our search for ways to frustrate those who would make cowardly attacks on innocent people just for fun …. but let’s not help the terrorists by deluding ourselves that there is one single magic cause for all terrorist attacks. We’ve been through that nonsense before, “It’s because they are Communists” and “It’s because they are Irish” and then “It’s because they are Moslems”. And this week’s doozy is “It’s because they have mental health issues”.

    Nothing practical about how to hinder the puppet-masters of terrorist attacks manipulating vulnerable targets into blowing up themselves, along with as many innocent bystanders as possible. Nothing practical about getting the would-be candidates for Paradise to blow up the evil manipulators instead; foist them on their own petard.

    Makes me wonder whether we are paying some of these people to watch B-grade action-hero movies for inspiration rather than to find effective measures to make acts of terrorism really counter-productive.

    I do not feel “relaxed and comfortable”.

  7. The latest from Florida:

    Two teenagers have been killed and more than a dozen wounded in a shooting at a Florida nightclub, which police say was not an act of terrorism.

    Club Blu in Fort Myers was reportedly hosting a “teen night”, when gunfire erupted in the car park, hitting partygoers as young as 12.

  8. Police have shot dead two men who took a priest and several others hostage at knifepoint at a church in north-western France.

    The men shouted “Daesh” and cut the priest’s throat before being “neutralised,” police said.

    Le Figaro newspaper reported that the priest died after his throat was cut.

    The men’s motives are still unknown.

    Well it’s a real tough one that…..

  9. Now we have 19 people killed with a knife and 26 injured at a facility for disabled people in Sagamihara, Japan. The perpetrator was a former employee who was dismissed when he proposed that the disabled be euthanased.

    Graham, it’s not the whole story, but I can run with this week’s doozy “It’s because they have mental health issues” insofar as none of the perpetrators are right in the head.

    However, ‘mental health’ is problematic, as the profession has been in considerable disarray, and Big Pharma has carved up and pathologised human experience, producing and flogging drugs to make us ‘better’.

    So I’m not sure that fingering ‘mental health’ is going to get us far.

  10. Brian: You are spot on about the pathologising of the human experience. A good friend of mine, intelligent and resilient, has a significant psychiatric disorder as well as unrelated but very distressing life experiences. So most of the treatment effort is directed at the half that generates the most money – whilst the psychiatric disorder has been well controlled, for years, by reliable and inexpensive medications …. ggrrrr!

    Anyway, back to terrorism. Haven’t done any “fact check” but it seems to me, these days, most of the terrorist atrocities committed by those claiming to be Moslems are against fellow Moslems. Often Moslems of a different sect or a different ethnicity, but Moslems nonetheless: Yazidi or, as you pointed out, Hazari.

    It is very important to distinguish very clearly between Mass Murder,( such as the Port Arthur massacre, the tragedy in Norway or the recent murder of several disabled Japanese) and Terrorist Atrocities which are claimed to be connected to a specific ideology or religion. If we do not make that clear distinction, we will only waste most of our resources and effort.

    The two most important vulnerabilities the terrorist have revealed are: (1) The leaders, the manipulators, the instigators themselves take fine care never ever to risk their own lives. They are gutless wonders. (And strange it is that The West has never bothered to mention this serious weakness in all their propaganda). (2) The targets are always soft targets, only rarely military personnel or protected installations. They attack families out enjoying themselves, ordinary people buying their daily necessities in a market-place or souk, people at prayer or in a religious procession, travellers on buses or trains, or, as in the case of the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram, the daughters of ordinary decent families. Never mind bombing the False Caliphate out of existence; attacking the propensity to attack Soft Targets would be far more effective and a hell of a lot cheaper.

  11. It suits some attackers to claim a link with IS because it gets more attention. It suits IS to take the credit for attacks because it increases fear of their brand – it all makes it hard to work out what is really going on.
    GB how would you attack the propensity to attack soft targets?

  12. GB how would you attack the propensity to attack soft targets?

    I’d say reduce the softness, making for less targets.
    But that’s just me.

  13. Jumpy, it was clear from the beginning that the the kid who killed the priest was motivated by radical jihadi views, but they needed to nut out the full story.

    Now they have, and it’s not pretty.

    He was a nutter from when he was young, and then tried to run off to Syria a couple of times, which landed him in the clink. He was let out in March by the judge against the prosecutor’s wishes, on a promise to reform. He was wearing a tag, and only allowed outdoors for four hours a day, which he stuck to.

    Seems he was still a nutter, who drove his family mad. Another teenager said he’s talked about attacking a church two months ago.

  14. John

    There is a lot of soft targets to protect Jumpy.

    I don’t want physical protection, only the right to protect myself, which is denied by those who demand a monopoly on protection, for a non negotiable fee of course.

  15. Jumpy, you already have the right to protect yourself. We all do.
    I presume you mean you want to go armed in public.
    But that won’t protect you from car bombs or a maniac in an explosive vest, and it probably won’t be much use against a maniac driving a 17 tonne truck.
    As an Australian your risk of being killed or injured by a terrorist is miniscule compared to the risk you face of death from falling out of bed. And your trusty M-16 can’t save you from that.

  16. Zoot, how are most nutbags, in a killing spree stopped ( not the ones that stop themselves ), what mode?

    Hint; it’s not tougher murder laws or hoping they fall out of bed.

  17. Jumpy: Who protects us from armed maniacs who think they are protecting themselves from soft targets like me?

  18. how are most nutbags, in a killing spree stopped ( not the ones that stop themselves ), what mode?

    Gee Jumpy, I don’t know.
    I would guess the ones that don’t top themselves are usually stopped by the constabulary.
    I’m willing to bet that the number taken down by a God fearing ordinary citizen wielding a firearm is vanishingly small.

  19. Interesting one on what sort of person joins cults and terror groups The article suggested that:

    Reducing the appeal of radical ideologies

    Due to recurring links between such indicators and recruitment to destructive groups, governments should enact programs and policies that help tackle these factors.

    Counselling, drug rehabilitation, sex education, mentoring, community engagement and the mitigation of domestic violence may help prevent radicalisation.

    In a free and open society, some people will undoubtedly adopt destructive beliefs and behavioural outcomes. However, many of the aforementioned psychological and environmental factors can be corrected or alleviated, reducing the risk of radicalisation.

    Potential recruits often fall through the cracks of society and turn to the wrong people for solutions. Even if Islamism and cult ideologies died out tomorrow, problematic psychological and circumstantial factors create an environment conducive to radicalisation.

  20. Jumpy: I can think of situations where a competent, armed person may have been able to halt something like the Port Arthur massacre. Problem is that competent means someone who can shoot straight, stay cool and make good judgments about things like when a shot can be fired without hitting innocent people. And….
    The other problem is that the good guys aren’t labelled. If you have a lot of armed citizens responding to an attack there will be a real chance of the good guys shooting each other while the bad guy slips away once the carnage has started.
    Then there is often a problem with the sort of person who wants to be one of these armed citizens and kill the bad guys.
    I think Australia has got it right and the relative murder rates in armed America vs unarmed Australia strongly support this.

  21. How many terrorist attacks in Switzerland have been stopped by an armed citizen? I don’t remember anything in the news, but we are dreadfully parochial.
    BTW Jumpy, what weapon do you carry to defend yourself right now, when carrying an assault rifle is illegal in Australia?
    How do you defend yourself as you walk the mean streets of Mackay – A knife? A baseball bat? A sap?

  22. John D – there is another problem with relaxing firearm laws. If we make it easier for the good guys to carry weapons we can’t avoid making it easier for the bad guys.
    I agree that Australia has pretty much got it right.

  23. How many terrorist attacks in Switzerland have been stopped by an armed citizen?

    All the ones that didn’t occur because the terrorist chose a softer target.

    If we make it easier for the good guys to carry weapons we can’t avoid making it easier for the bad guys.

    Rubbish, the bad guys have them illegally, because they’re bad guys. I could get, for the right money, 2 handguns with ammo tomorrow. Stricter gun laws make not one bit of difference to them.

  24. Jumpy: Our gun laws mean that if you are carrying an illegal gun you are breaking the law and can be punished for it. Sure it doesn’t stop everyone but it does discourage.

  25. zoot

    Jumpy, you avoided my question regarding how you arm yourself now.

    You would have to threaten me to find out. You don’t.
    Now stop avoiding mine please.

    Why always the comparison to the US?
    Why not Switzerland or Jamaica ?

  26. Why always the comparison to the US?

    I didn’t make a comparison to any country (John D mentioned the USA). Ergo, I didn’t avoid your question.

    From your response to my question I will assume you don’t feel threatened enough to carry a weapon as you go about your daily business now. Yet you are desperate to carry a gun. Do you have some sort of fetishistic John Wayne fantasy?

    If I’ve reached an incorrect conclusion, and you do carry a weapon everywhere, that speaks to a level of fearfulness that means the terrorists have already won (when it comes to you anyway).

  27. I was thinking along the lines of John D’s comment. I think we have to leave shooting the baddies to those trained to do so.

    I can’t recall any citizen successfully intervening to take out a bad guy in countries where citizens can carry guns.

    I have heard of family members being shot going to the bathroom at night.

  28. And let us not forget that every year at least one person in the USA is shot by their dog.

    Hmm, and 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs per year, ( 30-40 fatally ).
    Are we to have tighter dog ownership laws where background checks are the bare minimum ?
    Anyone that passes the stringent dog handlers licence conditions must keep their ( potentially lethal in the wrong hands ) dog in a locked cabinet and certainly not walk around openly displaying the beast [ think of the frightened children !!].

    Look, I know some people ( mainly women ) like to take their dog when they walk around by themselves for exercise because of the feeling of security and the literal protection that a dog can provide. But ay, armed with such a thing in public, and a potential for a mentally disturbed individual to sic it onto an innocent passer by is to greater risk in a civilised society, particularly if it’s an assault dog ( Rottweiler, Alsatian, Doberman…)
    Worse still if these “weapons of war” fall into the hands of organised criminals!!

    Best we ban dogs altogether to lower the risk of that happening. Coz you know what they say :- “” If we make it easier for the good guys to walk dogs, we can’t avoid making it easier for the bad guys.””

  29. And don’t get me started on motor cars, ban them, bicycles only.
    We’ve all see the carnage inflicted!
    We must relinquish our right to drive, because, idiots!!

  30. Australia has tightened up on gun, bike and dog laws Jumpy. The world hasn’t fallen apart and you may be able to find be stats that show all these things have reduced deaths and injuries as well as making both walking and biking more pleasant and safer.

  31. No, since 2004 bicyclist fatalities are up. Dog attacks are up and gun deaths are declining at the same rate as before Howards brainfart.
    It’s all on the Net, you’ll learn plenty in the search, some contrary to the beliefs you hold now.

  32. Jumpy, I can’t be bothered looking it up, but I understand that in the Brisbane City Council area walking a dog off-leash is verboten. There are fenced areas where you can take your dog for a run.

    I believe also that certain breeds are verboten.

    A big danger with dogs is dogs attacking other dogs. We used to have a poodle, and not everyone with a big dog in the area obeyed the rules.

  33. We used to have a poodle

    No comment….

    But seriously, when is enough enough with regulating ?

  34. Jumpy, the poodle was a gift to our son when he was about 11 years old. They are amazingly intelligent, hard to train, and they have wool rather than hair, so they don’t make a mess or cause allergies.

    But a Staffordshire bull terrier could have ripped it apart in seconds. Could do the same to toddlers.

    Unfortunately people are irresponsible at times, so we have rules and penalties.

  35. Brian
    And some are deliberately harmful, preying on the weak soft spots.
    When the legislation isn’t a deterrent, i should, as a human right and law abiding citizen, defend myself and mine.
    Right?

  36. But a Staffordshire bull terrier could have ripped it apart in seconds. Could do the same to toddlers.

    Not mine, unless its possible to sniff someone apart.

  37. When the legislation isn’t a deterrent, i should, as a human right and law abiding citizen, defend myself and mine.
    Right?

    No, Jumpy, if the right is extended to you it has to be extended to everyone, and in this instance that is not for the best.

  38. John D.: Frustrating those who get their jollies out of attacking soft targets?

    Scorn and loathing – not condemnation. Condemnation only rewards the gutless mongrels.

    Many of the attackers like to see themselves as Warriors Of Islam. So how would the real Warriors Of Islam throughout history regard the market-place bombers, the murderers of unarmed families? It is damned strange that our political spokes-dollies are too shy to point out that history’s great warriors would have had the heads of these 21st Century weaklings and fakes off in a flash.

    Instead of going Shock!!, Horror!! each time a terrorist atrocity occurs, thereby adding reward upon reward to the perpetrators, why doesn’t our glorious news media give us a dispassionate analysis of what is known about what happened? It would make such a lovely change – but to make that change would imply the possession of an IQ in excess of 55 or 60.

  39. History is a dark place GB: If you want to say :

    So how would the real Warriors Of Islam throughout history regard the market-place bombers, the murderers of unarmed families? It is damned strange that our political spokes-dollies are too shy to point out that history’s great warriors would have had the heads of these 21st Century weaklings and fakes off in a flash.

    you only have to go back to WWll to have both sides deliberately bombing innocent civilians in cities such as London and Hiroshima. Or if you want go back to the time of the Crusades? Be serious.

  40. both sides deliberately bombing innocent civilians in cities such as London and Hiroshima.

    And there was Nuremberg, which wasn’t a military target and was largely smashed, and Dresden, which was smashed, and…

  41. You considering immigrating to Venezuela ?

    Why?? I like living in Australia.
    I welcome the regulation which has made us one of the safest places on the planet. I even accept taxation as the price I must pay for this luxury.
    The only downside is the people trying to remove these benefits because they are too greedy and self-centred to recognise a civil society when they see it.

  42. Yes John, that does seem the mindset of socialists.
    The Citizens are just dumb kids and the Politicians are there to tell us how to live.
    I disagree of course.

  43. Muslim community leaders refuse to bury jihadist who killed the priest.

    On Staffy bull terriers, a bloke I worked for had one. The dog really liked human beings and I’m glad he liked me! He was apparently good around small kids.

    But if he saw any other animal or any other dog it was attack on sight. Not just attack to frighten, attack to kill.

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