As with all topics that may incite some anger or tackle sensitive issues I feel it best to start with a disclaimer. Whilst going through this post, please realise I in no way mean to belittle the deaths of people in these incidents, on the contrary I feel I’m doing them more of a service by illustrating the similarity between any other death before its time.
I may sound callous and detached but that’s mostly because I don’t see the difference between a death due to a terrorist attack than that of a bar fight gone wrong, or a mugging, or any other death that we cannot prevent.
Very briefly I just have to get my conspiracy and cynicism out of the way and say it is incredibly coincidental that these attacks are occurring right before a general election. Now I’m not saying they were orchestrated by the government or anything like that, it is just rather…odd.
Moving on swiftly from insanity and seeing patterns where there aren’t any, terrorism doesn’t have a home. We cannot pretend that we can go out and find terrorism and slap its bottom and that will stop it. In fact trying to quell the any type of extremist with violence or oppression will only in turn lead to a greater hatred of the oppressor and justify their views, possibly converting more people to their ideals. An ideological threat cannot be weeded out as it can come from anywhere, especially with the wide reach of the internet nowadays. Radicals can be brewed at home just as easily as they can abroad.
To this end, a neighbour of someone believed to be involved in the attack said how the man was “very much a member of the community”, “he was a very nice guy” and “he’s always been very affable, very pleasant”. Just like when you find out someone’s killed themselves, or had a psychotic breakdown and killed a bunch of people, the old “I never would have guessed, he was so normal”. That’s exactly the point, a lot of these things aren’t rational, they don’t always follow what you would expect to happen so how can you expect to predict them?
Quick side note with reference to the elections, and I believe this has been mentioned on the vast interweb, when the NHS is gone and healthcare is privatised are these private organisations going to be the ones to help the injured when these things occur? With cuts to police funding how is that going to help? It all seems rather counterintuitive to me that the people telling you they’re going to look after you are the people who are preventing the people who actually look after you (emergency services etc) from being able to do the best they can.
Let alone terrorist attacks, if we cut police forces who’s going to protect us from ourselves? Which segues nicely in to my next point.
In 2016 there were some 700 cases considered as homicides (100 were manslaughter cases so let’s call it 600). Now the numbers were similar for previous years, and unfortunately the statistics I was looking at didn’t mention if any of them were related to terror incidents. Either way, based on the information I was able to gather about terror attacks within the U.K. since 2010 there are only 38 deaths that can be attributed to terror attacks. These attacks include; a Ukrainian attacking muslims, islamic extremists killing a British soldier, a Britain First advocate killing an MP, the Westminster Bridge incident, the Ariana Grande concert and the London June attack. We’re more likely to be killed in something not considered a terrorist attack.
So looking at the numbers more people are murdered by non-terrorist actions than those considered to be due to extremism. Why do those 600 other lives matter less? What makes the fact that their life was stolen away from them any less noteworthy than a terrorist attack?
By giving these deaths more notice than any others you are proving that terrorists can have a greater impact in killing fewer people. It doesn’t matter how many they kill just so long as it’s done in the name of whoever or whatever we will be more shocked than we would otherwise. In my opinion this is what trivialises these peoples’ deaths. It turns them into political ammunition. Their deaths are used to fuel a different agenda, reducing them to nothing but statistics and saying that all these other deaths related to homicide are not of import. By placing such importance of the context of their deaths rather than the deaths themselves they are making the fact that the person is dead more a piece of secondary information. The real news is how and why they were killed.
Now, I may have mentioned this before, but I will try to explain why this really gets under my skin. Death is horrible. Any time, any place, any how. It really sucks. Especially when it is a life taken before its time, such as these. But these deaths, relating to crimes of passion, terrorism and any other type of homicide are incredibly difficult to prevent. We cannot control everything to ensure that no one ever stabs someone, or punches them in just the wrong way so that it’s fatal. We cannot prevent them. We can reduce the chances but it will never be zero.
Amongst all these deaths that are directly caused by other people we also have deaths that are indirectly caused by all of us. People die due to malnutrition, lack of access to proper healthcare or clean water. These are things we can prevent. Rather than invest money into these easily preventable deaths, we throw money at nuclear warheads, military operations to fight the ‘war on terror’ which will never work.
Why do the few lives lost in these attacks deserve to be fought for more than the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives lost to very preventable causes?
How can our inactions in these cases go unnoticed?
Again, death is horrible. These attacks are horrible. But if you’re telling me these families would be any less aggrieved if their child, lover or parent was stabbed in a bar, or run over by a drunk driver, then I think you’re insane.