“How safe is America?” or a similar question, endlessly rephrased a hundred different ways, is definitely the question of the week. The airways are thick with it, because America is undergoing one of its fits of being made to feel scared of the other, the outsider, the alien. We have witnessed, indeed we have been treated – so lavish was the coverage, to quite the most extended period of security theatre for years, stretched out over every channel in town. Thus justifying all that tax-payer money.
Goodness they even shut the city for it. One wounded gunman limping away and an entire city of four million is placed under military curfew. This is a wonderfully American over-reaction designed simply to instil a sense of overwhelming fear in its people. What other reason could there be? They weren’t very competent bombers. I mean seriously, a pipe bomb in a pressure cooker charged with black powder?
It doesn’t happen elsewhere. It didn’t happen in France during the days of the OAS in 1962 when they even tried to assassinate De Gaul on several occasions. It didn’t happen during the days of the Baader Meinhoff terrorists in 1970’s Germany who were truly murderous, and it most certainly did not happen in the 1980’s in Britain, even when the IRA managed to blow up the hotel that the Prime Minister and her cabinet were in for a party conference. At no time in any of these dark days was Paris, Bonn, or London closed. Grief, they never even put Belfast under a curfew and they were bombing and knee-capping people there every other night.
Whilst not taking away any of the horror of the outrage itself, or the individual tragedy for those caught up, it is an extraordinary action.
One might even suspect that far from seeking to encourage a stiff upper lip attitude, a sense of “Keep calm and carry on” a spirit of the blitz mentality, the government positively wants people to feel endlessly afraid of their neighbours and anything that does not exactly fit their accepted norm. To be made to think that what has happened is utterly extraordinary, and they are at elevated risk. To make them feel dependent on them the Government for their safety and above all not to ask why?
The actions this week have been called Terrorism, where elsewhere, like say Chicago or downtown Los Angeles four dead on one day would be called “Wednesday” or every-day. Five people died yesterday in a shooting in Seattle, and sadly I doubt anyone will remember it by the end of the week.
Last week I have estimated the deaths by firearms in the United States at about 85. Eighty five this week, next week, and every week to the end of time. Even at a rough extrapolation this is a staggering 4420 deaths by gunfire every single year not counting the maimed and injured. Year on year, on year.
If the American government wants to make your streets safer, more attention should be paid to sorting out Gun Control rather than concentrating entirely on terrorists. But that is just too difficult, and too many vested interests keep the legislature from acting in the interests of its people.
Copyright David Macadam 2013