Are all deaths equal? Martin McMahon looks at deaths from terrorism, mass killings, indiscriminate killings, deaths by gun-toting loonies in the U.S., malaria and hospital deaths. His verdict: "No, they are not".
ARE ALL deaths equal? Indeed they are not.
The media is scouring the world for any so called terrorist attack in a western democracy.
Every crazy person with a gun or knife is now a terrorist — a jihadist.
The only way a young person with delusions of notoriety can get on the news cycle is if they commit a crime and book it to some Prophet, that is unless or of course they are parasitic royalty or of course a Kardashian with a selfie stick.
But the strange thing is the response. It is now a matter of national pride to have a candle-lit procession following each “event”. The response which is something like: “We’re determined not to let the terrorists win”; so we will stop them with coloured candle vigils and coloured lights on important landmark buildings.
These are exactly the response they are looking for and it helps to motivate more irrational, disaffected, disenfranchised, depressed young people you sit at home in their own imaginary world playing violent video games looking for their own 15 minutes of fame.
The more lights they see the more these self-recruited freelancers who use Isis for self-justification are enamoured with dying.
Then we have the likes of Andrew Bolt making the world more difficult than it is.
As soon as someone says "I think Andrew Bolt might have a point”, you know nothing good is going to follow. So it was with Sonya Kruger.
Not only were her statements inflammatory they were entirely incorrect.
The population of Japan is 130 million not 165 million as she claimed and yes there is terrorism in Japan.
What about these? See link here.
The 1995 Tokyo subway sarin attack (5500 injured, 12 dead). Details here:
In five coordinated attacks, the perpetrators released sarin on several lines of the Tokyo subway during the rush hour, killing 12 people, severely injuring 50 and causing temporary vision problems for nearly 5,000 others. The attack was directed against trains passing through Kasumigaseki and Nagatachō, home to the Japanese government.
The bombings of the headquarters of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Tokyo in 1974 (207 injured, 8 dead), The Hokkaido Prefectural Government office building in Sapporo in 1976 (80 injured, 2 dead),
The Yosakoi-Soran Festival in Sapporo in 2000 (10 injured, none dead). The 1994 Matsumoto sarin attack (600 injured, 7 dead)
The 1998 Wakayama arsenic incident (67 injured, 4 dead).
What Is The Definition Of Terrorism?
With regard to mass killings, Japan's worst previous mass killing was in 2008, when a man drove a truck into a crowd and began stabbing people in Tokyo's popular electronics and "anime" district of Akihabara, killing seven people. In 2001, a knife-wielding man killed eight students in an elementary school in Ikeda in Osaka Prefecture.
Just recently: At least 19 people were killed and about 20 wounded in a knife attack at a facility for the handicapped.
Fourteen were injured in 2010 by an unemployed man who stabbed and beat up passengers on two public buses outside a Japanese train station in Ibaraki Prefecture.
However the response to Kruger and her ignorance was just weak and even pathetic.
“…I understand there are, people do feel unease about events overseas and some of the events we’ve seen in Australia. So we can’t pretend people don’t feel that fear”.
Waleed Aly said the same, more or less. Everyone should be afraid. He was essentially stating that it is entirely reasonable for Kruger to be fearful thus contributing to the normalisation of the sentiments behind Kruger’s views.
Then her own station Nine defends Kruger's "freedom of speech".
However so-called “freedom of speech” is not the ability to insult and offend whosoever we choose when we have a microphone in front of us. The original justification of “freedom of speech” was about the freedom to be critical of a government without retribution; without being charged with treason and being “hung drawn and quartered”.
Despite it being oft quoted, Voltaire didn’t say,
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
And if he thought of something similar he would have been referring to being allowed to be critical of government laws and decisions. Freedom of speech is not the freedom to offend anyone and everyone.
But Voltaire did say:
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
And he also said:
"The human brain is a complex organ with the wonderful power of enabling man to find reasons for continuing to believe whatever it is that he wants to believe."
What we think of as free speech is no more than what Noam Chomsky famously stated in The Common Good:
'The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum — even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.'
Despite the rise of social media, some people have substantially more influence over what information is distributed than others. Pointing out facts will make no difference because we were never designed to listen to reason, but here goes anyhow.
The Global Terrorism Index shows that 70 per cent of terrorist attacks in the west are carried out by so-called “lone wolf” assailants. The majority of these “lone wolves” are rightwing political extremists, not Islamic radicals.
The perpetrators of the atrocities in Brussels and Paris (Charlie Hebdo, Bataclan) were not recruited by ISIS: they recruited themselves in their lonely bedrooms, drawn to mass murder by mental illness: sociopaths, if you will. Add, most recently, San Bernardino and Orlando in the U.S.
The perpetrators were not jihadists looking for a swift ascent to paradise. They were rather looking for a place in history.
In the Munich carnage the authorities have unearthed no ISIS ties. But the man identified as the shooter, Ali David Sonboly, an 18-year-old, did undergo psychiatric care. And he took an intense interest in reports of mass killings. In his bedroom, investigators found a German language version of the book 'Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters.'
Sonboly was no victim of racism or poverty. He lived with his family in a nice middle-class neighbourhood near the centre of Munich. But he was a loner who loved violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto, according to neighbours.
He seems to have been influenced by another lone-wolf killer: Anders Breivik, the Norwegian man who precisely five years before the Munich shooting murdered 77 people in Oslo and on the island of Utoya. Like Breivik, Sonboly targeted young people. His may have been an impressionist killing extravaganza.
It took a while before German chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to the cameras. When she did, she could feel everybody’s pain, she soothed listeners, as Bill Clinton did 17 years ago, after Columbine.
At least she didn’t do a Bolt or a Kruger but they will be there aplenty in Germany.
End Part 1 - read Part 2 tomorrow.
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