As our benevolent government scrambles to stop gun violence by passing new and restrictive laws on the domestic and international front, Simon Jenkins of The Guardian steps in with his own recommendations.
If we’re going to take ridiculous steps and sensationalize every shooting incident, no matter where on earth it happens, then why not ban all the venues that make terrorism possible? If people can’t gather in large groups, then terrorists won’t be able to create mass casualty events!
And while we’re at it, thousands of people each year are killed in vehicular accidents, by knife attacks and cancer borne from the consumption of processed foods.
If we’re going to ban guns, why not malls, cars, knives and food too?
There is nothing anyone can do to prevent suicide bombers hitting civilian populations. The slaughter of Christians in Peshawar this weekend showed that wherever crowds gather they are vulnerable to any group with a brainwashed youth and a bomb. It might be sensible to discourage like-minded crowds from gathering in one place, be they co-religionists or party faithful or merely the wealthy.
The modern urban obsession with celebrity buildings and high-profile events offers too many publicity-rich targets. A World Trade Centre, a Mumbai hotel, a Boston marathon, a Nairobi shopping mall are all enticing to extremists. Defending them is near impossible. Better at least not to create them. A shopping mall not only wipes out shopping streets, it makes a perfect terrorist fortress, near impossible to assault.
There is no defence against the terror weapons of guns and grenades. Nor in any society, free or repressive, is there defence against fanaticism unto death in pursuit of a cause, however madcap and hopeless. Every city needs competent police and alert intelligence – that is not diverted into the reckless surveillance of all and sundry.
The best defence is a sense of proportion. The “war on terror” has failed on its own terms. It had made dozens of countries not pacified but terrified.
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