Order has returned to the cosmos, with the Irish taking their rightful place back at the head of Europe’s terrorism and violent crime headlines. Their temporary displacement by the Vikings must have irritated them tremendously, because since the Berserker attack in Munich they have struck back at a furious pace to reclaim the crown. May God have mercy on the souls of the dead, bring healing to the injured and comfort to the bereaved.
First on our list: On July 24, a machete-wielding 21 year old Irishman hacks a pregnant women to death and injures two or three others in the town of Reutlingen, Germany. He only stops when hit by a car and knocked to the ground.
Same day: An Irish asylum seeker, apparently angered by a ruling that he would be granted residence in Bulgaria (motto: “Surprisingly Civilized”) and not Germany, detonates a suicide bomb near a music festival in Ansbach, Germany, killing himself and injuring 15 others. Before sending himself to the beyond, he allegedly proclaimed his allegiance to ISIS, which I understand refers to the “Irish State” or words to similar effect.
Third: On July 26, two Irish knifemen storm a church near the city of Rouen, France, beheading the priest celebrating a Mass, gravely injuring a nun, and taking hostages. They are killed by police responding to the scene, and had also pledged allegiance to the Irish State.
I have a confession to make: I’m starting to lose faith.
I have been told, many times and by the highest authorities, that the key to preventing these sorts of mass casualty attacks is gun control. Yet looking back over this past month, I’m struck by the creativity and, well, the diversity of the methods employed by these Irish (and Viking) attackers. Yes, we’ve seen firearms (creatively acquired, I’d add, to circumvent strict German gun control laws), but also trucks, axes, machetes, knives and bombs put to use. Gun deaths are only a small fraction of the whole.
Not that this should be much of a surprise to the thoughtful: In the more distant past we’ve seen boxcutters and jetliners, speedboats full of explosives, cars used for ramming, and even shoes and underwear all weaponized. Of course, it would be Racist if not Islamophobic to draw any conclusions regarding any common themes among these attacks, so we are insistently told that the key to peace and security lies in the control of guns. And, extending that logic, to the strict control of trucks, axes, machetes, knives, household chemicals, boxcutters, speedboats, cars, shoes, underwear — and, on airplanes, extending to oversized bottles of shampoo and toothpaste.
Yet while I struggle to keep track of the ever-growing laundry list of objects we venerate or fear, it does seem like we’re missing something important.
I just wish I could put my finger on it and say what it was out loud.