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Woolwich Attack
May 22, 2013 4:41 PM   Subscribe

At just after 2:20pm this afternoon, two men exited a crashed vehicle in Woolwich, South East London, close to the Royal Artillery Barracks near the corner of John Wilson St and Artillery Place. Armed with a knives, they proceeded to attack young male pedestrian.

The victim of the assault, reported to have been a member of the armed forces, was wearing a 'Help For Heroes' charity T-shirt. According to eyewitnesses, the attack was savage and sustained, and the press report that he was beheaded in the street. Subsequently, the attackers remained at the location, and were both photographed talking with bystanders as well as being filmed giving an account of their actions. In this latter, the suspect claimed the attack was "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth", a terror attack committed in revenge for British involvement in the deaths of Muslims abroad, concluding "remove your governments, they don't care about you". When armed police arrived on the scene, the two men are reported to have attacked them, were shot, wounded, taken to hospital, and arrested. Political responses stressed fortitude and sympathy; collectively, immediate media coverage shared a sense of stunned horror; in light of the attacker's invocation of Islam, there was widespread condemnation of the attack from British Muslims; there were brief street scuffles at a protest organised by the far-right EDL. The broadly London accent of the attacker in the video has turned analysis of the attack towards the issue of so-called 'self-radicalisation' (especially in light of similar discussions of the Boston Marathon Bombers): individuals not previously linked to formal networks of terrorist organisations, acting as individuals or in small groups, making their attacks much harder to prevent.

Please note: the links contain graphic audio/video.
posted by hydatius (454 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
'Self-radicalization' Is this not just random morons looking to veil their violence in a cause? 100 years ago it was anarchists, 50 years ago it was Baader-Meinhof or the Symbionese Liberation Army. Now it's 'radical' Wahhabism.
posted by percor at 4:45 PM on May 22, 2013 [30 favorites]


The words "game changer" come to mind. What I want to know is, who is the person that shot the video of the bloodsoaked killer? That person was pretty damn close to him and he was still holding the weapons. Holy shit.
posted by polly_dactyl at 4:46 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


.

For the victim.

And for the newspapers that are giving them all the attention they could want.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 4:48 PM on May 22, 2013


horrible. at the same time, it's an interesting question whether this is a terrorist act or not.
posted by oog at 4:54 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


The woman who went to speak with the attackers is incredibly brave. If I saw that someone had been killed on the street and a man holding a knife and a gun started walking over, I'd be running for my life.
posted by pravit at 4:58 PM on May 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


The words "game changer" come to mind. What I want to know is, who is the person that shot the video of the bloodsoaked killer? That person was pretty damn close to him and he was still holding the weapons. Holy shit.

The whole thing strikes me as deeply bizarre more than a 'game changer'. I mean, okay, so you decide you want to jump someone (who you may or may not think is a soldier) in the street and kill him for ideological reasons. But then why do you hang around afterwards for 20 minutes until the police turn up and shoot you?
posted by hoyland at 4:59 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


horrible. at the same time, it's an interesting question whether this is a terrorist act or not.

How is it a question? Two guys murdered a random guy in the street, and then gave an on camera interview about it. What could their intention be if not to terrorise?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:59 PM on May 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


This is upsetting me in so many ways, I can't even really discuss it rationally right now. Someone on twitter put it better than I can and I think that's where I'll leave it:

Just to be clear... I won't give in to the terrorist fear mongers nor the #EDL hatewallas

posted by triggerfinger at 4:59 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, this just bizarre, from the attack to standing around and waiting for police. It doesn't make any sense.

Damn fine post though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:06 PM on May 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


They just hung around chatting to people for 15 minutes until the armed response unit showed up: I wonder if they were expecting an onslaught of bullets and "martyrdom"?
Instead it looks like a police markswoman just dropped them with a couple of non-lethal shots. So British.
posted by Flashman at 5:07 PM on May 22, 2013 [36 favorites]


What could their intention be if not to terrorise?

Can't it just be a brutal murder by a pair of deeply troubled psychotics? Do we really care what their manifesto is?
posted by ceribus peribus at 5:07 PM on May 22, 2013 [17 favorites]


We care about their manifesto to the extent that it may provoke anti-muslim responses, both by individuals and politicians. Which is of course what the radicals on both sides want.
posted by happyroach at 5:10 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


There are some strong similarities with the still recent Mohammed Merah case. It's the next level: Merah recorded his murders with a GoPro but eventually failed to be "heard". These men used passer-bys to do the same.
posted by elgilito at 5:13 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Concerning their motives, a quote has been going round Twitter to the effect that the Yorkshire Ripper also said he was commanded by god.

It's too early to know for sure what actually motivated these killers, rather than simply what they said.
posted by Jehan at 5:13 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


If the point of terrorism is to provoke terror, then frankly they're doing a crap job.

They've moved the London murder rate from 99 per year to 100. Big fucking whoopee.

I think the appropriate response is "yeah, whatever".

(Well, and nicking them and trying them and, if found guilty, banging them up.)
posted by happyinmotion at 5:19 PM on May 22, 2013 [10 favorites]


Two guys murdered a random guy in the street, and then gave an on camera interview about it. What could their intention be if not to terrorise?

That's kind of like asking, "A country drops a bomb, killing many people, then issues a press release about it. What could their intention be if not to terrorise?"

Because of the fact that "terrorism" is a pretty amorphous and even meaningless term, you actually do need to fairly specifically inquire about what its usage means.
posted by XMLicious at 5:19 PM on May 22, 2013 [19 favorites]


Comparing this attack to how the IRA used terrorism to achieve political ends, one has to say that this wasn't terrorism, it was, like the Boston bombings, confused, muddled killers who were looking for a reason to kill.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:20 PM on May 22, 2013 [29 favorites]


Can't it just be a brutal murder by a pair of deeply troubled psychotics? Do we really care what their manifesto is?

What I was trying to say.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:21 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


we looked at houses in Plumstead, right next to woolwich, and walked from the area we were checking out to the woolwich station (which would have been my most likely daily transit route).

I was not impressed by the woolwich area. Things like this just confirm my impressions.

That said, Crossrail in 5 years is going to make that area blow up like mad and gentrify like nobody's business.
posted by EricGjerde at 5:25 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just hope this and Boston doesn't signal a shift to this sort of Propaganda of the Deed crap. You can roll up a network but you can't stop this sort of popcorn terrorism.
posted by fingerbang at 5:25 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I guess I don't think it matters much whether this was a terrorist attack, if 'terrorist attack' is defined fairly strictly--an attack intended to spread terror. Single individuals unattached to terrorist organizations can hurt people with the intent to terrorize.

Seems like what really matters are things like links to organizations. If the attackers are hooked up with others in a way that makes it likely that there might be more attacks, or in such a way that makes it clear who we should retaliate against, then it matters that they are "terrorists."

I guess people typically use 'terrorist attack' to mean an attack perpetrated by individuals with links to organizations that intend to keep doing harm to us. (Huh. Without even thinking about it, I think of the Brits as *us*. I think of all innocent people as *us*...but you probably know what I mean here... I'm American, and the Brits are basically us...)

Also, I don't think that terrorists, as ordinarily conceived of, necessarily aim at spreading terror. Attacks like 9/11 aim at doing real harm; consequent fear would be nice, to the minds of the perpetrators, but death and destruction seem to be the real aims.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 5:26 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


How is it a question? Two guys murdered a random guy in the street, and then gave an on camera interview about it. What could their intention be if not to terrorise?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:59 PM on May 22 [1 favorite +] [!]


In security studies and military theory, a terrorist attack is technically defined specifically as an attack that focusses primarily on harming civilians who are supposed to be under the protection of the target state/military authority (which the attackers prefer not to engage directly due to their own weakness/strategic and tactical preferences). This case seems at first glance to fall outside this definition.

However, the common usage of "terrorist attack" as a phrase is much broader than this technical definition.
posted by Bwithh at 5:27 PM on May 22, 2013 [15 favorites]


Bizarre, for sure. AND hopefully an isolated incident. Doesn't sound like random violence to me. But with media exposure (which, wow, maybe something else will happen in the news so that we aren't seeing those bloody hands and that body in the street on the news for the rest of the week, I can't even...) I start to wonder if this could be "the new thing," attacking random soldier-looking-types or whatever else the descriptor might be?? I mean none of us knew the words "improvised explosive device" until they became so commonplace as to merit knowing. I'm not trying to be psychic here, but that's what I meant by "game changer."

. For the victim, what a fucking horrible way to die.
posted by polly_dactyl at 5:29 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


confused, muddled killers who were looking for a reason to kill.

Or religious extremists who didn't do much planning, but figured beheading someone in the middle of the day and standing around talking about it would be a good way to make a point.
posted by Unified Theory at 5:29 PM on May 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


Can't it just be a brutal murder by a pair of deeply troubled psychotics? Do we really care what their manifesto is?

To the extent that this brutal murder will be celebrated in certain quarters, and may inspire future acts of violence by fellow ideological travelers, their "manifesto" matters.
posted by BobbyVan at 5:30 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is called in whenever police shoot someone, has said it is investigating the incident.

As an aside, I wish every police force had one of these.
posted by absalom at 5:31 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


As an aside, I wish every police force had one of these.

Don't they have those in the US?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:32 PM on May 22, 2013


Don't they have those in the US?

Long Answer: Law enforcement is primarily a state responsibility, so laws would be different from state to state.

Short Answer: No.
posted by absalom at 5:34 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Because of Mad Men and an AskMe question recently, I was thinking about RFK's murder recently.

Sirhan Sirhan is still alive. Dude comes up for parole again in a few years, but like Manson, he ain't getting out. He's always claimed it was revenge for RFK's support of Israel. But who cares? You know why we don't care? Because we collectively said Sirhan was an diseased animal and threw him into a hole forever. Which is exactly what should happen with these animals and every other animal that gets out of hand.

And let's not wring our hands about it. These animals were living in one of the finest places on the planet. Nothing drove them to it. Despite our best efforts, like the Boston bombers, they're losers that just turned into animals. And sometimes, Travis needs to shoot Old Yeller, and it's sad but that's that.

Into the hole, fuckers. Enjoy your cable TV.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:34 PM on May 22, 2013 [38 favorites]



To the extent that this brutal murder will be celebrated in certain quarters, and may inspire future acts of violence by fellow ideological travelers, their "manifesto" matters.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:30 PM


Hmm when the Boston thing happened, I didn't hear about celebrating in any quarters and most of the acts of violence were toward Muslims or people who "looked Muslim." To me that sort of thing is always going to be the greater worry.
posted by sweetkid at 5:35 PM on May 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Don't they have those in the US?

Not really and in those places that have commissions to look into police misconduct in the States.... well it's more times than not a commission to cover up police misconduct.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 5:35 PM on May 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


it's an interesting question whether this is a terrorist act or not.

That's not the interesting question. The interesting questions are whether or not it is an organized terrorist attack. Are they part of a group? Were they led? Were they self radicalized or recruited? How and why did the radicalization occur? Where did they get the gun? What was their objective? What other plans did they have?
posted by srboisvert at 5:37 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is called in whenever police shoot someone, has said it is investigating the incident.

As an aside, I wish every police force had one of these.


You may want to look into their track record. They are not what you think they are.
posted by srboisvert at 5:41 PM on May 22, 2013 [17 favorites]


I wonder if the inevitable attacks on random people who look Muslim by EDL types will be called terrorist attacks.
posted by rtha at 5:43 PM on May 22, 2013 [20 favorites]


Police misconduct boards around here (Minneapolis) are very weak - they have very few powers to get information from the police, their work is heavily political and they have no meaningful power to sanction. Ours was actually dissolved for a while, IIRC, and there was a big national to-do about how corrupt it had become. I would say that this is typical of the US. You all have the occasional de Menzies tragedy under stressful circumstances; we have enough police killings of black men [and the occasional woman] that I actually have two friends who have witnessed cops gun down black guys who were mentally ill and unable to respond to police commands. One of these was killed in front of his family as they pled with the cops not to shoot. Were the police punished? No.

If anyone wants to talk terrorism (since we're talking about definitions) folks should remember that chronic state violence against black men and women has much the same psychological effect as terrorism, except that you can't even turn to the state to protect you.

It seems so bizarre and sad to look at the photos of those guys and think that just this morning they were regular people with their lives ahead of them.

When I think about this kind of violence, I think that while killing people in anything but immediate self defense is NOT okay ever - especially jumping some poor guy - what I return to is how psychically corrupting and damaging these colonial wars are, both to soldiers and to civilians. I don't think that "oh, there is a colonial war so I will gruesomely murder a random soldier" is a sane thing to think, but I feel like there's some real issues of despair and anguish here, something gone horribly wrong in our social fabric.
posted by Frowner at 5:45 PM on May 22, 2013 [15 favorites]


srboisvert: "You may want to look into their track record. They are not what you think they are."

They're not a total joke, though, which is the state of an awful lot of investigations of police in the US.
posted by hoyland at 5:45 PM on May 22, 2013


There are reports of women who protected the body of the slain pedestrian. How brave they were.
posted by maggieb at 5:47 PM on May 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


hydatius: "The broadly London accent of the attacker in the video has turned analysis of the attack towards the issue of so-called 'self-radicalisation"

A quibble about the accent. The man in the black hat in the video seems to my ear, to have a Nigerian/Camaroon/Ghana accent. It's sounds African with a French cadence. The stress and syllables are in the wrong places for a London accent. That said; I haven't read anything anywhere about the origin or nationality of the attackers, and I'm no 'Enry 'Iggins.
posted by dejah420 at 5:50 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm based in the Woolwich area so this was an unpleasant and shocking incident to happen almost on your doorstep.

I was in central London when the news broke so monitored it on the news as it developed.

The EDL or similar types have staged a protest in the town square this evening resulting in a very strong police presence (and effectively isolating the place for public transport). Obviously memories of the riots are strong on their minds.

I'm hoping that we're not going to get reprisal attacks against whoever the EDL idiots or similar decide are 'responsible' but I'm probably being optimistic there.
posted by panboi at 5:50 PM on May 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think the more interesting question is has the contemporary use of term "terrorist attack" finally devalued it to the point of meaninglessness, allowing a return to a more sensible taxonomy of violence.
posted by klarck at 5:51 PM on May 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


A quibble about the accent. The man in the black hat in the video seems to my ear, to have a Nigerian/Camaroon/Ghana accent. It's sounds African with a French cadence. The stress and syllables are in the wrong places for a London accent. That said; I haven't read anything anywhere about the origin or nationality of the attackers, and I'm no 'Enry 'Iggins.
It's definitely a broadly London accent; the guy's English. There might be undertones or influences from elsewhere but he has to have been living in England at least since childhood.
posted by Jehan at 5:58 PM on May 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yep. That's a very typical London accent. London born and bred.
posted by panaceanot at 6:00 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's definitely a London accent.
posted by panboi at 6:00 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Scores of supporters of the English Defence League threw bottles at police and chanted anti-Muslim slogans in Woolwich hours after the murder of one man and the shooting of his two suspected assailants."
posted by panboi at 6:05 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Which is exactly what should happen with these animals and every other animal that gets out of hand.

I'm so glad that with this one exception, we're having a civilized, adult discussion.

Overall, this is an excellent post, with a lot of background information and no axe to grind.

I consider this event noise. My chance of dying by being killed by a "terrorist" continues to be tiny. I will continue to spend much more energy making sure not to slip and fall in the shower than worrying about terrorism - because slipping and falling is rationally a much greater threat to me.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:07 PM on May 22, 2013 [21 favorites]


This is truly a tragedy, for the victim, and yes also for the perpetrators.

But I just want to say, and I am sorry if I'm grinding an axe here, but this could have been a much worse tragedy here if these men had access to guns.
posted by newdaddy at 6:08 PM on May 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


I stand corrected. I lived in W8 for years and it sounded considerably more like that which I heard in Algeria than that which I heard in London, but again, I'm not a native. :)
posted by dejah420 at 6:08 PM on May 22, 2013


Well, they could have used a car to inflict more damage and mayhem. Or could have cooked up an IED in the bathtub. And it must be pretty easy to find guns on the black market.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:10 PM on May 22, 2013


This is not a "game changer." This is, as usual, angry and entitled men who feel the right to go out and violently harm innocent people because the world hasn't rearranged itself to provide all the fantasies of the angry and entitled men. There is absolutely nothing about this that is a change. Men do this every single day.

They all have their justifications that they proudly shout, this time it's Islam, last time it's something else, it's all bullshit. The reality is, these are men who are thrilled and invigorated at the idea of killing people, just killing whoever they want and making people feel their rage. They are also suicidal and feel thrilled and invigorated at maybe losing their life in a glorious, spectacular, narcissistic way that will be pathetically admired by online fanboys everywhere.

Everyone who cries that this is "terrorism" doesn't want to face the fact and the truth. The fact and the truth is that many many many young men of every ethnicity have the desire and urge to hurt random innocent people, and plenty of all of them are getting to the point where they are acting on it.

I can't blame them for not wanting to face it. You might have to actually... parent your son!!! You might have to actually admit there might be something wrong.... with your precious son!!! You might have to look back at yourself and some things you did or thought in the past and realize they were warped or twisted, that you might not be able to really say what you would have done if you had been let loose in Vietnam.

I'm just sick of hearing the same old pieties that reinforce the same mindset that is preventing us from really doing anything about this.
posted by cairdeas at 6:10 PM on May 22, 2013 [85 favorites]


They're not a total joke, though, which is the state of an awful lot of investigations of police in the US.

Given their central role in triggering the London riots and their conduct covering up for the Menezies murder I would say they are no joke at all. Seriously, America does a better job of policing their police.
posted by srboisvert at 6:15 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm so glad that with this one exception, we're having a civilized, adult discussion.

Don't visit reddit.com/r/worldnews ... sheesh.
posted by panaceanot at 6:22 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


How is it a question? Two guys murdered a random guy in the street, and then gave an on camera interview about it. What could their intention be if not to terrorise?

This is not how they determine what is "terrorism" in the legal or political sense.
posted by thelonius at 6:23 PM on May 22, 2013


I think the more interesting question is has the contemporary use of term "terrorist attack" finally devalued it to the point of meaninglessness, allowing a return to a more sensible taxonomy of violence.

Exactly. Framing as "terrorist attack" makes it political, gives it more power, and allows it to be used to further political agenda. See the changes to the asylum system on the immigration reform because of the Boston bombing - changes that are laughable irrelevant in the efficacy to prevent random violence, but further unrelated policial agendas.

Of course, while the terrorist angle will be played up to advance oligarchic power, it incidentally feeds back on itself - one could speculate if September 11th had not been contextualized as a "us" vs "them", there would be no "them" for misanthropic/violent individuals to identify as their collective body, and commit violence under, furthering the response, ad infinitum...

See The Power of Nightmares or simply history.
posted by iamck at 6:24 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Calling people "diseased animals" that should be "thrown in a hole" is definitely a good way to have a rational discussion that could never get out of control.
posted by DU at 6:27 PM on May 22, 2013 [14 favorites]


> Don't visit reddit.com/r/worldnews ... sheesh.

I already did. I felt quite sick.

Sometimes I want to put these terrorists and those sick redditors into a big sealed dome and then leave.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:27 PM on May 22, 2013


Well, they could have used a car to inflict more damage and mayhem. Or could have cooked up an IED in the bathtub.

Or used a pressure cooker, Heaven forfend. Thank God British cuisine is utter pants and they just deep fry everything and put brown sauce on it.
posted by XMLicious at 6:27 PM on May 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't think that "oh, there is a colonial war so I will gruesomely murder a random soldier" is a sane thing to think, but I feel like there's some real issues of despair and anguish here, something gone horribly wrong in our social fabric.

Frowner is correct, imo. Something that man said-- the one captured by cameraphone with bloody knives in his hands-- struck me: That he was sorry that women had to see this, but "in our lands, women see this every day", and I thought yeah, I'm sure that's true. Rwanda, or Congo, perhaps. It's like a horrible fragment of that violence which spun onto a London street. As for organized terrorism-- I think it's much likelier a shitshow of trauma and anger and murderous drive, coupled with some kind of martyrdom. They walked right towards the police, waiting for the shots, which duly came.
posted by jokeefe at 6:30 PM on May 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


A side point maybe, but this is an excellent FPP of a difficult, information-messy, significant and serious event.
posted by Wordshore at 6:34 PM on May 22, 2013 [17 favorites]


That he was sorry that women had to see this, but "in our lands, women see this every day", and I thought yeah, I'm sure that's true. Rwanda, or Congo, perhaps.

Yeah, but they're from London. Besides, if they self-identify as Islamists, they could be referring to Algeria or Niger or whatever. They have about as much connection to Congo or Rwanda as they do to Chechnya.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:36 PM on May 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


Can't believe what I'm reading. What a horrifying thing to do.
posted by orange swan at 6:37 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Another eyewitness account was tweeted by @Boyadee.
posted by jokeefe at 6:37 PM on May 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


They have about as much connection to Congo or Rwanda as they do to Chechnya.

As far as I know we don't even have their names yet, so who knows? The commentators at the Sun or wherever I was reading about this today were pretty sure that they were immigrants sucking up state benefits. We don't have the information yet.
posted by jokeefe at 6:39 PM on May 22, 2013


cairdeas: ... men ... men ... Men ... men ... men ... parent your son!!! ... son ...

You know, there are women in combat; there are female suicide bombers; there are female murderers of all stripes.

And a lot of them were raised by loving, caring parents.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:41 PM on May 22, 2013 [23 favorites]


this could have been a much worse tragedy here if these men had access to guns.

To head off that derail, they did have access to guns: One witness...shouted at the men to stop, only for one of them to pull out a gun and threaten to shoot him.
posted by jacalata at 6:41 PM on May 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


The "our lands" comment was definitely a Four Lions moment. Unless Woolwich has turned into a warzone without me noticing.
posted by panboi at 6:43 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Lots of people (men and women, um, men do this/men do that is not really constructive...) kill for no reason. But lots of other people kill to send a message, and I can't really see how anyone would look at this case and deny that. If individual citizens in London need to worry about being hacked to death in the streets in broad daylight, then WOW. I mean, even as far as murderers go this shit was pretty out there, especially with the waiting around for the police and giving interviews and shit. If they were insane, I feel like they would have shot everyone in the street, or mowed down a crowd, or something. But that is not what happened.

There's too much murder everywhere, I guess it's inevitable to go round and round about what this means. I hope that there's more to the story, I mean, this poor guy must have a family, what the hell??
posted by polly_dactyl at 6:44 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sys RQ You know, there are women in combat; there are female suicide bombers; there are female murderers of all stripes.

There are? How many? Count up all of the female suicide bombers of the past... I'll give you, 70 years. Exclude the ones who were directed/taking their orders from a male superior. Let me know how many you have left.

About the female murderers of all stripes, count up how many murdered innocent strangers. Again, exclude the ones taking orders from a guy. I'm wondering how many hours will it take you to count up 10 of them.

I'm so fucking sick of everyone refusing, REFUSING, to acknowledge the real problem here.

The real problem here is young, violent, angry, entitled men. PERIOD. And NOBODY wants to look at that. A) Because they might have to look into themselves, and B) FREEDUMZZZ!!! Trying to do something about this might interfere with our freeeeedumzz!!!
posted by cairdeas at 6:53 PM on May 22, 2013 [19 favorites]


.

Hope everyone keeps a calm head and doesn't overreact.
posted by arcticseal at 6:58 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


The real problem here is young, violent, angry, entitled men. PERIOD. And NOBODY wants to look at that. A) Because they might have to look into themselves, and B) FREEDUMZZZ!!! Trying to do something about this might interfere with our freeeeedumzz!!!

Or maybe because it's idiotically reductionist.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:58 PM on May 22, 2013 [36 favorites]


Or maybe we would just rather sit there and call names and feel like that easily defeats anything that challenges us.
posted by cairdeas at 7:00 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


The man said himself, and for now let's believe him, what I think is the main problem here: It's shitty somewhere else so instead of figuring out how to recruit people to make it better let's instead make it shitty HERE for YOU TOO. "Our women need to see this so you should too." not "No women anywhere should see these things."

Its a very contemporary self-defeating despair: Instead of lifting our neighbors up we're much quicker to try to make them dwell in the mud with us.

No excuses, though. None. But that definitely stood out for me and seemed awfully familiar.
posted by marylynn at 7:02 PM on May 22, 2013 [15 favorites]


[Folks, take it to chat or MeMail at this point please.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:04 PM on May 22, 2013


Lupus: it may be noise to you but to those who loved the victim it is a bit more. Yes. More chances of dying in this or that accident but you also direct yourself and have to some degree an input into what happens or does not happen. In this sort of madness, or in Boston or 90/11 etc you are simply a statistic with no say in what happens to you. I am not likely to get killed in an incident of this sort. Others, though, it seems might be.
posted by Postroad at 7:05 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


here are? How many? Count up all of the female suicide bombers of the past... I'll give you, 70 years. Exclude the ones who were directed/taking their orders from a male superior. Let me know how many you have left.

I'm so fucking sick of everyone refusing, REFUSING, to acknowledge the real problem here.

The real problem here is young, violent, angry, entitled men. PERIOD. And NOBODY wants to look at that. A) Because they might have to look into themselves, and B) FREEDUMZZZ!!! Trying to do something about this might interfere with our freeeeedumzz!!!


I think you're making a very good point that is almost never openly and plainly stated: that men commit a disproportionate share of the violence in the world, and that we should think carefully and seriously about what might be wrong with masculinity that it produces people who act that way. Personally, I would say it's masculinity (the social construct) which is the real issue here more than maleness per se, and I think that distinction's important.
posted by clockzero at 7:05 PM on May 22, 2013 [51 favorites]


I saw Piers Morgan tweet that there are attacks on mosques in Kent and Essex already.
posted by sweetkid at 7:05 PM on May 22, 2013


There were a couple of individual attacks, yes. Hotheads though, not mobs.
posted by Jehan at 7:07 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


it doesn't matter how many, it's terribly misguided as always.
posted by sweetkid at 7:10 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I saw Piers Morgan tweet that there are attacks on mosques in Kent and Essex already.

Oh, fucking great. These guys wanted to be the match that started a conflagration, I suppose, and now they have something like that.
posted by jokeefe at 7:11 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


The interesting questions are whether or not it is an organized terrorist attack. Are they part of a group? Were they led? Were they self radicalized or recruited? How and why did the radicalization occur? Where did they get the gun? What was their objective? What other plans did they have?

I don't know about the last three, but the Net has really flattened the first four questions. "Recruited" vs. "self-radicalized," part of a "group." Is it recruitment if someone posts a bunch of private youtube links in a forum? Is it a group if its people you've never met, commenting? Is it "organized" if you got some tips from a magazine?

The phrases you should be looking for are: "open-source jihad," "lone wolf attack" and "Inspire."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:11 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm so fucking sick of everyone refusing, REFUSING, to acknowledge the real problem here.

This is going to blow your mind, but only were they MEN, but they were also MUSLIM. Wake up sheeple.
posted by kithrater at 7:13 PM on May 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Not only that but they also had HAIR. Both of them. How much longer must bald people endure this constant barrage of violence from the hairy ones?
posted by motty at 7:15 PM on May 22, 2013 [21 favorites]


Nah, I'm out. Going for a walk, it's like 80 degrees at 9PM here... I've been on MetaFilter all day. Rare for me.
posted by polly_dactyl at 7:15 PM on May 22, 2013


Personally, I would say it's masculinity (the social construct) which is the real issue here more than maleness per se

Don't you think the fact that men have, on average, significantly higher levels of testosterone than women just might have something to do with it? Testosterone causes aggressive behavior.
posted by Justinian at 7:21 PM on May 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


To the extent that this brutal murder will be celebrated in certain quarters

To which quarters are you referring? The likes of Pam Geller and the EDL?

Me, I heard the news and I was like, "Wow, that's some Clockwork Orange shit right there ..."
posted by octobersurprise at 7:23 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


that men commit a disproportionate share of the violence in the world, and that we should think carefully and seriously about what might be wrong with masculinity that it produces people who act that way

I tend to have an overall more balanced perspective than many due to my somewhat peculiar background. I don't think it's men or masculinity per se that is to blame. Men get burdened with the "gift" of testosterone and that has effects on certain areas of the brain and no one doubts that aggression is one of those areas. I honestly believe that if woman had similar levels of such hormones their rates of heinous behavior would be similar.

What so many of us fail to recognize in my opinion is that there is a certain amount of monster in most all human beings and there is more "there for the grace of god go I" than any of us realize or care to admit to ourselves. This is not really in my eyes a male or female type or problem so much as it is a human problem. Hoe do we handle our inner demons and how do we recognize those whose demons are out of control before it is too late?
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 7:25 PM on May 22, 2013 [13 favorites]


I'm so fucking sick of everyone refusing, REFUSING, to acknowledge the real problem here.

The real problem here is young, violent, angry, entitled men. PERIOD. And NOBODY wants to look at that. A) Because they might have to look into themselves, and B) FREEDUMZZZ!!! Trying to do something about this might interfere with our freeeeedumzz!!!


You know this happened in the England right? They aren't a FREEDUMZZ!! country.
posted by srboisvert at 7:36 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Not true!
posted by hackly_fracture at 7:38 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


According to this CBS News report, one attacker indicated that the murder was inspired by attacks on Muslims in Afghanistan:

Ingrid Loyau-Kennett wanted to stop the suspect from attacking anyone else and asked him if he "did it" and what he wanted. "He said: `I killed him because he killed Muslims and I am fed up with people killing Muslims in Afghanistan. They have nothing to do there,"' she told the newspaper.

"We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you," the man declared. "We must fight them as they fight us."

posted by foot at 7:38 PM on May 22, 2013


Alternatively, they're the *original* FREEDUMZZ!! country.
posted by absalom at 7:40 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


According to this CBS News report, one attacker indicated that the murder was inspired by attacks on Muslims in Afghanistan:

This is quoting the video linked in the FPP, I believe. It's not new information.
posted by hoyland at 7:40 PM on May 22, 2013


This is truly a tragedy, for the victim, and yes also for the perpetrators

I frankly find this attitude deeply bizarre. What exactly is the tragic component for the perpetrators? That they had to murder someone?

I tend to have an overall more balanced perspective than many due to my somewhat peculiar background. I don't think it's men or masculinity per se that is to blame. Men get burdened with the "gift" of testosterone and that has effects on certain areas of the brain and no one doubts that aggression is one of those areas. I honestly believe that if woman had similar levels of such hormones their rates of heinous behavior would be similar.

Yeah, it's all men. Women are not violent at all.
posted by rr at 7:42 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ugh, this whole thing feels like a bad trip version of a random episode of The Following, but without the Poe nonsense. WTF world, stop being so fucked up for a bit?
posted by Iosephus at 7:46 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Three more people found out that there is no God and there is no afterlife today...three more people died senselessly.
posted by Chuffy at 7:48 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


You know this happened in the England right? They aren't a FREEDUMZZ!! country.

No, England has its own Republicans. Historians of the American Revolution will quirk a snarling grin that they're known colloquially as the Tories.

Worse, the Brits have their own left-centrists who try to cash in on being tough by joining in whatever boot-party the USA is throwing at the moment.

That said, these fuckers weren't fighting for equality or against tyranny. They were garden variety theocratic terrorists who have set the tone for future attacks: Ones that can be countered by a hearty and sincere, "Lads! Let's gerrim!" from Londoners of all shades and religions.

This sort of thing, as we found out after 9/11, works exactly once.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:50 PM on May 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, it's all men. Women are not violent at all.

This is neither a reasonable nor a good faith reading of Podkayne.
posted by Justinian at 7:50 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


The boys vs girls thing is kind of a weird derail, imo.
posted by empath at 7:51 PM on May 22, 2013 [39 favorites]


Insomnically watching a few of the 'better' forums over here in England. There's three strands that folks keep returning to.

1. "This kind of thing" doesn't happen here (London, England, the UK), where people get beheaded or killed in this manner, by terrorists in busy city streets.

2. Terrorists like these who are, as they act alone or in pairs, probably almost impossible to detect, and therefore stop. (lots of references to Boston)

3. Prime time TV, news websites, showing footage of a discussion with one of the attackers, holding a bloodied machette, with bloodied hands. There's not really a 'watershed' for disturbing footage on UK TV any more. If a news network gets hold of it - and in this case, it's quickly online for them to pick up - then they show it before their rivals do.
posted by Wordshore at 8:00 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Alternatively, they're the *original* FREEDUMZZ!! country.

Remember though this is the country that has currently banned the sale of kitchen knives to minors. It is a different culture from America despite sharing almost the same language.
posted by srboisvert at 8:06 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is a strange derail, but it just goes to show the lengths to which we all go in order to explain the inexplicable in a way which edifies us. Everyone is capable of hate and ignorance, and if it is manifested in men with violence I promise you that it is manifested in women in ways which are just as despicable.

The only people with any useful perspective on this crime got shot today. Everyone else is interpreting their acts through self-understanding - why would I never do this? What would I have to be in order to murder someone on the streets? My advice is not to speculate too strenuously on this mystery. Friendship and felicity among people having nothing in common is a greater mystery than why the black muslim guy hacked the other guy's head off, and if you're lucky it's a mystery you have personal contact with.

Rather than arguing over who is least wrong about something none of us can ever know about - something that you are lucky not to be able to relate to, ask yourself why your need for a conclusion is so strong - and what does your inevitably inaccurate assessment get you? Don't just shut up, bask in the uncertainty. You will be swimming in an endless and comforting black ocean of surety when you die, until then apply a little curiosity to the world.

But seriously I blame those horrible breakfast pies they eat.
posted by Teakettle at 8:07 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


[Do not do that lulzy edit thing here again please.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:10 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Teakettle: The only people with any useful perspective on this crime got shot today.

Yeah, and lived. So they might provide further answers; although they did seem rather forthcoming with them at their little 'press conference'.

Although, the crashed car is odd and makes me wonder if these guys accidentally crashed their car, decided their lives were ruined, thought 'screw it, suicide by cop', and decided to go for a political objective on the way.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:11 PM on May 22, 2013


These are going to be poly-educated, playstation owning, banger driving, dope smoking...just English kids really. They are going to have been radicalised sure but what I think is really driving them is a profound sense of injustice rather than any religious viewpoint in particular.
posted by fingerbang at 8:12 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm swimming in an endless and comforting whitish ocean of testosterone, gentle as a lamb.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:12 PM on May 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


Assuming you want an answer to this, and it's not just rhetorical:

Rather than arguing over who is least wrong about something none of us can ever know about - something that you are lucky not to be able to relate to, ask yourself why your need for a conclusion is so strong - and what does your inevitably inaccurate assessment get you? Don't just shut up, bask in the uncertainty.

Why is my need for a conclusion so strong? Because I, personally, don't want to get my neck sliced when I'm walking down the street, I don't want to get all my body parts shot off in a mass shooting, I don't want to get blown up by a bomb, and don't want to be murdered in an "ordinary" way, or raped, or assaulted. I do not, actually, have very much uncertainty about this to bask in. I don't think my assessment is very inaccurate.

People are saying "boys vs. girls" is a derail and I assume they think we should be talking about radical religious fanatics vs. secular people instead. If the percentage of strongly religious people who engaged in violence against the innocent approached even a third of the percentage of any kind of men who do it, the whole internet would be calling for a genocide against the religious.
posted by cairdeas at 8:23 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


These are going to be poly-educated, playstation owning, banger driving, dope smoking...just English kids really. They are going to have been radicalised sure but what I think is really driving them is a profound sense of injustice rather than any religious viewpoint in particular.

I think you will find that overall the perpetrators (though not necessarily the planners) of religiously motivated terrorist acts are not exactly erudite scholars.
posted by rosswald at 8:26 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, I will say that Russia, China, Japan, South Africa, Egypt, India, France, Spain, Kenya, U.S.A, Mexico, Brazil, and Indonesia all have different rates of people being openly killed in the streets/terrorism/crime. You would think that there must be something more than pee-pees and vay-jay-jays involved.
posted by rosswald at 8:31 PM on May 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


The boys vs. girls thing is a pointless derail because even if it was true, it offers no solution. What are you going to do? Invent parthenogenesis for humans? Kill off half the species? Clone?

I'm guessing you will say 'change the culture' but that's what everyone else was saying already, so you might as well start there.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:41 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


[Folks, boys v. girls thing is derailing this thread and seeming soapboxy, please go to chat or MeMail with it. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:41 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Don't visit reddit.com/r/worldnews ... sheesh.

Indeed! /r/worldevents is much better.
posted by Jpfed at 8:43 PM on May 22, 2013


Cairdeas, that is a very interesting perspective in regards to your desire for conclusivity, but I would suggest that our views are not incompatible. If anything, those with a personal interest in understanding this situation should avoid the premature advocacy of an interpretation when we know so little about the particulars of the people involved.

We should also keep in mind what the limits of this sort of understanding are - perhaps your view is that there is more utility in an incomplete interpretation than there is in toodling around in a philosophical bardo (which is obviously the comfort I run to in times of stress, no nobler than blaming someone really.)
posted by Teakettle at 8:49 PM on May 22, 2013


> ..just English kids really.

Except for that whole "Allah Akbar" beheading thing, of course.
posted by codswallop at 8:49 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


We don't have to guess at why this happened. The guy explained it in the video. The violence we (collectively - US/England etc) have brought to the rest of the world is once again coming home.
posted by Big_B at 9:12 PM on May 22, 2013 [10 favorites]


I could go for some cloning.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:15 PM on May 22, 2013


> ..just English kids really.

Except for that whole "Allah Akbar" beheading thing, of course.


English guys can't behead people...or reference Allah...because?
posted by sweetkid at 9:20 PM on May 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


The amount of confusion expressed in this thread is incredible. Let's blame ourselves, or guys near us, or our government or our economy, or... Or ... And people keep dying, keep being enslaved. When it comes to you, then hopefully you will realize that the carefully crafted rationalizations have blinded you and turned you against the people you should be allied with. As was intended when the programming was put in place and never questioned.
posted by midnightscout at 9:40 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder if drugs played a role.
posted by Annika Cicada at 9:47 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


As expected, the lovely liberal Mefites are desperately casting around for any possible explanation/influence for this except one. Depressingly predictable.
posted by Decani at 10:05 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Count up all of the female suicide bombers of the past... I'll give you, 70 years. Exclude the ones who were directed/taking their orders from a male superior. Let me know how many you have left.

I'm so fucking sick of everyone refusing, REFUSING, to acknowledge the real problem here.

The real problem here is young, violent, angry, entitled men. PERIOD. And NOBODY wants to look at that. A) Because they might have to look into themselves, and B) FREEDUMZZZ!!! Trying to do something about this might interfere with our freeeeedumzz!!!


This is wrong. The violence is not perpetrated only by men in these and similar circumstances. The Tamil Tigers, arguably the inventors of the suicide vest, used female bombers in about 40% of their attacks. Female participation in terrorist cells is lower than male participation, it's true, but the same could be said of female participation in the field of medicine; does that mean that women are not suited to curing the sick? Of course not - correlation does not imply causation. Stop blaming men for this; there are FAR more complex issues at stake.
posted by dazed_one at 10:08 PM on May 22, 2013 [14 favorites]


When it comes to you, then hopefully you will realize that the carefully crafted rationalizations have blinded you and turned you against the people you should be allied with

You know, I'm a big fat Socialist but I can't even to begin to relate to what you just said. There is no one to allay with here. There is no political statement to be made. This was the act of a madman and an animal nothing less - and nothing more.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 10:08 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


As expected, the lovely liberal Mefites are desperately casting around for any possible explanation/influence for this except one. Depressingly predictable.
posted by Decani at 1:05 AM on May 23 [+] [!]


What is the reason then, oh wise one?
posted by dazed_one at 10:11 PM on May 22, 2013


The amount of confusion expressed in this thread is incredible.

If you believe you are thinking more clearly, you could help dispel the confusion with a sufficiently explicit statement of what you believe.
posted by Jpfed at 10:11 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


When it comes to you, then hopefully you will realize that the carefully crafted rationalizations have blinded you and turned you against the people you should be allied with. As was intended when the programming was put in place and never questioned.

I think this is the opening narration to Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:16 PM on May 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


dazed_one: "What is the reason then, oh wise one?"

and Decani was never seen again.
posted by boo_radley at 10:23 PM on May 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


[Maybe folks could forgo the delphic / cryptic / sneering "You can't handle the truth!" hit-&-run thing, and either just participate in the actual discussion or skip the thread.]
posted by taz at 10:31 PM on May 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


> Lupus: it may be noise to you but to those who loved the victim it is a bit more.

That's true of each and every death. But 150,000 people die every day.

My great-great aunt died from a bee sting. On average, more people die from bee stings in the UK or USA than die from terrorism. But we don't see banner headlines when someone gets stung and expires in great agony - we don't see any national or international news stories at all unless it's a famous person.

We have remade our entire society "because terrorism" when terrorism is not a real issue at all. Worse, the United States (and to a distinctly lesser extent, the UK) wreak far more havoc almost every day in the world than any terrorist organization, and yet it's generally considered impolite even to mention it.

The terrorist want the publicity because that's what they're looking for. I frankly don't believe these guys were part of any organization - they were assholes who wanted to be famous, just like the Sandy Hill killer, the Boston Bombers and all those other people whose name I shall never mention.

And the government wants the publicity so they can continue to expand the War on Terror. Even before this, Mr. Obama promised us "at least ten to twenty years more of the war on terror" and each time we react to one of these things, they can crank it up another notch.

Don't play their game. Particularly, don't play the terrorists' game. You know they're in it for the lulz; you know their whole point is the publicity; you know that if they are really "terrorists" then they are trying to spread "terror" which they cannot do if we just yawn and change the channel.

Don't play their game. Talk about something else. Or the terrorist really do win.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:35 PM on May 22, 2013 [27 favorites]


/r/worldnews is pretty much only racists these days with mostly anti-Muslim commentors and up/downvotes. It should be canned.
posted by ts;dr at 11:05 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


meanwhile, George W. Bush wakes up in his mansion and starts another oil painting...
posted by ennui.bz at 11:51 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


We have remade our entire society "because terrorism" when terrorism is not a real issue at all.

Th
e number of people killed in individual terror attacks is much higher than the number of people killed in anti-gay violence in NYC. Yet the Metafilter community is quite willing to proclaim this an issue of major importance, that society needs to be remade to prevent it, and to talk quite a bit about the motives for such attacks and why the thinking that produced them needs to be publicly shamed.

If you're going to insist this is an un-story, you're going to have to come up with a better reason to ignore it than counting up the bodies.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 12:10 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


> If you're going to insist this is an un-story, you're going to have to come up with a better reason to ignore it than counting up the bodies.

"You know they're in it for the lulz; you know their whole point is the publicity; you know that if they are really "terrorists" then they are trying to spread "terror" which they cannot do if we just yawn and change the channel.

"Don't play their game. Talk about something else. Or the terrorists really do win."

Why is this not clear? I frankly don't believe you read what I wrote at all.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:15 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Last, and strangest, is the woman with the shopping cart.
posted by homunculus at 12:27 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


I should not be surprised to find out that the gun they were carrying isn't real and this is why they used machetes. It would also very much surprise me if they weren't both high as kites. Cutting a head off in broad daylight isn't something most people can do. You can't really prepare for that sort of activity.
posted by longbaugh at 12:40 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


> My great-great aunt died from a bee sting. On average, more people die from bee stings in the UK or USA than die from terrorism.

Hasn't the war on bees been won?
posted by vbfg at 12:41 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm so fucking sick of everyone refusing, REFUSING, to acknowledge the real problem here.

The real problem here is young, violent, angry, entitled men. PERIOD.


Ah, Cairdeas, nothing like being reductive or anything.

Let's see, the murder rate per 100,000 people in the UK is 1/4 that of the US. Therefore, let's conclude that maybe the real problem isn't men or testosterone, but nationality.

Is that reasonable discussion of causality or anything? Let alone offensive, when the vast majority of both country's citizens are peaceful. As are the majority of men.
posted by C.A.S. at 12:45 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


[People who want to continue this discussion need to go ahead and take it to email, and drop the derail here as requested above.]
posted by taz at 12:54 AM on May 23, 2013


Crazy people committing brutal murders is nothing new, and largely is on the decrease, in the UK at least. Whats new is smartphones, youtube and non-stop news.
posted by memebake at 12:56 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


One detail that has not been reported on any media I have seen: Ingrid Loyau-Kennett is French. The UK's newest hero, who checked the pulse of the victim and chatted to the killers, who the newspapers describe as "a Cub Scout leader and mother-of-two from Cornwall" grew up in France. She went to high school in St Quentin and graduated from Jussieu university in Paris. With all the flag-waving and bigotry that we've seen since this killing, I think that's a nice detail that's been overlooked.
posted by creeky at 1:15 AM on May 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


It's awfully like an episode of Black Mirror.
posted by longbaugh at 1:15 AM on May 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


Britain, meet blowback - I'm sure your pal America can tell you all about it.

I've for a long time now maintained that the best thing to do if you wanted to commit actual terror as an organisation, is walk into a shopping centre (or similar crowded space) with a knife, shout your slogan of choice, and just start cutting and stabbing, as many as you can possibly get away with. Then have another one happen in a week's time. And another a week after that, and so on. In different areas - downtown big city, small rural town, suburb of big city - the idea is to make the entire population feel unsafe, not just making it a London/big city problem. It's not like they can start meaningfully restricting access to kitchen knives in the way they can with explosives materials (to an extent).

Having done some Security Studies probably gives me a fairly warped view on all this. At the end of the day, a human being was killed, and that's always a tragedy.


Instead it looks like a police markswoman just dropped them with a couple of non-lethal shots. So British.

I'd really like to know more about this - given that the perpetrators were having fairly calm conversations with members of the public after the fact, did the police even TRY to just walk up and talk to them, or was it all 'shoot them in the leg, the dangerous bastards!' straight away?
posted by Dysk at 1:20 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dysk: as soon as the police arrived the two involved went to attack them, as I understand it.
posted by edd at 1:37 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm glad that this was not a shoot-to-kill situation. These guys should be thoroughly questioned and investigated. Good on the Brits for getting them alive. And yes, they also need to go away for a long time.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 1:48 AM on May 23, 2013


The more they occur, the more obvious it becomes that terrorist acts of this sort are a practically Dadaist crime. They occur for little more reason than that somebody impulsively decided it was a good idea – any deeper reason for their happening is simultaneously so ultrageneric and ultraspecific that there's little reason to believe in it at all. Yet the media-glutted part of the world collapses inward on that moment, interviewing witnesses, interviewing survivors, asking again and again and again and again and again and again what's the point, even after we know there's none, even after we have a full account of mental illness and poorly-checked aggression and privilege of whichever stripe you prefer, white privilege, masculine privilege, religious privilege, none of which matter more than the fact that these crimes are first and foremost crimes against the information age itself. They are committed because we watch and we watch because they are committed.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:51 AM on May 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


Hasn't the war on bees been won?

Soon.
posted by homunculus at 1:55 AM on May 23, 2013


Cutting a head off in broad daylight isn't something most people can do.

Can do or would do. That's bizarre. What happened before the crash? Is it possible that the driver sustained a head injury which left him senseless? Seems like pretty irrational behavior.
posted by three blind mice at 2:05 AM on May 23, 2013


I dunno, I read through threads like these and people desperately searching for a reason. Now the facts of who these murderers are has not emerged, but at some point in their lives they have attached themselves to a particularly murderous ideology and then decided to enact that in a brutal and horrific way.

It won't be the last stabbing in London this year, it certainly wasn't the first, but by happening at "random", so much in public, it becomes national news. Are there solutions to problems like these? I'm not sure. I don't think society is ever going to be perfect enough to stop people succumbing to murderous philosophies. We can restrict access to weaponry (interesting that they had a hangun. If it was functioning, those aren't exactly easy to acquire), but people can always get knives. We can improve education, reduce poverty, make sure angry young individuals have the best opportunities to avoid getting so angry. But there'll probably still be incidents like this.

My worry when we stick the label terrorism on something like this is that politicians already know their answer to terrorism even if they don't work. More restrictions on civil liberties. More international action. More powers for the police and M15/6.

I think we do best when we don't look too hard at individuals, who are a complex mass of motivations we probably won't understand, but look at society instead. We definitely know that crime is associated with poverty, so we could do something about the latter to deal with the former. We get hang up on individuals at our peril. Preventing this stabbing would not have prevented the 99 others.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 2:06 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


at some point in their lives they have attached themselves to a particularly murderous ideology and then decided to enact that in a brutal and horrific way.

I don't really understand this. I think these guys were quite rational, and killed a British soldier rather than a civilian (according to all reports so far). The soldier died a horrible death but a quicker and more dignified one than some at Abu Ghraib, amazing as that may sound. And Abu Ghraib was systematically done in order to inflict terror on an entire civilian population. I'd have assumed this is just a return serving, as the guy explicitly says it is, and not much to do with 'murderous ideologies.'
posted by colie at 2:13 AM on May 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


Are there solutions to problems like these?

Are there solutions to when toddlers throw tantrums and throw food because the world isn't exactly to their liking? I'm not a parent but I seem to recall reading that you're supposed to ignore bratty kids when they act like brats, or else they wind up spoiled and narcissistic.

Media makes narcissists out of us all, because it actually puts us at the center of the world. The solution is media reform – not from within, because the media is a hopelessly thoughtless beast demanding attention, but from the individuals who consume it and are sickened by it.

There are things to read about, and things to discuss, which are not this. Focusing on them instead won't make this event any less real or unreal, but it will make it slightly less important, and the importance of the event is what matters to those who commit it.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:17 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


In Mao II I thought about the secluded writer, the arch individualist, living outside the glut of the image world. And then the crowd, many kinds of crowds, people in soccer stadiums, people gathered around enormous photographs of holy men or heads of state. This book is an argument about the future. Who wins the struggle for the imagination of the world? There was a time when the inner world of the novelist—Kafka’s private vision and maybe Beckett’s—eventually folded into the three-dimensional world we were all living in. These men wrote a kind of world narrative. And so did Joyce in another sense. Joyce turned the book into a world with Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. Today, the world has become a book—more precisely a news story or television show or piece of film footage. And the world narrative is being written by men who orchestrate disastrous events, by military leaders, totalitarian leaders, terrorists, men dazed by power. World news is the novel people want to read. It carries the tragic narrative that used to belong to the novel. The crowds in Mao II, except for the mass wedding, are TV crowds, masses of people we see in news coverage of terrible events. The news has been full of crowds, and the TV audience represents another kind of crowd. The crowd broken down into millions of small rooms.
Don DeLillo (via)
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:19 AM on May 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


I don't really understand this. I think these guys were quite rational, and killed a British soldier rather than a civilian (according to all reports so far). The soldier died a horrible death but a quicker and more dignified one than some at Abu Ghraib, amazing as that may sound. And Abu Ghraib was systematically done in order to inflict terror on an entire civilian population. I'd have assumed this is just a return serving, as the guy explicitly says it is, and not much to do with 'murderous ideologies.'


Perhaps my wording was a little imprecise, but can we agree that any ideology which leads one to believe that the correct method to reduce deaths in one nation is to murder tangentially related people in the country which caused such deaths is at the very least deeply misguided? My rhetorical point doesn't really go away if we replace murderous ideology with misguided ideology. I don't know how one can call anyone who hacks someone apart with a cleaver as rational, even if there is a vague logic to their actions.

I think its hard to define rationality when the goals of the individuals involved in these acts are so incredibly wooly.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 2:38 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's no way a British soldier can be called 'tangentially related'.

As far as I know, although there were some convictions from Abu Ghraib, nobody questioned the rationality of the perpetrators. They were doing their jobs pretty much as instructed.

the goals of the individuals involved in these acts are so incredibly wooly


I don't agree with their methods, but the goals are quite clear - as is the case with Bin Laden's stated objectives. Dismissing them as irrational and under the sway of a murderous ideology etc.
is part of the standard 'they hate us for our freedom' narrative and just doesn't bear up to analysis.
posted by colie at 2:43 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


... none of which matter more than the fact that these crimes are first and foremost crimes against the information age itself. They are committed because we watch and we watch because they are committed.
Details are still emerging of course and the way we have come to learn about this attack can't be separated from the information age, but in and of itself it doesn't appear so far different from any number of politically-motivated attacks in recent UK history. The use of hand-to-hand weapons rather than a bomb or (primarily) a gun distinguishes it from e.g. the IRA attentats but I don't think that's sufficient to proclaim it a crime of a wholly new type.
posted by Abiezer at 2:44 AM on May 23, 2013


...can we agree that any ideology which leads one to believe that the correct method to reduce deaths in one nation is to murder tangentially related people in the country which caused such deaths is at the very least deeply misguided?

Yes. But the right don't so unfortunately, we are stuck in this cycle.
posted by Tuatara at 2:48 AM on May 23, 2013


I don't agree with their methods, but the goals are quite clear - as is the case with Bin Laden's stated objectives. Dismissing them as irrational and under the sway of a murderous ideology etc.,
is part of the standard 'they hate us for our freedom' narrative and just doesn't bear up to analysis.


I'm sorry, who are "they"? We know very about these two men other than one of them mentioned that their women are seeing acts like this every day, and that the army has been killing Muslims. What is their goal then? For me to know that? For me to feel bad at that? Or just to take revenge and have everyone know? I certainly don't know, and I'm wondering how you do? They certainly didn't mention Abu Ghraib, so its a bit odd to bring it up here.

My point, if it wasn't clear, is that it is difficult to take an act like this and try to easily explain it. I don't think we'll get very far (and certainly not when all the facts of the matter aren't even clear yet), and we may trip over ourselves doing them.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 2:50 AM on May 23, 2013


It's not all confirmed, but there is video of the guy covered in blood holding a cleaver and saying this:

"We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day. This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. We must fight them. I apologise that women had to witness this today. But in our land, our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your government, they don't care about you."

it is difficult to take an act like this and try to easily explain it.

I don't think it is. It's easy to see why people do this kind of thing.

It's also easy to see how relevant Abu Ghraib would be to this.
posted by colie at 2:56 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


it is difficult to take an act like this and try to easily explain it

Is it possible - stay with me here, we're going on a journey - that they killed a soldier as revenge for foreign-led military interventions in Muslim countries, and because they thought this was in accordance with the wishes of their deity?

I mean, I'm only repeating one of the attacker's calmly-stated personal account, given on the scene, moments after committing said action, captured on video by a random bystander. We should probably overthink this some more.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:08 AM on May 23, 2013 [23 favorites]


Simply as a point of reference, there were a group of home grown Islamists arrested in Australia a couple of years back that were planning to attack a military barracks here.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 3:18 AM on May 23, 2013


Simply as a point of reference, there were a group of home grown Islamists arrested in Australia a couple of years back that were planning to attack a military barracks here.
Comparisons here have been made to a 2007 (?) plot to kidnap and behead a soldier that someone in Birmingham was arrested for and is now serving time over.
posted by Abiezer at 3:26 AM on May 23, 2013


attacker's calmly-stated personal account

That is what the man said. Speaking with a South London accent and talking about what soldiers were doing to Muslims in his country.

What caused that guy and his accomplice (?) to snap at 2 o´clock in the afternoon in broad daylight, well, that's something else entirely. I'm having a hard time imagining that this was entirely random.

Seems they crashed the car into him, pinning him against a road-sign and then set into him with the big knives, so pretty much a premeditated act of ultra violence. I don't know. It would seem if you're a terrorist bent on terrorizing you leave the house with a plan. You don't just drive around looking for some random opportunity.
posted by three blind mice at 3:29 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


They drove to a military barracks.
posted by empath at 3:34 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


>they killed a soldier as revenge for foreign-led military interventions in Muslim countries, and because they thought this was in accordance with the wishes of their deity?

You don't think this still needs unpacking? (probably not, but stay with me here)

His* 'deity' is fiction... his 'in our land' is fiction (obviously a Londoner)... and the reason for revenge is quite probably fiction as well (he's mentally unstable and his rationalle is fiction).

I say 'he' because I'm speculating that his accomplice was following his alpha mate
posted by panaceanot at 3:37 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


But do we really want to see a bloodstained man waving a meat cleaver as he spouts wearily familiar nonsense about eye for eye, Muslims dying every day (we all die every day) and how David Cameron will be quite safe – but the rest of us won't? Leaving aside the point that prime ministers get protection because they are more at risk from violent attacks than the rest of us, TV coverage is clearly what the perpetrators of this crime wanted.

So let's give them what they want. That seems to be our collective answer. The alleged killers, shot but still alive (no street executions please, officers), are in custody and will stand trial. Whatever their religious beliefs, they are modern and secular enough to have decided to defer the fruits of martyrdom and carnal rewards in paradise. That makes sense to most of us, though it is another selfishly expensive decision for the taxpayer.

Preoccupied elsewhere yesterday afternoon, I became aware of a "terrorist incident at Woolwich" quite late in the cycle. When I checked the BBC's News channel – Sky gets far too excited too quickly for my taste – I quickly decided that this ugly crime was likely to be a one-off by a couple of disturbed young men who joined a jihadi website class rather than one of south-east London's gangs. They might have murdered a gang rival or a shopkeeper, instead they channelled their testosterone bloodlust elsewhere. I switched the TV off, watching the endless recycling of this voyeuristic stuff is bad for us all, even at my age.

posted by Megami at 3:41 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


"The Mail Online's rudeboy translation department finally gets the job they've been waiting for."
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:54 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Less than two weeks ago an elderly Muslim gentleman was stabbed to death in the street in Britain's second-largest city, Birmingham. Police seek a white suspect. This killing was almost certainly racially motivated; it may have been linked to larger organised groups of hate-mongers (e.g. a gang). Yet it was not widely reported, and no one is using the 'terror' word. Obviously violent white men get to be psychopaths and not terrorists.
posted by AFII at 3:55 AM on May 23, 2013 [22 favorites]


Did they try and hack his head off in full view of the public on a busy city street?
posted by longbaugh at 4:00 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


who knows, it wasn't live tweeted.
In all seriousness, I get your point, but terror of attacks by total strangers when you're walking home after prayers, caused by a real and ideological war you can't control, and perpetrated on you because of your skin or your job or your religion, is still terror.
posted by AFII at 4:03 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Obviously violent white men get to be psychopaths and not terrorists.
Terence Gavan, right wing loon nicked with a big arms cache, was charged with "collecting information useful for terrorism" among other things. For all their many faults, the police/CPS really do have some sort of logic to the way they classify crimes.
posted by Abiezer at 4:04 AM on May 23, 2013


Did they try and hack his head off in full view of the public on a busy city street?


Maybe they should have used a drone.
posted by colie at 4:11 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


not about this specific incident:
From Bali to Boston, terrorists chase the same goal: infamy
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:16 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love the "collecting information useful for terrorism" thing. I have soooooooo much stuff that could be categorised by this term. Barring the very odd fictional book and some historical stuff 99% of my current reading comes under this heading. I suppose it's okay though since I've also got The Demon Haunted World, God Is Not Great and I'm white.

Maybe they should have used a drone colie. Not quite sure what that has to do with the price of eggs unless it's a comment about how the EDF do not have access to advanced UCAV technology. Care to elaborate?
posted by longbaugh at 4:17 AM on May 23, 2013


AllAfrica names the suspect in the video: Michael 'Mujaheed' Adebolaja, a 20-year old British Nigerian is identified as one of the two men who hacked to death a serving British soldier in a street near an army barracks in London yesterday...
posted by dejah420 at 4:18 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


the man of twists and turns - I always like to point out this article from many moons ago about how Black September fell apart after many of the individuals got married and a jump start on a new life.
posted by longbaugh at 4:20 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love the "collecting information useful for terrorism" thing.
I think in the Cavan case what it shows us is the police casting around for something to pin on him that reflected what they believed to be the terrorist nature of his crimes, rather than just doing him for weapons without a license etc. There's all sorts of unresolved issues with institutional racism in UK law enforcement but not charging white people with terror offences if there's anything like sufficient grounds isn't really part of it. Other way round if anything would be my sense, anything that can be bumped up to terrorism in the current climate will be.
posted by Abiezer at 4:23 AM on May 23, 2013


1. Drones are killing and terrorising Muslim populations.
2. These guys don't like it and want to fight back.
3. They don't have drones so they do terrorising their own way (although their target is arguably more legitimate than most drone targets).

No special category of insane evil ideology thing.
posted by colie at 4:25 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Michael Olumide Adebolajo, was born in Lambeth on December 10th 1984 and is of Nigerian descent. He grew up in Romford and went to Marshalls Park School in Harold Hill.He was later a student at Greenwich university and lived in that area in 2004 and 2005 in student accommodation. His family moved to Lincoln around 2004 - where Lincolnshire police said today they were searching a house on behalf of the Metropolitan police. Adeblolajo has a brother, Jeremiah and a sister, Blessing. Her home in Romford was sealed off by police officers this morning.


From the Guardians live feed.

Collie, I think you're misunderstanding us here. I used the words murderous ideology because, well, it was a choice which involved deliberately going out and murdering a soldier in the middle of the street. You mention drone strikes, which, again, the man didn't mention.. and are done by the US, not the UK

Why is this man on "their" side rather than "our" side? Why has he decided this atrocity is the best way to fight back? Why did he decide fighting was necessary in the first place?

I am meaning rational as the best way to resolve one's goals given the information one has at hand. Personally I can think of lots of better ways of preventing international intervention, and murdering a soldier is one way I can say has a good chance of actually increasing it. I do not believe that hacking to pieces someone on the street is an action which will acheive ones goals, unless ones goals specifically include hacking someone to death on the street. Of course if one has that goal in particular then one might well start worrying about the disturbed nature of someone's mind.

To respond to a particular comment earlier, no I don't think the atrocities commited at Ghirab were particularly rational for the participants to engage in.

Is it possible - stay with me here, we're going on a journey - that they killed a soldier as revenge for foreign-led military interventions in Muslim countries, and because they thought this was in accordance with the wishes of their deity?



Thats an explanation. But how did he get to that point? Why did he think that was his best plan? I don't think we'll get satisfactory answers on this point.

My actual point earlier was that focusing on the "one thing" that caused his actions probably won't get us very far, and might even be counter-productive. I think "insane ideology" is just as reductive as "revenge for western atrocities"
posted by Cannon Fodder at 4:38 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


lol. Seriously, Mefi makes me laugh

Boston Bombing/Manhunt threads: they are not muslims, they are misguided, losers, children, idiots, losers, cute even.

Tsarnaev Burial Thread: He is a muslim who deservers a musilm burial, it is only right.

This thread: "Can't it just be a brutal murder by a pair of deeply troubled psychotics? Do we really care what their manifesto is?" and, bestest of all :

"In security studies and military theory, a terrorist attack is technically defined specifically as an attack that focusses primarily on harming civilians who are supposed to be under the protection of the target state/military authority (which the attackers prefer not to engage directly due to their own weakness/strategic and tactical preferences). This case seems at first glance to fall outside this definition."

By that definition, 9/11 wasn't even a terrorist attrack.

And in the Boston threads, people were saying "caucasian." When they are actual muslim terrorists it is laughable that you cannot even say it.

This is how muslims in my country behave:

1 .
2.

There is an article about the Oxford gang on the BBC, I will have a look, but it tells of how "men came from miles around." So before anyone says this is only a small group, they were ringing their mates and inviting them over and NO-ONE THOUGHT THERE WAS ANYTHING WRONG WITH THIS.

(If you want more on the oxford case, go to the bbc and search "oxford grooming gang." - Hilariously they are talking about failures of the police/social services/council etc, which, while true, are missing the main point of who the attakers were and how they can be stopped.)
posted by marienbad at 4:44 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


(although that's a total tangent, are you not aware of the massive, historically long-standing rings of white & Christian paedophiles who were not only employed, but even protected by cherished British institutions like, um, the BBC? This is how white men in my country behave.)
posted by AFII at 4:54 AM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


This is how muslims in my country behave
You can't conflate the two at all in any meaningful way. These two attackers appear to have made a statement identifying their motive as Islamist; in the grooming trials the salient point is they are sex offenders and abusers. Cultural factors may have affected their choice of co-perpetrators and victim, modus operandi etc. but are secondary to that. That a perpetrator acts within his/her particular social background is not a surprise, but there's nothing in the High Wycombe case to say the social background precedes the sort of criminal intent that might have come from anyone - and we're not short of sex abusers/offenders from pretty much all backgrounds.
posted by Abiezer at 4:55 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is how muslims in my country behave:

And as we all know, Christians never rape children.
posted by empath at 4:57 AM on May 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


I caught some of the bizarre commentary online elsewhere yesterday in which one individual was justifiying the murder as our soldiers were doing the same thing to women and children abroad. Helpfully adding that we don't hear about this due to the media being controlled by the government. Of course.

It's not too difficult to work back from that and imagine what horror stories these two individuals were being indoctrinated with that led them to murder.
posted by panboi at 5:04 AM on May 23, 2013


colie: They don't have drones so they do terrorising their own way

There was a t-shirt slogan in the film Slacker that read "Remember, terrorism is the surgical strike capability of the oppressed."
posted by guy72277 at 5:21 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


You mention drone strikes, which, again, the man didn't mention.. and are done by the US, not the UK

This is factually incorrect. "According to Flight, Britain's drones have used their weapons more than 380 times in Afghanistan since 2007 for a "combined total of 45,000 flight hours." Those strikes were conducted remotely from Creech [Nevada, USA]. However, starting this year, British drones in Afghanistan are being controlled from RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, UK.
posted by Mister Bijou at 5:21 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is factually incorrect. "According to Flight, Britain's drones have used their weapons more than 380 times in Afghanistan since 2007 for a "combined total of 45,000 flight hours." Those strikes were conducted remotely from Creech [Nevada, USA]. However, starting this year, British drones in Afghanistan are being controlled from RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, UK.


Fair enough. I was thinking of Pakistan in particular with regard to drone strikes, and forgeting that of course the UK might well use them in conflicts they are involved in.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 5:24 AM on May 23, 2013


You mention drone strikes, which, again, the man didn't mention.. and are done by the US, not the UK

IIRC, Iran called the US the Big Satan and the UK Little Satan. I'm pretty sure 'the Muslim world' generally lumps the two together.

As Fists O'Fury wrote: (Huh. Without even thinking about it, I think of the Brits as *us*. I think of all innocent people as *us*...but you probably know what I mean here... I'm American, and the Brits are basically us...)
posted by guy72277 at 5:28 AM on May 23, 2013


Have read through the entire thread and nobody's addressed this yet, so --

A guy gets his head chopped off in the middle of the day in London and it takes police ten minutes to show up?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:32 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


[Comment deleted; go ahead and take deleting/banning suggestions to Metatalk. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 5:37 AM on May 23, 2013


This is how muslims in my country behave

This is the stupidest thing I've read in a long while.
posted by ominous_paws at 5:39 AM on May 23, 2013 [20 favorites]


"In security studies and military theory, a terrorist attack is technically defined specifically as an attack that focusses primarily on harming civilians who are supposed to be under the protection of the target state/military authority (which the attackers prefer not to engage directly due to their own weakness/strategic and tactical preferences). This case seems at first glance to fall outside this definition."

By that definition, 9/11 wasn't even a terrorist attrack.


Maybe it has been a long day for me, but I really fail to see how hijacking commercial air planes and then flying them into civilian buildings, as well as a military building, doesn't meet this definition.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 5:50 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


A guy gets his head chopped off in the middle of the day in London and it takes police ten minutes to show up?


The police response was apparently far quicker, but the officers on scene took no action. When the armed response unit arrived, the two men apparently advanced towards the police car and were then shot by an armed officer. This makes sense and would be as per procedure.

The men were reportedly armed with handguns. UK police officers are not armed with anything more than pepper spray and a baton. In such circumstances an officer responding would get the public to safety, and then if there is no immediate danger to life, observe, but not engage the armed men until armed response units arrive. There are a number of armed response vehicles circulating in London at all times, but how long it takes one to respond to an incident will vary. if it was 10 minutes that doesn't seem unusual, however, there are reports in the press that it took up to 25 minutes. No doubt the actual timings will emerge over the next day or two.
posted by bap98189 at 5:53 AM on May 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


>A guy gets his head chopped off in the middle of the day in London and it takes police ten minutes to show up?

(Arsenio) etc... really? That's your take home?

A human got killed by crazy knife wielding assailants. "Decapitation" appears to be an exaggeration that's propagated on social media (horrible loss of life regardless). London Police don't carry guns, so tactical response took >10 minutes to respond.

Slow down and exercise comprehension skills.
posted by panaceanot at 5:55 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is how muslims in my country behave

This is the stupidest thing I've read in a long while.


Maybe, but otherwise marienbad is correct on how MetaFilter goes to great lengths to avoid implicating the Islamic ideology in these type of attacks.
posted by foot at 5:56 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


implicating the Islamic ideology in these type of attacks.
Islamism covers various religio-political ideologies - including it appears that subscribed to by the Woolwich attackers - that might serve as a justification for violent acts; Islam is an ideology only in so far as all religions are and is far, far more broad. People are entirely right not to want to conflate the latter with the former.
posted by Abiezer at 6:01 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


A guy gets his head chopped off in the middle of the day in London and it takes police ten minutes to show up?

If by ten you mean twenty, then good question. It seems that local police were there pretty quick, but held back awaiting the arrival of the armed response. In all fairness, it could have been the result of delays on the Tube and you can hardly blame the Met for those.
posted by three blind mice at 6:01 AM on May 23, 2013


You mean the armed tactical unit takes the tube to stop crazed madmen in London?!
posted by BobbyVan at 6:03 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Don't be silly. They have estate cars with locked gat cabinets. You could always google Armed Response Units UK and see how it works.
posted by longbaugh at 6:04 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


No, silly. It's an urban, multicultural conurbation and it contains humans, and some humans are c to the rasy...
posted by panaceanot at 6:07 AM on May 23, 2013


I'm just not understanding tbm's comment then.

Ten minutes (or twenty, depending on the report) seems like an insane amount of time to let armed killers roam an urban neighborhood without being confronted by armed law enforcement.
posted by BobbyVan at 6:07 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


You mean the armed tactical unit takes the tube to stop a crazed madman in London?!

No of course not, they probably rode bicycles.

Woolwich, whilst not the geographic "middle of London" is none the less a densely populated and busy part of London proper and the idea that it takes 20 minutes for the good guys with guns to show up seems pretty damned lame.

Are they competing with Norway now?
posted by three blind mice at 6:09 AM on May 23, 2013


According to wikipedia the average response time is 4 minutes. I'd probably wait a few days until the details are completely clear. The armed response may only have intervened at that exact time, once getting an understanding of the situation.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 6:12 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a really good overview article also covering last night's EDL gathering over at ViceUK.
posted by hydatius at 6:15 AM on May 23, 2013


And the Staggers was also over in Woolwich last night too.
posted by hydatius at 6:16 AM on May 23, 2013


Discussing this on another forum where members include people in UK emergency services, consensus seemed the response time was within what they'd expect in that part of London that time of day; apparently only ever a few armed police units on duty at any one time.
posted by Abiezer at 6:17 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


We do not need armed police on the streets of London to defend soldiers.
posted by colie at 6:20 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


We do not need armed police on the streets of London to defend soldiers.

What if the next attack targets civilians?
posted by BobbyVan at 6:21 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why not?

(that to colie obviously)
posted by longbaugh at 6:21 AM on May 23, 2013


We do not need armed police on the streets of London to defend soldiers.

That'd be the Army's job I guess. Better to have them in London than in Belfast I'd say.
posted by three blind mice at 6:23 AM on May 23, 2013


What if Jupiter fell on my head!

Headache
posted by panaceanot at 6:23 AM on May 23, 2013


What if the next attack targets civilians?

Then we need Chuck Norris, obviously. Or Chief Wiggum.
posted by colie at 6:25 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


There were armed police at the Boston marathon and they were unable to defend civilians.

Though I am surprised at how long it seems to have taken the armed unit to show up at this incident. Here in the U.S., ordinary cops carry guns, but I guess if you have to call a SWAT team in, that's going to take longer than a couple of minutes.
posted by rtha at 6:25 AM on May 23, 2013


From my POV, bases are guarded and members of the armed forces get a lecture on personal security off-base. That seems proportionate to the threat, though no doubt those lectures will now be taken as seriously as they were during the 70s/80s again.
posted by Abiezer at 6:25 AM on May 23, 2013


Thats the price we pay really. By not having armed all our officers it means that when a criminal is armed the response will necessarily be slower. That said I think the advantages we get from not arming all our police officers must outweigh that disadvantage.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 6:27 AM on May 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


Bases are guarded by guards with empty rifles. Unless there is a direct threat they don't draw ammo (or at least that used to be the case).
posted by longbaugh at 6:27 AM on May 23, 2013


Here in the U.S., ordinary cops carry guns, but I guess if you have to call a SWAT team in, that's going to take longer than a couple of minutes.

That's true. But the "ordinary" armed cops would presumably be able to defend unarmed civilians while they wait for the tactical responders to arrive.
posted by BobbyVan at 6:29 AM on May 23, 2013


Not sure what the current status with that is, but reckon point remains that existing procedures can be tightened without any further need for regular police arming. Strikes me as politically the better response too, fewer concessions. (Edit, responding to longbaugh's last)
posted by Abiezer at 6:29 AM on May 23, 2013


Obviously violent white men get to be psychopaths and not terrorists.

I know the thread has moved on, but it seems worthwhile to note that the "violent white man" there has also comitted a hate crime, and deserves whatever extra sanctions that may carry under the law. It's probably for the best to distinguish between political or ideological violence carried out for personal satisfaction out of animus towards the victim's social identity, and true terrorism that's chiefly intended to provoke a societal response.

This attack and killing may not be particularly successful in that latter regard, but the intent seems pretty plain.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:31 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hate to say it, but not only do we have to win the moral highground on these sorts of things by starting to do the right thing when it comes to the Islamic world...

...we also have to start seeing two of these Islamic radicals being taken out of circulation in exchange for one of our guys an acceptable trade.
posted by markkraft at 6:32 AM on May 23, 2013


Cannon Fodder: "Thats the price we pay really. By not having armed all our officers it means that when a criminal is armed the response will necessarily be slower. That said I think the advantages we get from not arming all our police officers must ouweight that disadvantage."

The British police fired 2 rounds and took out two armed suspects without killing them. The Boston bomber was shot at with 200 - 300 shots which peppered homes and cars with bullets and did extraordinary damage to the surrounding properties.

I'll take the British response, please.
posted by dejah420 at 6:32 AM on May 23, 2013 [29 favorites]


"I'll take the British response, please."

Clearly, someone should've told the Boston terrorists to be sure to stand still near the crime scene to help out the local authorities.
posted by markkraft at 6:35 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I usually ignore the Police Federations denial that front line police want to be armed. Most coppers I have met or spoken to are ex-squaddies and really-want-sidearms-quite-a-lot-thank-you-very-much, particularly those in the bigger cities with higher threats of violence.

The British response isn't without it's naysayers, Charles Menezes' family for one (although that was SO19 rather than a regular ARU).
posted by longbaugh at 6:37 AM on May 23, 2013


As an isolated incident this situation is very rare and, as pointed out up-thread, the police do not carry firearms and faced with an armed attacker would have held off until the armed response unit arrived.

There was clearly some initial confusion over what was happened and whether or not the suspects were carrying guns. That would have led to a delay.

Also, while Woolwich is a town in London, London is a very large area and we are at the broader edge of that area. If the incident had occurred within Central London the response times would have probably been far swifter.

I'm not an expert on police procedures so this is just my uneducated read on the situation.
posted by panboi at 6:42 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


we also have to start seeing two of these Islamic radicals being taken out of circulation in exchange for one of our guys an acceptable trade

Could you elaborate on this a bit?
posted by ominous_paws at 6:44 AM on May 23, 2013


iamck: " Framing as "terrorist attack" makes it political, gives it more power, and allows it to be used to further political agenda. See the changes to the asylum system on the immigration reform because of the Boston bombing - changes that are laughable irrelevant in the efficacy to prevent random violence, but further unrelated policial agendas.

That's certainly started already. Former Home Secretary Jack Straw attacks critics of plans for increased data monitoring powers.

Legislation to force internet companies to store details of online activity, dubbed a 'snooper's charter' was shelved after pressure from the Liberal Democrats.

There have now been calls for the Bill to be revived.

Straw said: "This raises the issue about increased communication data. We do not know at this stage that the absence of these powers was a factor in their being at large.

"I hope the Intelligence and Security Committee will look at it."

posted by Jakey at 6:51 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Issue every Muslim in the UK an Xbox One!
posted by longbaugh at 6:56 AM on May 23, 2013


Cannon Fodder: "According to wikipedia the average response time is 4 minutes. I'd probably wait a few days until the details are completely clear. The armed response may only have intervened at that exact time, once getting an understanding of the situation."

Police are claiming a 10-minute response time for the armed police to arrive, but that decision was four minutes after the first call.
posted by Auz at 6:59 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think withdrawing from the world will stop these radicals from the crazy shit. Gay kids are still bullied and driven or beaten to death by these same kinds of radicals. Abortion clinics are still bombed. The terrorism if the Klan was not ended by Jim Crow and segregation; or retreating on school desegregation.
posted by humanfont at 6:59 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes, by all means let us talk about the US, the only subject that matters.

The universal solvent.
posted by Wolof at 7:05 AM on May 23, 2013


"The broadly London accent of the attacker in the video has turned analysis of the attack towards the issue of so-called 'self-radicalisation'"

Remember the London Subway bombings? Or the Little Rock recruitment shooting? The Seattle Jewish Federation shooting? The Raleigh SUV terror attack? The Trolley Square shooting in Salt Lake City?!

What needs to be pointed out is that 'self-radicalisation" isn't some sort of outlier. It's the most common type of radical Islamic attack done in the Western world.

The second most common type of radical Islamic violence committed in Western countries? The attacks that radical followers of Islam commit against their own families... usually their daughters, wives, etc.
posted by markkraft at 7:11 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


The police don't exist to keep 'us' safe from 'threats.'

The guy himself who just did the killing even realises this:

"You people will never be safe. Remove your government, they don't care about you."
posted by colie at 7:17 AM on May 23, 2013


He's a silly little man with a silly outdated idea though so I'll just ignore him. My democratically elected government cares about me a lot more than any Theocracy has ever cared about it's people. And they're still shit in my opinion.
posted by longbaugh at 7:22 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


The police don't exist to keep 'us' safe from 'threats.'

At first blush, this statement appears asinine. Please elaborate.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:26 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


markkraft: ""The broadly London accent of the attacker in the video has turned analysis of the attack towards the issue of so-called 'self-radicalisation'"

Remember the London Subway bombings? ....
"

I realise it doesn't fit with your worldview, but the guys that bombed the Underground had contact with extremists. Either all radicalisation is self-radicalisation or you need a more precise definition. But given that they had overseas terrorist contacts, I think self-radicalisation is a pretty big stretch. They probably (I don't suppose there's proof) didn't learn how to make bombs off the internet.
posted by hoyland at 7:33 AM on May 23, 2013


If we really want to understand something about why such attacks occur, we would do well to think about it as a public health problem. The question isn't why did these men commit this atrocious act; the question is: what accounts for the fact that certain individuals do this sort of thing while thousands of others who are very much like them (in terms of background, beliefs, point of view, etc.) do not? At the very least, a sort of case-control study would seem possible. (And for all I know, perhaps such studies already exist...)

If we take the stated reasons at face value, we will never address the real cause of the violence. Because, let's face it, there are many people who see the world the same way these men see it, yet they do not commit acts of terrorism. And even if so-called 'radical islam' were magically made to disappear overnight, there would still be spasms of violence yet to come, attributed to some other ideology. Anyone who can point to a specific reason for feeling persecuted is at risk of lashing out against their perceived persecutors; but there has to be some other factor (or factors) that triggers the decision to take violent action. Who knows, that sort of investigation might even suggest rational policy measures that could actually help.
posted by fikri at 7:47 AM on May 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


If we take the stated reasons at face value, we will never address the real cause of the violence. Because, let's face it, there are many people who see the world the same way these men see it, yet they do not commit acts of terrorism. And even if so-called 'radical islam' were magically made to disappear overnight, there would still be spasms of violence yet to come, attributed to some other ideology. Anyone who can point to a specific reason for feeling persecuted is at risk of lashing out against their perceived persecutors; but there has to be some other factor (or factors) that triggers the decision to take violent action. Who knows, that sort of investigation might even suggest rational policy measures that could actually help.

I would like to favourite this more. This is what I was trying to say in several comments upthread.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 7:50 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


If we really want to understand something about why such attacks occur, we would do well to think about it as a public health problem.
I found this part of what Kenan Malik wrote even more apposite:
It tells us less about [the attacker's] attachment to Islam than about his complete disengagement from British society. Islamism has become one expression of such disengagement and of such detachment from social norms.
posted by Abiezer at 8:04 AM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Maybe, but otherwise marienbad is correct on how MetaFilter goes to great lengths to avoid implicating the Islamic ideology in these type of attacks.

Is "Islamist" different than "Muslim"? Islam can hardly be a credible threat in London, which has 500,000+ people who identify as "Muslim" in that city, and who do not kill for thrills like these two chappies.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:09 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


And for all I know, perhaps such studies already exist...

There was a recent Fresh Air interview along those lines.
posted by 0 at 8:13 AM on May 23, 2013


That's a good point, KokuRyu. Important to distinguish between Muslims writ large and the small minority of Muslims who are ideologically radical and potentially militant. Still, the minority of Muslims who profess support for suicide bombings is large enough to be a concern.

I can only hope that efforts like this one by certain Muslim leaders in Turkey, to promote a reformation within Islam, will be helpful over the long term.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:16 AM on May 23, 2013


The Raleigh SUV terror attack

I got all freaked out that some horrible bombing had occured in Raleigh that I hadn't heard about. But, no, you're referring to an event that occured in Chapel Hill, about 40 miles and 2 counties over from the Raleigh city limits. And that event was a guy drove an SUV onto a student pedestrian mall, injuring a handful of people and later claimed he had done it for questionable political reasons, which, while shitty, is pretty laughable to refer to as a terrorist attack in a thread discussing a public beheading.

If you want people to take your point seriously, avoid hyperbole.
posted by hydropsyche at 8:17 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Islam can hardly be a credible threat in London

Your memory is short. All you have to do is look to the 2005 London subway bombings to see that local, radicalized, citizens of the Islamic faith can be a credible threat to the city.
posted by foot at 8:19 AM on May 23, 2013


Your memory is short. All you have to do is look to the 2005 London subway bombings to see that local, radicalized, citizens of the Islamic faith can be a credible threat to the city.

Better crack down on Catholicism too, then.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:20 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I haven't suggested any sort of crack down on Islam, or on any other faith for that matter. I'm just pointing out that it's incredibly short-sighted to not acknowledge similar, religiously-motivated attacks that happened in the not so distant past.
posted by foot at 8:26 AM on May 23, 2013


I don't understand the "hopefully Islam will fix itself and stop this 'Islamist' violence. This isn't like violence about depicting Mohammed in a cartoon or something. Obviously no decent person would applaud this sort of violence but the murderer was right - Muslims are dying every day. Unfortunately, this sort of action just means MORE Muslims are going to die, either because of "war" abroad or "retribution" at home. But this isn't about "Islam fixing itself." It's not about liberal smooshy hearts in this Metafilter thread, it is just really not a fact that there is nothing else at play here besides the Muslim religion telling its followers to kill heartlessly and without reason.
posted by sweetkid at 8:28 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm just pointing out that it's incredibly short-sighted to not acknowledge similar attacks that happened in the not so distant past.

To what end? You're casting aspersions on a quarter of the planet's population based on a few bad apples. Do you not see how insane that is?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:31 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


I always think if it were really true that all Muslim people were unquestioningly murderous towards non-Muslims, we (non Muslims) would not last very long. That would be a lot of murderers.
posted by sweetkid at 8:36 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


To what end? You're casting aspersions on a quarter of the planet's population based on a few bad apples. Do you not see how insane that is?

You're misinterpreting my comments as casting aspersions on a quarter of the planet's population. What I've said is that these are radicalized followers of the Islamic faith, which is indeed a small sample of their community. Try again without the insults next time.
posted by foot at 8:37 AM on May 23, 2013


(Granted, it is a step up from half the earth's population...)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:37 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


is pretty laughable to refer to as a terrorist attack in a thread discussing a public beheading.

Do we actually have confirmation of beheading? I realise the Mirror went for it in their headline, but it's noticeably missing from the Guardian and BBC coverage that I can see.
posted by hoyland at 8:37 AM on May 23, 2013


But this isn't about "Islam fixing itself." It's not about liberal smooshy hearts in this Metafilter thread, it is just really not a fact that there is nothing else at play here besides the Muslim religion telling its followers to kill heartlessly and without reason.
It's not about the Muslim religion saying anything of the sort - it's about certain strands of Islamism, a set of religio-political ideologies that emerged in the Islamic world saying that. You don't have to be a liberal bleeding heart to think correctly identifying the problem will probably improve your response.
posted by Abiezer at 8:37 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


in a thread discussing a public beheading.

The soldier was most likely not beheaded, to the great disappointment of Fox News.

Witness account:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/may/22/woolwich-first-person-account
posted by colie at 8:38 AM on May 23, 2013


Obviously no decent person would applaud this sort of violence but the murderer was right - Muslims are dying every day.

Correct. And the vast majority of Muslims are killed by other Muslims.

Also worth noting that one of the murderers quoted the Quran in his videotaped rant defending his killing of the British soldiers. I think efforts to modernize the teachings of Islam, as has happened with other major religions, can only be a positive step in the struggle against fundamentalism, radicalism and literalism.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:38 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do we actually have confirmation of beheading? I realise the Mirror went for it in their headline, but it's noticeably missing from the Guardian and BBC coverage that I can see.
As I recall, one of the women who attempted to aid the victim said she saw nothing of the sort when she was later interviewed. So not sure it actually occurred either.
posted by Abiezer at 8:39 AM on May 23, 2013


I haven't suggested any sort of crack down on Islam

If you believe that Islam is a threat to London, then you are suggesting a crackdown on Islam because that's the only way such a threat can be neutralized.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:39 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


A little background: I went to college in Woolwich and lived and worked in Woolwich, Plumstead, and Abbey Wood for several years. It's a run-down part of South-East London that is apparently seeing some rebirth thanks to the arrival of the DLR, although it still looks pretty grim whenever I visit. There's high unemployment and a lot of grotty council housing.

Woolwich has a long history as a military town (Woolwich Arsenal, where the football team Arsenal started) and royal dockyard. Correspondingly, there has been a long history of violence between squaddies and locals, and I quickly learned when I moved there which pubs were safe to go in. The IRA bombed a pub here in 1974, so attacks on British soldiers here are not new.

The police station is only around the corner from where the attack happened, so it boggles the mind that it took 20 minutes for a response.
posted by vickyverky at 8:41 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


can only be a positive step in the struggle against fundamentalism, radicalism and literalism.

And, with luck, maybe that struggle will reach the American south one day.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:41 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]



Obviously no decent person would applaud this sort of violence but the murderer was right - Muslims are dying every day.

Correct. And the vast majority of Muslims are killed by other Muslims.


Non-Muslims, non-Muslim governments, whatever have killed tens of thousands or more. And really almost no one in the West even cares because we're not living with that violence every day and get only cartoonish pictures of what these people are actually like. This underscores a lot of the anger behind these acts.
posted by sweetkid at 8:42 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I haven't suggested any sort of crack down on Islam

You're being incredibly short-sighted to call these attacks as "motivated by Islam" or whatever. The Muslim community in Britain or Canada or wherever condemns the attacks and does not provide any sort of support to help carry them out. It's people who use Islam as a justification for their actions, that's all.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:43 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Judging by the calm press conference these guys gave to several members of the public afterwards, even this particular duo of violent Islamist extremists are only a threat to the soldiers normally busy destroying Muslim countries.
posted by colie at 8:43 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you believe that Islam is a threat to London, then you are suggesting a crackdown on Islam because that's the only way such a threat can be neutralized.

Well that's some interesting logic right there. Is it a crackdown to work with local religious leaders and encourage them to deliver a message of non-violence to their followers?
posted by foot at 8:48 AM on May 23, 2013


Is it a crackdown to work with local religious leaders and encourage them to deliver a message of non-violence to their followers?

Why do you think they are not doing this? What do you think goes on at Muslim religious events?
posted by sweetkid at 8:51 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why do you think they are not doing this? What do you think goes on at Muslim religious events?

The fact that it's necessary is the issue here.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:55 AM on May 23, 2013


Is it a crackdown to work with local religious leaders and encourage them to deliver a message of non-violence to their followers?

I assume you are following the news on this story? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22637534
posted by panboi at 8:55 AM on May 23, 2013


This is getting kind of irritating. Timeline:

14:20 - first public call to police; unarmed police dispatched
14:24 - call to police saying suspects were carrying a gun; armed police dispatched
14:29 - unarmed police on scene
14:34 - armed police on scene
posted by cromagnon at 8:59 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Seriously, America does a better job of policing their police.

If true, that is fucking terrifying.
posted by xedrik at 8:59 AM on May 23, 2013


Why do you think they are not doing this? What do you think goes on at Muslim religious events?

The fact that it's necessary is the issue here.


Is that a fact? You know one of the Boston bombers was thrown out of his mosque for disrupting a lecture about Martin Luther King and his message of nonviolence?
posted by sweetkid at 9:02 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, just seriously read panboi's link.
posted by sweetkid at 9:04 AM on May 23, 2013


All I know is that these two guys are not representative of the Muslim population in London. Trying to cast Muslims as the Other is misguided and bigoted.
posted by ersatz at 9:05 AM on May 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


Is that a fact? You know one of the Boston bombers was thrown out of his mosque for disrupting a lecture about Martin Luther King and his message of nonviolence?

What's your point? That the majority of Muslims are peaceful and intolerant of violent rhetoric? I agree!
posted by BobbyVan at 9:06 AM on May 23, 2013


That the majority of Muslims are peaceful and intolerant of violent rhetoric? I agree

It does not seem that way from your comments in this thread. Saying it's a fact that Muslim leaders need to lecture their congregations about nonviolence does not make it seem this way. My point is that they already are doing this.
posted by sweetkid at 9:07 AM on May 23, 2013


My point is that there is a violent strain within Islam that, unfortunately, supports things like suicide bombings and death to apostates. We should support the efforts of mainstream clerics to marginalize the radical fringe, rather than pretending (hoping?) that these fundamentalist adherents are merely psychotic.

If anyone is really interested in learning more about Islamic radicalization in East London, the BBC documentary "My Brother, The Islamist" is worth checking out.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:13 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


"I realise it doesn't fit with your worldview, but the guys that bombed the Underground had contact with extremists. Either all radicalisation is self-radicalisation or you need a more precise definition."

Self-radicalization doesn't happen in a vacuum.

Fundamentally, it relies on basic feelings of anger, xenophobia, isolation, a sense of moral superiority, and the desire to feel powerful. It also relies on and thrives in a modern, digital society that provides online access to basically everything.

Yes, the London bombers had some contact with overseas extremists, in the same way that the guy behind the Fort Hood killings exchanged a few emails with Anwar al-Awlaki... but what we're talking about, basically, is that they got everything they needed to motivate them and the tools to do their crime right here at home, or via the Internet. They lived here for years, they grew up surrounded by our culture... but they turned to the Internet in order to provide them the answers they wanted in order to reenforce their rather angry, xenophobic worldview and to create their weapons.

You increasingly see the same thing with terrorists around the world, regardless of their stripes. The Norwegian right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik was influenced by several rightwing extremist sites in the US, for example. He also used overseas sites for weapons training, etc.

As the Boston bombing attacks have shown, the internet provides you with all the tools you need, including access via YouTube to the radical teachings of known terrorist recruiters.

They didn't necessarily need that extra push to do what they did... they were already radicalized. They just wanted to feel a bit more powerful and that much more justified. In fact, if you take a look at the email exchange in the Fort Hood killings, you'll see that Allawi only sent one reply to the several, several emails sent from Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hasan to him, replying -- believe it or not -- to Hasan's efforts to a $5000 scholarship for the student who wrote the best essay on the subject "Why is Anwar Al Awlaki a great activist and leader". Several of his other emails were regarding ways to securely donate to Awlaki other than using the online credit card "donate" button on Allawi's former website.

Really, for all we know -- and based on how seriously the people at the top take their security procedures -- those wanting to exchange emails with terrorist masterminds are simply getting their emails answered by lackeys thousands of miles away, telling them what they want to hear.

"I won't sully my religious creds or risk incitement by telling you who to attack or where via email -- to get that treatment, you need to visit me here in Yemen -- but I can tell you that Allah rewards those who follow jihad in the afterlife. (You may want to check out Al Qaeda's online magazine had excellent bomb plans in the September issue.) By the way, if you can raise $$ for us, not only will Allah give you his blessings, but I will send you an autographed photo and a bamboo steamer!"

The truth is, "organized" terrorism increasingly functions like online televangelism. It's got centralized messages, broadcast out of a special compound somewhere that you really should donate to, or visit if you ever get the chance... but there are *SO* many ways that you can do good work to advance the cause! (And we're gonna help you find those ways!) But the overall effect is very decentralized, by design. Anyone can take part! You can take part of your paycheck from the DoD and send it off to a terrorist training camp in Yemen, no problem!

Sure, these terrorist recruiters want you to go to the terrorist training camps, if you can... but regardless of whether you take the extra steps of visiting their Facebook page, following their Twitter, emailing them, or flying off to their terrorist training camp, the message is still that you can, in fact, "make a difference" by killing innocent bystanders for no just, ethical reason to assuage your anger.. and these radicals will "give you all the tools you need" to make the weapons and to convince yourself that your violent acts are actually justifiable in some way.

">we also have to start seeing two of these Islamic radicals being taken out of circulation in exchange for one of our guys an acceptable trade

Could you elaborate on this a bit?"


These radicalized Islamists? They are out there, being created... creating themselves, to a large extent. They reflect a certain percentage of the total, in an Islamic society where being that radical still seems like having "street cred" to some. Once they get to that point, well... they're dangerous weapons of mass self-justification, able to lop off someone's head and then defend their actions. They need to be locked up or put down, period.

The messed up thing is that there are people out there who think that the attack was somehow justified, just because they don't like everything their own government has done to try to safeguard them, deny radical Islamic militants control over others, and to advance their nation's interests, rather than doing what the guy who took the video did... saying "aw man", because of just how obviously messed up what the terrorists did was, and turning the camera off.

I mean, if Donald Effing Rumsfeld was killed in a terrorist bomb which also killed several other innocent people, I can kind of understand that... but intentionally targeting innocent people? There's simply no justification for it.
posted by markkraft at 9:15 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Well that's some interesting logic right there.

It's the only logic. If you believe that Islam, the religion, is a threat—and my sense here is that you do believe this, but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong—then you must work to neutralize that threat, i.e., the religion of Islam. If you don't believe that the threat is Islam, but rather men who happen to profess Islam or use it as a justification for their criminal acts, then the focus can be on those threats and other ways to neutralize those threats.

Is it a crackdown to work with local religious leaders and encourage them to deliver a message of non-violence to their followers?

I expect that there is and has been a lot of work between the police and the government and religious leaders already, so you'd need to be more clear about precisely what that work consists of for that to be very meaningful. Encouraging messages of non-violence sounds like a good lesson for everyone. Why do you think it would be especially effective directed specifically to British Muslims?
posted by octobersurprise at 9:17 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


We should support the efforts of mainstream clerics to marginalize the radical fringe, rather than pretending (hoping?) that these fundamentalist adherents are merely psychotic.

I think that's a fair point, but I think instead of "they're psychotic" what people are saying is that things like this and Boston are one of a strain with other lone-disgruntled-guy violent acts and those are not blamed on religion and/or race (like when it's a white man). Sometimes lone-disgruntled-guys say they do stuff because Islam and when they do, we get all intense about lecturing all Muslims everywhere about Violence is Wrong Okay but not when it's from someone from another group. And that's not right.

It's not even the worst of it, the worst of it is the violence against Muslims and people who might look Muslim that always happens after these things.
posted by sweetkid at 9:18 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Further video quote from one of the killers:

"The only reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers, and this British soldier is one, and it’s an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. By Allah, we swear by the Almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. So what if we want to live by the sharia in Muslim lands. Why does that mean you must follow us and chase us and call us extremists and kill us? Rather, you are extreme.

You are the ones. When you talk of bombs, do you think it hits one person? Or rather your bomb wipes out a whole family. This is the reality. By Allah, if I saw your mother today with a buggy, I would help her up the stairs. This is my nature. But we are forced by … many many [sections] throughout the Koran that we must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth."
posted by colie at 9:22 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Psychosis is no excuse. There have been psychotic people throughout history, but in most cases, you didn't hear much about them, because they didn't go out of their way to kill innocent people.

Then again, most societies didn't provide them with all the tools needed to turn themselves into unthinking, coldblooded killers.
posted by markkraft at 9:24 AM on May 23, 2013


Guys weren't psychotic or unthinking. Read what he says.

They are also acting at great physical danger to themselves, unlike drone pilots. They also didn't choose civilians to kill, torture and terrorise, unlike Abu Ghraib etc.

Doesn't make them right, but you have to deal with the facts.
posted by colie at 9:28 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I expect that there is and has been a lot of work between the police and the government and religious leaders already, so you'd need to be more clear about precisely what that work consists of for that to be very meaningful.
That's essentially what the Quilliam Foundation, one of the organisations quoted in the BBC round-up of responses linked above, is.
posted by Abiezer at 9:29 AM on May 23, 2013


Yes, the London bombers had some contact with overseas extremists, in the same way that the guy behind the Fort Hood killings exchanged a few emails with Anwar al-Awlaki... but what we're talking about, basically, is that they got everything they needed to motivate them and the tools to do their crime right here at home, or via the Internet. They lived here for years, they grew up surrounded by our culture... but they turned to the Internet in order to provide them the answers they wanted in order to reenforce their rather angry, xenophobic worldview and to create their weapons.

You seem to have confused self-radicalisation with the media's other favourite phrase: 'home-grown'.

Three of the four bombers of the Underground were born in Britain. They didn't 'live here for years', they lived in Britain their whole lives. (The fourth was born in Jamaica and converted to Islam as an adult in Britain.) Don't paint them as ungrateful immigrants or something, just because it's conveniently othering, as if no British person could ever be a terrorist. That young people fall under the spell of extremists is a problem for everyone, not just Muslims, to solve.

All I'm saying is you need another example. Or to read Wikipedia first.
posted by hoyland at 9:32 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Victim named as Drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
posted by Abiezer at 9:33 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:35 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Before the hate-on of brown people goes too far, I'd like to point out that, being somewhat older than many (ok, most damnit) people online here I recall a religious terrorist group of some 30 years ago who regularly bombed London civilians literally on a weekly basis and killed hundreds of civilians and soldiers. This group of heinous religious terrorists who were responsible for over 100 deaths, 2000 injured and 500 attacks on the city were called Irish Catholics and they were very ,very white and very very good at making bombs which killed civilians. Irish and British Protestants weren't doing a great deal better as they were busy torturing, imprisoning and many times killing Irish Catholics accused (rightly or not) of being terrorists.

Now no one (well no one official any way) in the world accused the Pope at that time of leading a Catholic jihad against Great Britain - funny that - or that Catholicism was a religion of hate.

I point this out to show two things. One that brown people hardly have a monopoly on religious fanaticism in recent years (when you're my age 30 years is recent) and, two, to show that such radical differences of view can still be healed and overcome and perhaps even forgiven when enough people from either side decide to get tired of the hate and just put their minds to it.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 9:35 AM on May 23, 2013 [29 favorites]


Podkayne, I was a resident of London throughout those IRA bombing years and indeed the media just used to describe them as 'evil bastards'. No religious belief analysis, ever.

But now we have Dawkins and Hitchens to blame for how normally left-wing people (like on this website) are ready to start the brown people hate-on.
posted by colie at 9:39 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, while there was an ultra-Catholic strand of Republicanism, none of the various iterations of Sinn Fein ever framed its arguments in religious terms, still less the Irish Republican Socialist Party associated with the INLA, whereas the Islamist strands explicitly conflate their politics and religion, so I think the comparison falls down.
Not that I think that justifies tainting the entirety of Islam with the thinking of these politicised movements.
posted by Abiezer at 9:47 AM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


none of the various iterations of Sinn Fein ever framed its arguments in religious terms,

Oh that's not accurate at all. Sinn Feinn, the IRA, was vehemently anti-Protestant and that was well known and part of their philosophy. Merely wearing the wrong colors (apparently there were "catholic" and "protestant" colors) in a fanatical neighborhood could and did get people killed.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 9:54 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh that's not accurate at all. Sinn Feinn, the IRA, was vehemently anti-Protestant and that was well known and part of their philosophy. Merely wearing the wrong colors (apparently there were "catholic" and "protestant" colors) in a fanatical neighborhood could and did get people killed.
You're conflating sectarianism with the actual political traditions of Irish Republicanism, which were famously largely founded by a bunch of Enlightenment Protestants. It's you who is wrong, I'm afraid.
posted by Abiezer at 9:56 AM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Northern Irish Catholic here chiming in to support Abiezer.
posted by knapah at 10:00 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank fuck for that!
posted by Abiezer at 10:00 AM on May 23, 2013


The conspiracy theorists are a little late out of the starting gate on this one. Ah, there they are.
posted by panboi at 10:01 AM on May 23, 2013


I am left wondering why, when some white people practice religious extremism and exclusionism it is call sectarianism but when some brown do likewise it is called terrorism?
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 10:03 AM on May 23, 2013


I am left wondering why, when some white people practice religious extremism and exclusionism it is call sectarianism but when some brown do likewise it is called terrorism?

No one's denying that the IRA were terrorists.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:04 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Terrorism relates to actions not orientations.
posted by knapah at 10:06 AM on May 23, 2013


I am left wondering why, when some white people practice religious extremism and exclusionism it is call sectarianism but when some brown do likewise it is called terrorism?
There was no hesitation in describing various of the armed actions of both Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries as terrorism. But while sectarianism tainted both movements, it was never part of the official ideological underpinning of Republicanism. A pretended adherence to Islamic principles does underpin Islamist movements.
posted by Abiezer at 10:06 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


No one's denying that the IRA were terrorists.

This is true. It's just that in the old days, terrorism was understood to be a tactic, not a pathogen.

Now it's actually become taboo to even mention a political context for terrorism, and Dawkins/Hitchens have created a vocabulary for demonising this particular group of terrorists from the left-liberal view, while the right says bomb them all and a few others will now quibble about the precise type of gun the London police should now be carrying.
posted by colie at 10:17 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


[good faith discussion folks, if you have questions about this, hit us up on the contact form.]
posted by jessamyn at 10:24 AM on May 23, 2013


The conspiracy theorists are a little late out of the starting gate on this one. Ah, there they are.

Is it just me, or is a conspiracy theory now just a series of arrows, lines and terse captions drawn on an image? The Keystone Redditors during the Boston incident went in for it in a big way, and the 'shape-shifting lizards rule the world' crew's arguments always boil down to arrows pointing at video compression artefacts.
posted by jack_mo at 10:30 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Three of the four bombers of the Underground were born in Britain. They didn't 'live here for years', they lived in Britain their whole lives."

Which makes my point even stronger, I think.

These are people who, despite being in our culture and in our midst, are also outside of our culture, isolated, looking for identity, "street cred", a sense of power in a society where they feel powerless, etc.

"Don't paint them as ungrateful immigrants or something, just because it's conveniently othering, as if no British person could ever be a terrorist."

I have no problem with them being immigrants, and I am hardly trying to paint immigrants as a whole in any particular way. Immigrants are the driving force of change in our society... and I'm very pro-change.

Except, of course, that these terrorists you mentioned?! They don't primarily identify as being British. Or grateful for it. They identify themselves as followers of Islam. And the way they follow Islam is very radical and very violent.

"That young people fall under the spell of extremists is a problem for everyone, not just Muslims, to solve."

I'm hardly denying that one. I just don't think the solution is very easy.

Cultural segregation is rampant, even in the midst of London, for example.
Great wealth alongside grinding poverty and limited opportunities? With the dividing lines often neatly divided by ethnicity? We've got that.

So, it's pretty safe to say that the underlying issues of isolation, lack of cultural identity, the desire for "street cred", and a sense of powerlessness aren't going anywhere any time soon.

But what of the other issues?
The fact is, Google/YouTube is probably more responsible for helping make more terrorists than any other entity. That's a problem.

The idea that you can get your religious upbringing from thousands of videos online by known terrorist masterminds, and that your videos will stay online after you have been shown to be a terrorist? That's a problem.

The idea that we can even talk about there being an Al Qaeda online magazine, which anyone can google? That's a problem.

But when it comes to taking down content... who decides?! The same people who view the defacement of a criminally corrupt bank as also an act of terrorism? That's a problem.

And what about all those "freedom of speech" groups that apparently believe fully in the right of shouting "fire!" in a movie theater? Problem.

And how do we change the culture of Islam towards those preaching peace, without coming off as tyrants by those preaching conflict and emphasizing cultural differences (i.e. identity. Belonging. Meaning. Credibility.)

Problem.

And how do we appease a movement that will, most assuredly, take offense at something else, even if we do pull out of the Islamic world entirely, despite the fact that most people in the Islamic world want a more open, progressive culture... more than those who would want women stoned in the street for immodesty, or people's eye's being gouged out for watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster.

We can change -- and are changing -- but the idea that we need to change to appease the terrorists?

Problem. Indeed, the issue makes change all the harder to do.

So that leaves us, both unfortunately and ideally, as sadly harder, more cynical people, accepting acceptable losses and justifiable, life-saving, terrorism-reducing drone strikes in the name of whack-a-mole practicality, because modern society apparently must protect the right of home grown radicals to become home grown terrorists, up until we have final, irrefutable proof that they are, in fact, out to kill people.

Because, quite frankly, it just might not get any better than this anytime soon, and if it does get better, it might have a lot to do with a boot stamping on the right human faces, repeatedly, until they start to get the message that we're deadly serious. And if that sounds a bit like 1984, well... yes.

Eventually, incidences of terrorist attacks will decrease, and things will gradually deescalate... but people *WILL* be repressed, despite the blowback. It's naive to think otherwise.
posted by markkraft at 10:32 AM on May 23, 2013


Is it just me, or is a conspiracy theory now just a series of arrows, lines and terse captions drawn on an image?

Don't forget the woman with the shopping cart who was obviously in on the whole set-up.
posted by panboi at 10:35 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Now it's actually become taboo to even mention a political context for terrorism, and Dawkins/Hitchens have created a vocabulary for demonising this particular group of terrorists

There are a couple of reasons why I, as a citizen of a democratic country, reject the idea that Woolwich, Boston and 9/11 are politically motivated:

1) If they are politically motivated attacks, the world these people are fighting for is a worse one than the one we have now; also, as I've said, upthread, their ideas are incoherent at best

2) By allowing our governments to call this "terrorism", we're allowing our governments to continue to dismantle our democratic rights. That's the big reason.

Engaging with these idiots in the name of some sort of hazy liberal guilt merely facilitates a power play by autocrats who have no love of democracy.

Call it what it is: an unprovoked attack. Deal with it like second degree murder and carry on.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:38 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Don't forget the woman with the shopping cart who was obviously in on the whole set-up.

No, she was just having it London Blitz-spirit style. That's how we roll. I thought she was going to say 'you can keep your cleavers and your Islamist speechifying to yourself, thank you young man.'
posted by colie at 10:40 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Glenn Greenwald has his usual thought-provoking column here. He has an interesting argument which has also (more or less) appeared above...

The United States, the UK and its allies claims its attacks in foreign countries are not terrorism because (they claim) that they do not target civilians. But in this case, the two murderers knowingly ("this British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth") killed a British soldier and no civilians at all.

So, Mr. Greenwald asks, then how can this be terrorism?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:41 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


(i.e. identity. Belonging. Meaning. Credibility.)

Also: Revenge. Tit-for-tat.

I mean, I know it's sort of "Giving in" and "Letting the terrorists win" or whatever, but maybe -- just maybe -- if your military were to stop going into foreign countries willy-nilly and killing people by the hundreds of thousands, people would have less of a reason to kill a few in your country every now and then.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:44 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, you would have to ask if the soldier hacked to death on the streets of Woolwich (RIP) was a noncombatent, and I would argue that he was. Although I'm no expert on military law, he was off-duty and not in a theatre of operations. At the very least, these guys would be "paramilitaries" and not state actors, so it's not war.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:45 AM on May 23, 2013


"The United States, the UK and its allies claims its attacks in foreign countries are not terrorism because (they claim) that they do not target civilians. But in this case, the two murderers knowingly ("this British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth") killed a British soldier and no civilians at all.

So, Mr. Greenwald asks, then how can this be terrorism?"


The part where the UK and its allies purposefully target insurgents that are known to indiscriminately kill, brutalize, repress, extort, and force into the drug trade Afghan civilians and are responsible for the death of nearly 30,000 Pakistani civilians through indiscriminate terrorist attacks, vs. some poor, unlucky sod who was guarding an entranceway?

Greenwald is an ideological douchebag, who, let's face it, we all knew would find ways to justify this act of terrorism.
posted by markkraft at 10:48 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


some poor, unlucky sod who was guarding an entranceway?

The victim was not in uniform and thus probably not on duty guarding an entranceway. Perhaps you are referring to some other incident?
posted by hoyland at 10:49 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I know it's sort of "Giving in" and "Letting the terrorists win" or whatever, but maybe -- just maybe -- if your military were to stop going into foreign countries willy-nilly and killing people by the hundreds of thousands"

Which part of this are we not in the process of (un)doing?!
posted by markkraft at 10:50 AM on May 23, 2013


"The victim was not in uniform and thus probably not on duty guarding an entranceway."

Wow. Sounds like there was even less of a justification to kill the poor sod, then.
posted by markkraft at 10:53 AM on May 23, 2013


Wow. Sounds like there was even less of a justification to kill the poor sod, then.

I was attempting to politely suggest perhaps you might want to actually read some of the coverage.

Personally, as a general rule, I think most killings aren't justified.
posted by hoyland at 10:55 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Greenwald is an ideological douchebag

Everything in the entire world is ideological so I've no idea what that means.

I was just about to post that Greenwald was in for a massive smearing, and here you go.

You honestly think the UK and its allies give a shit about Afghan people and the drug trade?
posted by colie at 10:56 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Although I'm no expert on military law, he was off-duty and not in a theatre of operations.

Generally, US drone attacks happen at night, to people who are asleep and off duty, who are not in uniform.

We have also been informed repeatedly that the entire world is a theatre of operations, right?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:57 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


If terrorists killing someone raising money for those Brits affected by the GWOT is a justifiable target, then clearly, the British government would be justified to kill Cat Stevens.

If Glenn Greenwald believes the British government is equivalently barbaric, then why haven't they killed Cat Stevens yet?
posted by markkraft at 10:59 AM on May 23, 2013


Surely there are guys on Fox News who've already called for the assassination of Cat Stevens for some reason or other?

If not, you could have a TV career opening up, markkraft!
posted by colie at 11:02 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


"You honestly think the UK and its allies give a shit about Afghan people and the drug trade?"

Yes, they absolutely give a shit about the Afghan people and their wellbeing... the great majority of whom are overwhelmingly opposed to Taliban rule.

You might as well accuse doctors of not caring about their patients, just because they use chemotherapy.

As for the drug trade, they don't support it. The vast majority of Afghans don't either. They do, however, understand the rationale for it, and know it's a war that is counterproductive to fight directly, as opposed through systemic change. They also know they will have to leave Afghanistan soon enough, especially when it comes to ground troops. It's what politics demands. But they want to leave it with a democratically-elected government, better roads, better infrastructure, and the ability to resist the Taliban. The soldiers are keenly aware that they are over there risking their lives, largely as a way to buy time for Afghanistan's institutions to come online and start to handle some of these things themselves.

So, yeah. They do, in fact, care about the well-being of the Afghan people, even if they aren't always the best at showing it.
posted by markkraft at 11:10 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


You might as well accuse doctors of not caring about their patients, just because they use chemotherapy.


Or, 'we had to destroy the village to save it.'
posted by colie at 11:14 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


If terrorists killing someone raising money for those Brits affected by the GWOT is a justifiable target, then clearly, the British government would be justified to kill Cat Stevens.

I think you have this backwards. People like Greenwald are not arguing that the Woolwich murder was justifiable. They are saying that if the Woolwich murder is wrong (which it obviously is) then some of the drone strikes are equally wrong due the equivalent remove from theater of war, lack of legitimate military target, claims of avoiding civilian casualties, etc.
posted by parallellines at 11:24 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


"If not, you could have a TV career opening up, markkraft!"

Did I call for the death of Cat Stevens? No. Absolutely not. I said that, by Glenn Greenwald's argument, Cat Stevens was a justifiable state target.

Perhaps you don't see how wrongheaded Glenn Greenwald is being here?

I consider myself a leftist progressive, btw... but unlike Glenn, I'm not in the business of justifying terrorism, nor did I support sending ground troops into either Afghaninstan or Iraq like he did... a clearly unwise strategic decision.

"I had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration. Between the president’s performance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the swift removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fact that I wanted the president to succeed, because my loyalty is to my country and he was the leader of my country, I still gave the administration the benefit of the doubt. I believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to, and to the extent that I was able to develop a definitive view, I accepted his judgment that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country."

By all means, take the position of Greenwald on this. But don't pretend that he's some sort of well-reasoned, all-wise scholar, 'cause he was for it before he was against it.
posted by markkraft at 11:26 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


>Generally, US drone attacks happen at night, to people who are asleep and off duty, who are not in uniform.

We have also been informed repeatedly that the entire world is a theatre of operations, right?


Well, yes, that's a good point.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:39 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


> nor did I support sending ground troops into either Afghaninstan or Iraq like he did... a clearly unwise strategic decision.

Boy, are you taking that out of context.
During the lead-up to the invasion, I was concerned that the hell-bent focus on invading Iraq was being driven by agendas and strategic objectives that had nothing to do with terrorism or the 9/11 attacks. The overt rationale for the invasion was exceedingly weak, particularly given that it would lead to an open-ended, incalculably costly, and intensely risky preemptive war. Around the same time, it was revealed that an invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein had been high on the agenda of various senior administration officials long before September 11. Despite these doubts, concerns, and grounds for ambivalence, I had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration. Between the president’s performance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the swift removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fact that I wanted the president to succeed, because my loyalty is to my country and he was the leader of my country, I still gave the administration the benefit of the doubt. I believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to, and to the extent that I was able to develop a definitive view, I accepted his judgment that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country.
Notice that he says, "I gave... I believed... I had not abandoned..."

This is part of Mr. Greenwald's own explanation of how he started in 2000 as apolitical, and even supported the government's actions after 2001. The book goes on to detail his rapid disillusionment as it became clear that the government was not going to support the Constitution and was going to continue to lie to us.

Please remember that Mr. Greenwald NEVER made a public statement supporting any of the wars. This is his own story of his historical, personal position - one made years after his opinions had changed. No one forced him to tell us this - he could have remained silent on this issue and we'd have never known.

> By all means, take the position of Greenwald on this. But don't pretend that he's some sort of well-reasoned, all-wise scholar, 'cause he was for it before he was against it.

This is where you and I differ. I respect people who change their opinions based on new information - particularly when they explain the reasons for their change of heart so clearly and logically.

> Perhaps you don't see how wrongheaded Glenn Greenwald is being here?

No, I don't. Can you explain it to us? WITHOUT personal attacks on Mr. Greenwald?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:45 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


>"We have also been informed repeatedly that the entire world is a theatre of operations, right?"
Well, yes, that's a good point.


No, that's a clearly flawed argument and a false equivalency.

The US does *NOT* believe they have the right to use drones throughout the entire world... certainly not in the heart of London. They only believe that they have the right to use drones in either those countries that support their use of drones to fight known terrorist insurgents, or in places which are either lawless, uncontrolled by the government, or where there are criminal targets that are being intentionally protected by a foreign government.

Yes, the entire world is part of the GWOT... but in the vast majority of that world, the means that terrorism is fought is through policing, with the voluntary assistance of local governments.

Also note... the vast majority of drones have been used in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen. All three of the governments of those nations have either publicly or covertly authorized the use of drones in their territory to go after specific targets.

I find it ethically troubling that Greenwald would try to take two very different arguments, one of which dates back to the early days of the Bush administration... as indicative of current US policy, but he was trained as a lawyer, rather than as an actual journalist. Perhaps it would be too much to expect him to adhere to journalistic standards.
posted by markkraft at 11:54 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is where you and I differ. I respect people who change their opinions based on new information - particularly when they explain the reasons for their change of heart so clearly and logically.

You don't have to respect them if they ignored the obvious reality right up until an experiment costing untold lives & treasure finally convinced them otherwise. I don't respect the guy in the hospital who's just realized his faith won't keep the snakes from biting him.
posted by samofidelis at 11:57 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


> You don't have to respect them if they ignored the obvious reality right up until an experiment costing untold lives & treasure finally convinced them otherwise. I don't respect the guy in the hospital who's just realized his faith won't keep the snakes from biting him.

Really, this is offensive. Can you please read the actual quote there, and explain why this is equivalent to believing your faith will keep the snakes from biting you?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:01 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's not offensive at all. It's a pretty clear statement. Either he was willfully naive or he was (and is?) a very unintelligent person. You don't always get to have a second chance after you goof that hard.
posted by samofidelis at 12:09 PM on May 23, 2013


Let me summarize the argument I'm seeing here:

"Ten years ago, in the course of writing a book excoriating the Administration for its massive blunders and shredding of the Constitution, Mr. Greenwald explained why he had privately given the benefit of the doubt to the Administration for a short period 9/11, until it became obvious that he was wrong. Because of this, nothing he ever says can ever be taken seriously again, even though his public position has been completely consistent from day one."

> Perhaps it would be too much to expect him to adhere to journalistic standards.

Can you please knock the personal attacks off? Is this too much to ask?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:10 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


> It's not offensive at all. It's a pretty clear statement. Either he was willfully naive or he was (and is?) a very unintelligent person. You don't always get to have a second chance after you goof that hard.

Can you please stop the personal attacks on Mr. Greenwald and address the actual quotation, please?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:14 PM on May 23, 2013


Greenwald looks at everything through a lens of how he can blame the present administration for a war that was started by the previous one. A very good reason not to play at imperial adventurism is that you will almost always have to do terrible things at a later time. His bile seems largely misdirected. Any time something awful happens, it feels awfully easy to imagine Greenwald giddy about a fresh chance to excoriate Barack et al. It blunts his otherwise worthwhile aim of calling US and British leaders to task.

You keep saying that these are personal attacks, but there's nothing ad hominem about them, and I suggest that it is you who might be too personally invested in Mr. Greenwald's writing & philosophy?

You can't prove to people that someone's opinion is worthwhile.
posted by samofidelis at 12:19 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Glenn Greenwald apparently believed that the US government had the right to go into Afghanistan, to depose an unelected government, to put forward an interim government, and to allow the Afghanis to elect their own government leaders...

But he also doesn't believe that either the US, the British, or Afghan government troops have the right to fire on armed Taliban soldiers, so long as they don't wear uniforms, or that they should be able to attack them in their sleep. In fact, he argues that they are soldiers, entitled to POW rights, while also arguing that they aren't valid targets, because they are soldiers who don't wear a uniform.

Glenn Greenwald basically argues that Osama Bin Laden should have the constitutional right to sleep well at night, safe from harm in his Pakistan compound, because of his rather strict interpretation of The Constitution -- a living document -- says it's so.

Constitutionally, he's like a boyscout Scalia... and he has that right to his opinions. However, they are not consistent with how the government interprets it, they are not consistent with how it's been interpreted historically, and I just think that he's holding on to an incredibly naive position, that is equal parts hypocritical and defeatist.
posted by markkraft at 12:20 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


> You keep saying that these are personal attacks, but there's nothing as hominem about them,

!

> Constitutionally, he's like a boyscout Scalia...

Jesus.

> incredibly naive position, that is equal parts hypocritical and defeatist.

Well, I don't have much to add here. This discussion is vacuous and I feel diminished from being a part of it. Good afternoon.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:49 PM on May 23, 2013


You're choosing to patch two different users' remarks together as though they had been said by one person, then claiming that comparing one person to another is inherently an ad hominem attack. I think you may have come in here already pre-diminished for our convenience.
posted by samofidelis at 1:02 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


The US does *NOT* believe...

The US is a state. States cannot have beliefs.

he was trained as a lawyer, rather than as an actual journalist

This discussion is indeed vacuous and pointless, but the way you throw words around does suggest that you would go far as a propaganda writer for any of the media outlets. Good night!
posted by colie at 1:11 PM on May 23, 2013


">If terrorists killing someone raising money for those Brits affected by the GWOT is a justifiable target, then clearly, the British government would be justified to kill Cat Stevens.

I think you have this backwards. People like Greenwald are not arguing that the Woolwich murder was justifiable. They are saying that if the Woolwich murder is wrong (which it obviously is) then some of the drone strikes are equally wrong due the equivalent remove from theater of war, lack of legitimate military target, claims of avoiding civilian casualties, etc."


I pointed out a far more accurate comparative equivalence, as opposed to Greenwald's use -- once more -- of a false equivalence.

You don't have to go far into his article to spot more obvious false equivalencies, of course.

"in order for an act of violence to be "terrorism", many argue that it must deliberately target civilians. . . . sure, we kill civilians sometimes, but we don't deliberately target them the way the "terrorists" do."

The killers, in this case, neither knew or had reason to suspect that the target was anything other than a civilian. He was unarmed, not in uniform, and not observed doing anything in any way that would distinguish him as being a soldier. They didn't ask him whether he was in the military first, or made any attempt to get him to surrender himself to them, even though they had that opportunity. They deliberately targeted what appeared to be a civilian.

It goes without mentioning that the British military -- the one specific to this incident -- have strict rules of engagement that are designed to prevent these equivalent incidents -- ones that are oftentimes so strict that it gets their soldiers killed -- and potentially severe punishments for those who violate them.

Of course, one very obvious false equivalency is that he is trying to equate the British to the US, though they have different rules of engagement. In truth, however, both comparisons would be false comparisons to senselessly murdering an apparent civilian in the center of London.
posted by markkraft at 1:13 PM on May 23, 2013


Do people still think that kind of mic drop garbage looks like they won something? Because like maybe there's a special award for internet brattiness or something? I don't know, I'm supes vacuous.
posted by samofidelis at 1:15 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


The killers, in this case, neither knew or had reason to suspect that the target was anything other than a civilian.

The attacker who spoke to the camera did refer to him as a solider.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 1:16 PM on May 23, 2013


the worst of it is the violence against Muslims and people who might look Muslim that always happens after these things.

Can you cite examples in this case? I heard one guy was arrested for would-be arson at a mosque and another for vandalizing a mosque. No injuries, though. Hard to see how a couple of attacks on a building are "worse" than a somebody getting chopped to pieces by a meat cleaver.
posted by 0 at 1:17 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


0, you could read about what happened to Rais Bhuiyan if you want to start to get an idea about the horror of anti-Muslim reprisal violence.
posted by samofidelis at 1:20 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


"The attacker who spoke to the camera did refer to him as a solider."

Did they know he was an active duty soldier before they shouted Allahu Akbar and attacked him? Or did they just suspect it, because he was nearby the base? Were they certain that he wasn't a veteran instead?

What were their terms of engagement, and were they in any ways comparable to a government which tries to warn and waive off unidentified possible threats first, and tries to get them to surrender, if possible. One that doesn't fire until fired upon?
posted by markkraft at 1:22 PM on May 23, 2013


Far too early to say whether or not they had at least reasonable grounds for assuming Drummer Rigby was a serving soldier - for all we know they could have watched him come out of Woolwich Barracks. Certainly them going there to perpetrate the attack suggests they were seeking a military target.
posted by Abiezer at 1:25 PM on May 23, 2013


And yes, any anti-Muslim reprisals would be criminal, senseless, and vastly unjustified. In fact, it would be the kind of thing the vast majority of British wouldn't support, just like the vast majority of the followers of Islam in Britain would in no way support these terrorists in their midst.

One wrong doesn't justify another, it is true... but even though I would be the first to argue that there are valid reasons for the Afghan people to support direct resistance against known foreign troops in their midst, just as there are valid reasons for coalition troops to help resist the Taliban and strengthen the position of the Afghan government.. neither of the aforementioned types of home-grown terrorism are that.
posted by markkraft at 1:31 PM on May 23, 2013


He was wearing a 'Help For Heroes' shirt which may have led the attackers to make the connection.

From the scattered eyewitness reports it looks like they drove into him with the car first, which suggests they spotted the shirt, made the assumption and then took the opportunity. It looks like a very tragic coincidental chain of events.
posted by panboi at 1:37 PM on May 23, 2013


"Far too early to say whether or not they had at least reasonable grounds for assuming Drummer Rigby was a serving soldier - for all we know they could have watched him come out of Woolwich Barracks."

Lots of civilians -- veterans, family members, civilian workers, NGO workers, charity workers, etc. -- visit and leave military barracks every day. That doesn't make you a suspected soldier.

Could've just as easily been this guy.
posted by markkraft at 1:42 PM on May 23, 2013


Young lad, early twenties, got the haircut and build. Not saying they necessarily performed some super-duper surveillance but no reason to think they didn't make some attempt to identify a serving soldier. My only point is I don't think there's any need to paint their attack as some free-for-all as you started off describing it as: "The killers, in this case, neither knew or had reason to suspect that the target was anything other than a civilian." By their amateur lights they may well have made some attempt.
posted by Abiezer at 1:48 PM on May 23, 2013



the worst of it is the violence against Muslims and people who might look Muslim that always happens after these things.

Can you cite examples in this case? I heard one guy was arrested for would-be arson at a mosque and another for vandalizing a mosque. No injuries, though. Hard to see how a couple of attacks on a building are "worse" than a somebody getting chopped to pieces by a meat cleaver.


I wasn't talking about this case, I was talking about all of them together, including Boston where several Muslim women were punched, 9/11 after which Sikh men were killed, etc, etc, many many examples.

But even more importantly I never, ever said in that comment above that I was saying that reprisal attacks against Muslims are 'worse' than the Woolwich attack and it really disingenuous to say that I did.

So this:
Hard to see how a couple of attacks on a building are "worse" than a somebody getting chopped to pieces by a meat cleaver.

Might be "hard to see" because it's not what I was saying AT ALL.
posted by sweetkid at 1:50 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


"From the scattered eyewitness reports it looks like they drove into him with the car first"

*WHUMP!*

Sorry about that, sir, but before we begin, we have a few formalities to address. Are you currently active-duty soldier?!
posted by markkraft at 2:00 PM on May 23, 2013


your street murder fanfic is kinda weird I must say markkraft
posted by sweetkid at 2:05 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sweetkid, I guess I was confused by your earlier comment that "[t]o me that sort of thing (reprisal violence) is always going to be the greater worry." You haven't condemned this attack at all, but instead have condemned "attacks" on mosques. I may have misread your intent, but it was an honest misunderstanding, not insincerity.

So Boston: 3 dead, dozens dismembered, hundred injured. Reprisal: a couple of Muslim ladies punched. Woolwich: 1 dead. Reprisal: a couple of buildings vandalized. Sorry, I just don't see this huge out-of-proportion anti-muslim backlash you say always occurs. Save for Iraq, of course, but that's a different can of worms.
posted by 0 at 2:08 PM on May 23, 2013


Doesn't mean they've not picked him out for a reason beforehand. We're both just speculating, but I've seen nothing in their reported behaviour to suggest they weren't working to something like a plan that in their minds included something that amounted to rules of engagement. So your initial point is tenuous at best.
I have no time for what they've done (or Glen Greenwald for that matter), but you're constructing a tendentious scenario same as he is.
posted by Abiezer at 2:08 PM on May 23, 2013


Again, I'm not comparing the two situations and saying one is "worse," I didn't say anything was "huge" or "out of proportion" and you deliberately or not keep saying that (that's not what my 'greater worry' comment mean, either).

Your "reprisal" tally is ridiculous, also, because the "Muslim ladies" had nothing to do with the Boston offense. You're lining things up as 'this side'/ 'that side' regarding things that aren't on the same side.
posted by sweetkid at 2:12 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Has there been anti-Muslim violence following Woolwich or not? You seem worried about something that hasn't happened while not at all acknowledging what has happened: two people brutally killled somebody explicitly in the name of Islam.
posted by 0 at 2:18 PM on May 23, 2013


"I think efforts to modernize the teachings of Islam, as has happened with other major religions, can only be a positive step in the struggle against fundamentalism"

What would this look like? A western politically sponsored Muslim reformation with a mission to 'modernise' Islam (and a not-so-secret mission to make sure it ended up being more west-friendly)?

And what's the plan? Do we roll into one of the centres of Islamic jurisprudence in some troublespot, say Yemen. Do we call a meeting and tell the sheikhs: "Guys, we need to talk to you about modernizing the Koran - the literal word of God - and creating a more 'moderate' Islam. Oh and can we start thinking timescales so we can coordinate it with the counterinsurgency phase?"

No. It is a silly plan.
posted by fingerbang at 2:19 PM on May 23, 2013



You seem worried about something that hasn't happened while not at all acknowledging what has happened: two people brutally killled somebody explicitly in the name of Islam.


you are completely weirdly misreading all my comments (and sort of mushing them together?) and I don't really have anything to say about that.

If you think I don't care that a guy was murdered in the street, like, OK then.
posted by sweetkid at 2:20 PM on May 23, 2013


0: "Has there been anti-Muslim violence following Woolwich or not? You seem worried about something that hasn't happened while not at all acknowledging what has happened: two people brutally killled somebody explicitly in the name of Islam."

Yes, the EDL were out last night, as was noted in the FPP. Perhaps the fact they didn't set upon a random perceived-to-be-Muslim person makes them not anti-Muslim enough for you, though you'd be living in denial. Plus, IIRC, an suspected arson attempt at a mosque and some vandalism at another, though those might have been 'just' 'regular' racist violence.
posted by hoyland at 2:31 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Violence, to me, involves some sort of physical assault against against a living being.
posted by 0 at 2:34 PM on May 23, 2013


0: "Violence, to me, involves some sort of physical assault against against a living being."

The EDL were engaged in 'running battles' with the police.
posted by hoyland at 2:37 PM on May 23, 2013


But, yes, let's just pretend the EDL aren't racists and aren't violent, sounds like a plan.

Any of this sound like reprisals to you? Or do you want someone else killed before you acknowledge it?
posted by hoyland at 2:39 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Any of this sound like reprisals to you?

Indeed, that's a cite I can understand. Thanks. Can't say I appreciate the 'acknowledge it' bit afterwards though. I suppose it's fair to ask if you want someone else killed before you acknowledge the hacking was a hate crime itself?
posted by 0 at 2:49 PM on May 23, 2013


Are you seriously arguing that because nothing bad happened last night, that proves that anti-Muslim violent reprisals don't happen? Because that is not a very solid position. Give it a while. There's plenty of horrible people out there.
posted by samofidelis at 2:51 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Folks maybe ease off this very very narrow line of personal values interrogation?]
posted by jessamyn at 2:51 PM on May 23, 2013


0: You haven't condemned this attack at all, but instead have condemned "attacks" on mosques. I may have misread your intent, but it was an honest misunderstanding, not insincerity.

and

0: Has there been anti-Muslim violence following Woolwich or not? You seem worried about something that hasn't happened while not at all acknowledging what has happened: two people brutally killled somebody explicitly in the name of Islam.

This is insidious and disingenuous rhetoric, and I don't believe it's at all sincere. First you say sweetkid hasn't condemned this attack at all but has condemned imaginary attacks on mosques (I say imaginary attacks because that's the only reason I can think of that you'd put attacks in quotes in that first sentence); then you follow up by accusing sweetkid of caring about something that hasn't happened*, and of actually refusing to believe, by not acknowledging, what happened yesterday in Woolwich. Which, by the way, wasn't that two people brutally killed someone in the name of Islam, but that two people brutally killed someone in the name of a politically and ideologically-motivated subset of an extremist version of Islam.

It's smear-by-insufficient outrage, and implies that just because sweetkid doesn't agree with your exact interpretation of events, then they are by definition in approval of what happened, and it's an ugly way to argue.


*which has, in fact, happened
posted by Len at 3:00 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Per jessamyn, I'm dropping out, but I would like to clarify that I put "attacks" on mosques in quotes because they are buildings and therefore not subject to violence, not because the attacks were imagined by anybody.
posted by 0 at 3:12 PM on May 23, 2013


What would this look like? A western politically sponsored Muslim reformation with a mission to 'modernise' Islam (and a not-so-secret mission to make sure it ended up being more west-friendly)?

And what's the plan? Do we roll into one of the centres of Islamic jurisprudence in some troublespot, say Yemen. Do we call a meeting and tell the sheikhs: "Guys, we need to talk to you about modernizing the Koran - the literal word of God - and creating a more 'moderate' Islam. Oh and can we start thinking timescales so we can coordinate it with the counterinsurgency phase?"

No. It is a silly plan.

I actually linked in an earlier comment above to a Reuters story about a promising Turkish-led effort to modernize some Islamic teachings. Of course any meaningful reforms will need to be led by Muslims themselves.
For example, the question of schooling for girls comes up in the section about education, which starts with the hadith "Seeking knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim" in Arabic and a few supporting hadiths and Turkish translations underneath.

Several pages of commentary in Turkish follow and explain that since the hadiths say education is obligatory for all Muslims, it is a right for girls and women as well.

Another essay on women stresses that they attended mosques and ran businesses when Mohammad governed the city of Medina. "They were active in every part of social life," Pacaci said.

Hadiths calling for harsh punishments such as severing thieves' hands were put into historical perspective so they are not taken as models for modern times, Ozafsar said.
posted by BobbyVan at 4:34 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do we call a meeting and tell the sheikhs: "Guys, we need to talk to you about modernizing the Koran - the literal word of God - and creating a more 'moderate' Islam. Oh and can we start thinking timescales so we can coordinate it with the counterinsurgency phase?"

Islam has been moderate or even progressive in the past, and in the present in certain places. There is nothing inherently conservative or fundamentalist about it. The fact that there are many islamic radical extremists has to do with the legacy of two empires (the ottoman and british) and the distorting influence of Saudi Arabia's oil wealth, as well as the extended conflict with Israel over Palestine.
posted by empath at 4:43 PM on May 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Burning down someone's house or worship, defacing it with menacing graffitti directed at the worshipers or otherwise attacking it is a violent act. If you disagree with this, you are inventing some new definition of the word not recognized by common usage or the law.
posted by humanfont at 4:59 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Do we call a meeting and tell the sheikhs: "Guys, we need to talk to you about modernizing the Koran - the literal word of God - and creating a more 'moderate' Islam. Oh and can we start thinking timescales so we can coordinate it with the counterinsurgency phase?"

There's a mosque about 5 blocks from where I live. The members of the mosque are just regular folks in the city working jobs and paying mortgages. How much more moderate can you get?
posted by KokuRyu at 5:00 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Abdullah who sits next to me in the office seems like a pretty chill dude. I bet he hasn't hacked anybody to death in like weeks.
posted by empath at 5:01 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Blue is slowly, slowly turning into Reddit
posted by C.A.S. at 5:06 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Abdullah who sits next to me in the office seems like a pretty chill dude. I bet he hasn't hacked anybody to death in like weeks.

Use your words.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:08 PM on May 23, 2013


I was being sarcastic about the hacking people to death part. He is actually a pretty chill dude. People who don't know muslims have a fucking weird view of what muslims are like. I've been friends or worked with I don't know how many Muslims in my life and they never talk about religion or act differently from anybody else that I know. I've definitely had far worse experiences with Christian religious people than Muslims.
posted by empath at 5:26 PM on May 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


To add to what empath just said, there's a weird disconnect when it comes to people thinking about what Muslims – as if they're some collective consciousness or hive mind – act like, or are supposed to act like, and the everyday reality of what most Muslims are actually like.

Both of my parents were raised as part of large Catholic families, but pretty much repudiated religion as soon as they had the chance, so I'm probably in for an afterlife in limbo, at best. Most of my cousins – I have 17 – are still church members. That doesn't preclude – and hasn't precluded – them from drinking, going clubbing, doing drugs, getting extra-maritally pregnant or getting someone else extra-maritally pregnant, all of which at least one of them has done at some point. They still go to mass every Sunday, for the most part, and nobody bats an eyelid.

I used to share a flat with a guy who is still a friend of mine. He's an Australian Muslim, an oil and gas engineer, whose parents emigrated there from Egypt. In the 5 years we lived together, we went clubbing, got pissed, and did some drugs, although, as far as I know, neither of us got anyone else extra-maritally pregnant. He observed Ramadan every year and went to the local mosque when it fitted in with his work hours. His sister, a silversmith, came to visit from Melbourne a couple of times, and she was of a similar mindset.

I lost count of the amount of times that he was quizzed upon – or was actively hassled about – whether all of the above behaviour meant that he wasn't "really" a Muslim, even by friendly acquaintances or random but nice people he met. He was/is culturally a Muslim in pretty much exactly the same way that all my cousins are culturally Catholic – it's a big part of his identity and background, but it doesn't define who he is – yet somehow, it's fine for my cousins to booze it up and shag around and still be Catholics, but the minute a Muslim guy acts in a similar way, he's not really a Muslim, because as we well know, all those Muslims are strict dogmatic humourless weirdos who wouldn't know a good time if it smacked them in the face.
posted by Len at 6:04 PM on May 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


OK so thank you for your feedback but as far as a 'Turkish led effort to modernize Islamic teachings' I think that the idea doesn't seem to make sense:

How will the devout Arab world respond to it being suggested they follow some new, moderate, Koranic exegesis coming out of secular modern Turkey?

Especially when they aren't even Semitic and don't even speak Arabic, the native language of the Prophet (PBUH). Also there is racial tension. A lot of it playing out in Afghan as we speak.

There are truly famous and ancient schools for Islamic study in Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad etc. I am not aware of equally significant schools or traditions in Turkey.

And considering that the absolute center of gravity of Islam, the two holy sites, are in Saudi Arabia. They are a source of power and revenue and it is imperative to the house of Saud that the religious status remains quo. Basically, the princes and the Saudi Ulema are not ever, ever, ever, ever, going to let Turkey shake that stick.

Also Turkey has better relations with Israel and the US than with the rest of the Arab world (joke, I dunno, maybe.) and have been happy to play host to airbases and nuke sites and listening posts and the CIA. Anything they produce would be seen as fruit of the poisoned tree.

I'm left wondering who's idea this was. Please say this wasn't another "American Plan to Bring Democracy to the Middle East."
posted by fingerbang at 6:20 PM on May 23, 2013


I don't know how many Muslims in my life and they never talk about religion or act differently from anybody else that I know. I've definitely had far worse experiences with Christian religious people than Muslims.

Yes, this is true. I have never heard any Muslim acquaintances/coworkers/friends say anything about religion. I grew up with a girl who had recently immigrated from Iran, and she had the most liberal parents I knew. This was in Northern Virginia where not many parents, including mine, were very liberal.
posted by sweetkid at 7:03 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's been my personal experience that many (most?) people who fled from Iran over the last few decades were quite liberal as well.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:39 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are truly famous and ancient schools for Islamic study in Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad etc. I am not aware of equally significant schools or traditions in Turkey.

Dude, the caliphate was ruled from Istanbul for 400 years.
posted by empath at 7:56 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm left wondering who's idea this was.

Because the Turks couldn't possibly have any ideas of their own?

It's been my personal experience that many (most?) people who fled from Iran over the last few decades were quite liberal as well.

Half the nightclubs in DC are run by Persians and oh man do they know how to party.
posted by empath at 8:00 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dude, the caliphate was ruled from Istanbul for 400 years.
Never said it wasn't.

The Turks do not have the religious authority to reinterpret the Koran.
Even if they did, no one's buying it.

And there is something creepy about being told your religion needs to be 'reinterpreted' in the context of making it safer for westerners.
posted by fingerbang at 8:31 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Turks do not have the religious authority to reinterpret the Koran.
Even if they did, no one's buying it.

And there is something creepy about being told your religion needs to be 'reinterpreted' in the context of making it safer for westerners.


I'm sorry, what? Neither one of these statements is true. The Koran itself is not to be translated from Arabic (or at least the translations aren't the 'real' Koran'), but there has been voluminous commentary written on the Koran and Hadiths in both Turkish and Persian and it's all respected by Arab muslims.

And the Turk's aren't even translating it into Arabic, so whatever motivation you think they have, they don't.
posted by empath at 8:37 PM on May 23, 2013


The Blue is slowly, slowly turning into Reddit
posted by C.A.S. at 7:06 PM on May 23
[+] [!]


I always find it funny when people think being insulting is an appropriate way to bemoan a perceived lack of civility.
posted by Unified Theory at 10:17 PM on May 23, 2013


There are about 1,500,000,000 Muslims in the world. To say that these 2 represent all or even a significant proportion of them is like saying that Eric Rudolph is representative of the 2,500,000,000 Christians on the planet.
posted by dazed_one at 10:56 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sweetkid and BobbyVan, this makes sense --- lots of people who have left Iran were fleeing from religious fundamentalism and persecution under religious rule. Many Iranians in my neck of the world (BC) are communist atheists, and very, very active in social justice work.

One friend in particular is the most vehement athiest I have ever met.

Anyway, CBC's Jian Ghomeshi might be the most emblematic Canadian of Iranian descent, and he had a great essay recently on Norooz as a non-religious holiday we could all emulate.
posted by chapps at 11:13 PM on May 23, 2013


Also, I understand why bystanders took photos--I wouldn't want to argue with these guys -- but I am not a fan of seeing the images and hearing recordings of what these killers said.

.
for the victim of this terrible crime

And my thoughts to anyone facing the violent repercussions or racist hatred that some will excuse as a resultof this terrible crime.
posted by chapps at 11:17 PM on May 23, 2013


.

RIP Lee Rigby.
posted by Fence at 11:19 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Britain Knew of 2 Suspects in the Killing of a Soldier
Security officials said the suspects were radicalized British Muslim men with family origins in Nigeria. One was named by the BBC as Michael Adebolajo, 28, who it said had been raised in a Christian family in Romford, east of London. He converted to Islam in about 2001, and joined a radical Muslim group, Al Muhajiroun, that was banned in Britain in 2010 as an Islamic terrorist organization, notorious for having praised those who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks. The other suspect was not identified.

Meanwhile, Scotland Yard’s counterterrorism unit mounted raids on Thursday on six residential addresses that were said to have been linked to the attackers, including one in Romford, one in the London suburb of Greenwich and a third in the Lincolnshire village of Saxilby, 150 miles north of London, where neighbors said some of Mr. Adebolajo’s family members were living in a large, modern home in a new subdivision. Scotland Yard said the raids had led to the arrests of a man and a woman, both 29, whom they would not name, who were suspected of conspiracy to commit murder.
posted by BobbyVan at 5:15 AM on May 24, 2013


Angry young men indeed commit the bulk of these crimes. Respectfully towards the mods, I'm unsure why Muslim is a data point to discuss (perhaps because we have few Muslim members of Mefi?) but not the larger idea of why young men turn to violence as a solution (in terror, in interpersonal conflict). This isn't meant to be insulting to any man here, but I, like cairdeas, am curious about why this is so.

I would make a Metatalk about it except I fear it being shouted down instead of discussed.

I also can't fathom walking up to a person who had just done this. A strange series of events, to be sure.
posted by agregoli at 7:24 AM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


...And there's been an attempt to burn down Granby Mosque in Milton Keynes, in case there was still any skepticism about fears of violent reprisals.
posted by samofidelis at 8:09 AM on May 24, 2013


BBC: Radical Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary has said he was "shocked" by the murder of a soldier in Woolwich, but has refused to condemn the attack.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:21 AM on May 24, 2013


In my limited experience with Muslim culture, as a Missouri Methodist, I have found that Muslims are more peaceful than local Baptist.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 9:55 AM on May 24, 2013


agregoli, why do so many Americans turn to violence?

After all, as I point out above, the murder rate per 100,000 people in America is 4 times that of the UK. Both countries have the same proportion of men/women.

I'm curious why this is.
posted by C.A.S. at 10:02 AM on May 24, 2013


Well, violence and extremism is not limited to the U.S., and young men are still often the perpetrators in any case. Again, looking at a larger question than nationality or religion, altho those things are also interesting.
posted by agregoli at 10:20 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


After all, as I point out above, the murder rate per 100,000 people in America is 4 times that of the UK. Both countries have the same proportion of men/women.

I'm curious why this is.


Guns.
posted by jokeefe at 10:34 AM on May 24, 2013


C. A. S., that is both an entirely legitimate question (though obviously not in the context of this incident) and one that is asked after pretty much every widely publicized act of violence in the U.S. (See also: gun control debate flare-ups, "culture of violence.") For this incident, the equivalent question would be "What in British culture produces 'homegrown' radicalist violence?" which has in fact been asked a whole bunch of times in this thread. Just as those questions are legitimate, so is agregoli's.
posted by ostro at 10:36 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think maybe the conflation of violence and terrorism may be not the best place to start when searching for the root causes of terrorist acts like this. Terrorism is often spawned not out of economic or theological factors (although those are interconnected) but rather the level of political change/repression and the instability that comes with it within the state the terrorists feel linked to.

Strangely, a heavily repressive government/state apparatus will not face strong terrorist threats; neither will a state with a large poor population. However, one undergoing the transition to democracy (or any other form of governance) and the subsequent instability that comes with such a transition, will often be faced with many acts of terrorism.

Confusion on a governmental scale breeds insurrection and terrorism.

The men involved in the attack may have south London accents, but we live in a global network these days and it is clear that the state they associate with and call 'home' is Afghanistan. Without means to go there and fight the forces they see as upsetting the balance of their country, they may have perceived striking out at the home population of one of the 'destabilizing' forces (through the graphic death of a soldier) as their only recourse.

While other paths to express dissatisfaction with a state's current military actions do exist, often the perspective of terrorists is skewed by the idea that government does not work for the people, only for itself, unless it is the form of governance they are espousing. In the case of Afghanistan this is particularly clear; a more stable, albeit repressive, theological government is displaced by one perceived as weak and backed by non-native (read non-Islamic) powers. If you recognize that people may disagree with that change and may not see the government of the country they live in (if it's not the country they call home) as likely or willing to stop 'interfering', then the actions of these two men are easier to understand.
posted by dazed_one at 10:58 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


67 percent of US homicides are gun related.

That's not all guns.
posted by C.A.S. at 11:03 AM on May 24, 2013


Angry young men indeed commit the bulk of these crimes. Respectfully towards the mods, I'm unsure why Muslim is a data point to discuss (perhaps because we have few Muslim members of Mefi?) but not the larger idea of why young men turn to violence as a solution (in terror, in interpersonal conflict). This isn't meant to be insulting to any man here, but I, like cairdeas, am curious about why this is so.

I would make a Metatalk about it except I fear it being shouted down instead of discussed.

I also can't fathom walking up to a person who had just done this. A strange series of events, to be sure.
posted by agregoli at 10:24 AM on May 24 [2 favorites +] [!]


I responded to the attribution of men as the root cause of violence further up the thread, but I guess you missed it, so I'll repeat it here: we live in a patriarchy. One of the side-effects of that patriarchy is that men are the ones who people think "should" be doing the fighting, killing and dying. The same could be said of roles in science and medicine and governance - women were perceived to have no place in those fields. This is changing, however. These days there are more female doctors and scientists in positions previously dominated by men. There are also increasingly more female terrorists; as I said earlier, 40% of Tamil Tiger suicide attacks used a woman as the bomber.

We could continue 'discussing' it as you wish, but I'm not sure where the discussion could go once you recognize these points. Far more interesting seems to be analysis of the real (and fixable) causes of terrorist acts, rather than trying to discuss how the global patriarchy is steadily changing.
posted by dazed_one at 11:07 AM on May 24, 2013


Oh, and agregoli, if your assertion is that women are more inclined toward peace than men, I beg to differ. Given enough power, we all tend to act human.
posted by dazed_one at 11:21 AM on May 24, 2013


Well, violence and extremism is not limited to the U.S., and young men are still often the perpetrators in any case.

Well... So? What does that have to do with their motivations?

Men do most of the killing for the same reason women do most of the vacuuming. The disparity has more to do with traditional [men's work/women's work] delegation -- which is more or less arbitrary bullshit -- than anything else.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:22 AM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


ostro: For this incident, the equivalent question would be "What in British culture produces 'homegrown' radicalist violence?" which has in fact been asked a whole bunch of times in this thread.


This is probably a good place to copy a comment from way upthread:

If anyone is really interested in learning more about Islamic radicalization in East London, the BBC documentary "My Brother, The Islamist" is worth checking out.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:13 AM on May 23 [2 favorites +] [!]


I'm not exactly sure why I started watching "My Brother..." - but BobbyVan is absolutely right. The documentary is actually quite amazing: basically one ordinary, smart, baffled, young British guy with a video camera trying to discover wtf his own stepbrother has become a white Islamic fundamentalist. (They come from the Dorset seaside town of Weymouth - the sort of place you love if you go there for a holiday, but which can seem hellishly dull if you live there.)

The film was made in 2011, but it's very relevant indeed to the Woolwich atrocity & to the questions we are all asking.

(In fact the moment I finished it - I googled for any updates to the story of the two brothers. There is a huge one.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:36 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think people are saying that women are incapable of any kind of violence -- clearly they've been involved in plenty of organized killing, from warfare to terrorist cells to concentration camps. What people are saying is that to them this looks more like a messy explosion of rage than a considered political strike, that they think the urge to lash out at the world came first and that the political justification came much later, and that women seem a lot less inclined towards that lone-wolf Sandy Hook/Aurora/Boston Marathon kind of thing. Take another look at cairdeas's comment -- it describes a very specific mindset seen in young men (not the mindsets of men in general) that doesn't really seem to have spread to women.
posted by ostro at 11:44 AM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Glenn Beck would like this thread.
posted by Artw at 11:45 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


ostro: For this incident, the equivalent question would be "What in British culture produces 'homegrown' radicalist violence?"

There has been "homegrown" radicalist violence of one sort or another in the UK (and nearby territories over which it previously had control) pretty much since the UK officially came into existence in 1707. Without drawing any equivalence as to aims/legitimacy/methods, because each of these is different, though all of them were (are) characterised as radical and violent by the government of the day: there was the Jacobite rebellion, the Irish civil war, the Provisional IRA campaign that ran from the early 1970s to the mid 1990s, the SNLA (Scottish National Liberation Army), who sent letter bombs to Thatcher and Princess Diana, or Meibion Glyndŵr, the Welsh separatist movement who fire-bombed over 200 English-owned holiday homes in Wales from the late 1970s to the 1990s, including more than one belonging to Tory MPs, and engaged in a letter bomb campaign in the late 1980s which mostly targeted Tory constituency offices.

I think that the more interesting question is why do we not ever describe any of the above as "homegrown" – even though they patently are – and instead reserve that description for fundamentalist Islamists of British background. It's almost as if people want to pretend that "radicalist violence" is strictly the purview of a violent subset of (non-coincidentally non-white) descendants of immigrants who temporarily fool us into believing that they're British, and not something that has certainly been a regular, if not constant, presence throughout the past 300-odd years of British history.
posted by Len at 12:05 PM on May 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Dazed one, I've been reading the thread. That I don't accept your earlier points as the end of the discussion doesn't mean I don't understand or acknowledge your argument. I would appreciate it if you'd afford me more respect than that.

And more generally - if anyone asserts that women worldwide commit more violent acts, including murder, well I'd like to see their data. No one ever said women aren't violent - humans are violent! But these types of acts are overwhelmingly commited by young angry men. It's not hateful to consider why.

I am intruiged by Len's point, thank you Len.
posted by agregoli at 12:15 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I disagree, ostho. It's terrorism done with knives; it's just more shocking to people because it was done on a public street rather than in a warehouse. Beheading people and gruesome death are standard practice in terror strikes. Furthermore I'd argue that the choice of target, a soldier just outside a barracks, does make it a considered strike. This was not just two men run amok.
posted by dazed_one at 12:15 PM on May 24, 2013


I don't assert that more violent acts are committed by women, just that humans are violent and that we see more men being violent because of the type of societal norms we've saddled ourselves with. We're probably on the same page with regards to that, I suppose.
posted by dazed_one at 12:18 PM on May 24, 2013


Len, I don't think it's fair or accurate to compare British Islamists to Irish, Welsh or Scottish nationalists/separatists. The more apt analogy to "homegrown" Islamic militants would be to British communists (like the Cambridge Five) or perhaps the various fascist movements that have emerged in the UK since the 1920s.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:24 PM on May 24, 2013


I do agree with cairdeas's comment that this is not a game changer. I just don't think that better parenting would stop acts like it from happening. I see the causes of this incident as different from those such as the Columbine shooting (which I would say was a case of young men running amok).
posted by dazed_one at 12:35 PM on May 24, 2013


Yeah, I'm not entirely sure I agree with cairdeas's interpretation of this specific incident either (I don't think we know enough yet), but I think the wider point stands and is applicable to plenty of political violence -- maybe the Boston Marathon bombings, for example. Someone can develop rage first and then clothe it in political principle -- it doesn't mean that what they did wasn't political or wasn't terrorism, just that there's also something else going on.
posted by ostro at 12:42 PM on May 24, 2013


That's an interesting point ostro (sorry for misspelling your handle earlier). Did the desire to commit violence come first, or did the political motivation? I think in many cases it's impossible to tell. I think the aspect of political motivation can be addressed but I'm not so sure about the violent tendencies inside some people.

Males are more prone to running amok (mass shootings tend to be carried out by men); is this due to physiological differences between men and women, the societal factors, a combination of the two? Hard to say, but in general I think we are working to fix at least the societal issues that influence male aggression.

I guess my main issue with arguing the male aggression point in this discussion is that it's only tangentially salient to what happened on that Woolwich street. We don't know that these two terrorists were committing this attack because of an over-abundance of this specific kind of male aggression (obviously they were some kind of aggressive). What we do know is that they had political motivations.
posted by dazed_one at 12:55 PM on May 24, 2013


the worst of it is the violence against Muslims and people who might look Muslim that always happens after these things.

But even more importantly I never, ever said in that comment above that I was saying that reprisal attacks against Muslims are 'worse' than the Woolwich attack and it really disingenuous to say that I did.

No, man, you totally did say they're 'worse'. You said they're "the worst". That's what people got het up about in the first place.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 1:02 PM on May 24, 2013


That's not how I parsed that comment. Here's the part (that people keep leaving out when they pullquote) that makes me read it differently:

Sometimes lone-disgruntled-guys say they do stuff because Islam and when they do, we get all intense about lecturing all Muslims everywhere about Violence is Wrong Okay but not when it's from someone from another group. And that's not right.

So, not "worse than the Woolwich attack"; rather "worse than Muslims being singled out for this kind of lecturing."
posted by rtha at 1:06 PM on May 24, 2013


Bringing gender/sex into this discussion seems strange. You can also say that young men are the primary driver of violence in Chicago, but if you focus only on their gender/sex you are missing the point.
posted by rosswald at 1:10 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


BobbyVan: Len, I don't think it's fair or accurate to compare British Islamists to Irish, Welsh or Scottish nationalists/separatists.

Well, the reason I mentioned them was not to make a direct comparison, more to point out that while all of the aforementioned and Islamists are all British citizens, somehow it's only the current Islamists who are treated as an anomaly, rather than part of a historical lineage, as it were.

The more apt analogy to "homegrown" Islamic militants would be to British communists (like the Cambridge Five) or perhaps the various fascist movements that have emerged in the UK since the 1920s.

Yeah, again, this is kind of my point. Nobody back in the 1930s troubled themselves over whether Moseley's blackshirts were "homegrown", because that was taken as self-evident; neither did they ask the same questions of the National Front in the late 1970s. And the same questions don't get asked about current fascists and their fellow travellers. You don't see much handwringing about how the BNP, Combat 18 or the EDL are "homegrown", and what unfathomable thing is it about British culture is it that turns young white men into fascist thugs. Pick up a copy of the Daily Mail or The Sun – the country's two biggest-selling dailies – and you tend to see the opposite: a lot of stuff about how yes, they do have valid grievances, and immigration is a thorny issue, and if we're to do anything about these grievances, we have to listen to these folk, rather than just call them violent racists, even though that is patently what they are.

"Homegrown" as a descriptor is only ever used when talking about the British-born (or in some cases foreign born, but raised in Britain since early childhood) children of recent immigrants.
posted by Len at 1:10 PM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bringing gender/sex into this discussion seems strange. You can also say that young men are the primary driver of violence in Chicago, but if you focus only on their gender/sex you are missing the point.

Is it? What do you think would happen in Chicago if suddenly, every guy aged 14-45 in Chicago were teleported to the moon. What would the rate of violence look like in Chicago for that week?

What would happen in every guy aged 14-45 in Syria suddenly were teleported to the moon?

In all sincerest honesty, I do not understand why we cannot talk about THE biggest demographic common denominator that underlies all forms of terrorism and all forms of violence.

I mean, here you say it's missing the point to focus only on sex, presumably because not all men violently kill innocent people. Then how does it make sense to talk about ANY trait of these violent people? For any trait you can think of, some will kill innocent people and some will be perfectly peaceful.
posted by cairdeas at 1:19 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


aged 14-45

Yay, cairdeas thinks I'm still an angry, entitled, *young* man at 44!
posted by 0 at 1:26 PM on May 24, 2013


I just don't get why, when a guy kills a bunch of random people and shouts "I did this for Islam!" we're not even allowed to say, hey, you know, maybe there is something about this related to when a guy kills a bunch of random innocent people and shouts "I did this to protest the tyranny of the US government!", and to when a guy kills a bunch of random innocent people and shouts "I did this because fucking wetbacks are taking all our jobs," and when a guy kills a bunch of random innocent people and shouts "I did this because everyone at my high school is an asshole!" and when a guy kills a bunch of random innocent people and shouts "I did this because I was sick of seeing my buddies being killed by towel heads!" and when a guy kills a bunch of random innocent people and shouts "I did this because my ex wife destroyed me financially! "and so on and so on and so on?

Why can't we even have a conversation about how those things might be related?

If he shouts "Islam!" why are we just limited to talking "the Muslim problem" only?
posted by cairdeas at 1:31 PM on May 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


Regarding the debate about the role of gender and patriarchal culture in terrorism, I can't recommend enough Robin Morgan's The Demon Lover: The Roots of Terrorism; the original edition was published back in 1989, and Morgan updated it in late 2001. It's a fantastic, in-depth consideration of this exact subject, and if I tried to summarise it here, I couldn't possibly do it justice. (And not just since it's been almost a decade since I read it.)
posted by Len at 1:33 PM on May 24, 2013


There's no disproportionate amount of "homegrown" terrorism in the UK, in comparison to the US. The majority of US victims of terrorism since 9/11 have been of "homegrown" terrorist attacks, either radicalised residents or right-wing terrorism.

The point of comparing the rate of violence between the US and the UK was to highlight the absurdity of trying to bring gender into a discussion of causality of this incident. A simple if A then B causal link between maleness and terrorism acts is an absurd statement to make.

If Americans murder at 4 x the rate that Britons do, is the cause of that additional murder their American status?

(guns are the cause of 67% of US murders, so that is not completely explained by gun numbers)

For instance, the rate with which US African-Americans murder in the US is about 7 times higher than that of white Americans.

Are we to start discussing the causal relationship of their race to violence? That would be absurd, reductive, and even offensive. The relationship is there, the causal relationship - not
posted by C.A.S. at 1:36 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


somehow it's only the current Islamists who are treated as an anomaly, rather than part of a historical lineage, as it were.

Isn't that because British Islamists generally claim to draw inspiration from things that are happening outside of the UK? The main suspect spoke about things happening in Muslim countries as "our land." When people who grow up in a particular country adopt foreign grievances as their own, "homegrown" seems like the right way to describe it.
posted by BobbyVan at 1:37 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


If Americans murder at 4 x the rate that Britons do, is the cause of that additional murder their American status?

That's certainly a question that many people have asked, and a great deal of time and thought has been devoted to debating it. Is it American culture? Is it American laws? Is it American diet, is it something in the water, is is pharmaceuticals that we take?

We do have that kind of debate about every single demographic trait that there is - except for one. And I think that's irrational.
posted by cairdeas at 1:47 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


BobbyVan: The main suspect spoke about things happening in Muslim countries as "our land." When people who grow up in a particular country adopt foreign grievances as their own, "homegrown" seems like the right way to describe it.

Well, given that Michael Adebolajo also referred to British troops as "our troops" and not "their troops" or "your troops", I don't think I would agree. Here's a quote from his speech, which was recorded by a witness:
Do you think the politicians are gonna die? No, it's gonna be the average guy – like you, and your children. So get rid of them. Tell them to bring our troops back so you can all live in peace. Leave our lands and you will live in peace. That’s all I have to say. [emphasis mine]
I'm pretty sure that young recruits to the IRA in 1972 didn't refer to the British Army as "our" troops, to put it mildly.
posted by Len at 1:53 PM on May 24, 2013


The problem isn't discussing gender aspects of violence. (Which, by the way, we do - a lot)

The problem is the implication of a causal relationship, male>violence.

In a scientific sense, explanation. Maleness can't explain violence, even if it is in various ways related to violence.

As I point out, there is a huge racial difference in the rate black and white Americans murder - and therefore there is a racial component to violence.

Which is a very different thing from saying race explains violence, or race causes violence. The 7x murder rate has complex causes related to race but race is not the cause

That men commit a majority of terrorist acts is noted, that their maleness we should assume is the cause is too simplistic and incorrect, even if its related.

re the race issuecolumbia murder rate paper
posted by C.A.S. at 1:54 PM on May 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that young recruits to the IRA in 1972 didn't refer to the British Army as "our" troops, to put it mildly.

I'm struggling to understand your point. Given that Michael Adebolajo had just slaughtered a British soldier in the street, it's kind of hard for me to accept that he thought about that same soldier as one of "his" troops.

Here's some more of what he said: "I apologize that women had to witness that, but in our lands our women have to see the same thing. You people will never be safe. Remove your government. They don't care about you."
posted by BobbyVan at 2:04 PM on May 24, 2013


I think the mistake here is trying to attribute some sort of rationality to Woolwich.
posted by C.A.S. at 2:11 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


OK, cairdeas, it seems we are having the discussion you wanted to have. So... where do you want to take it? Men commit more violent acts than women. This could be down to physiological factors and societal factors. The societal ones are being addressed in much of modern society; as for the physiological ones, what do you suggest? Eugenics? Gelding? We're having this conversation now - where do you want to take it?
posted by dazed_one at 2:11 PM on May 24, 2013


BobbyVan: Given that Michael Adebolajo had just slaughtered a British soldier in the street, it's kind of hard for me to accept that he thought about that same soldier as one of "his" troops.

I'm not really concerned about whether you find it hard to accept or not. The fact of the matter is that – even though he had just murdered a British soldier in broad daylight – he still referred to the British Army as our troops.
posted by Len at 2:12 PM on May 24, 2013


Anyway, I get the feeling here that you're nitpicking specifics in order to ignore my main point, which is that for some reason, the soubriquet "homegrown" only applies to people who are visibly immigrants, or the children of immigrants, and not to the generations of British born-and-bred people who have engaged in politically-motivated violence over the past 300 years. Why does "homegrown" violence only apply to people who are concerned about the actions of the British state overseas? It's a totally arbitrary reading of the word. I mean, if anything, "homegrown" should apply to those concerned – so concerned that they engage in political violence in attempts to change the situation – about what the British government is doing to its own citizens.
posted by Len at 2:21 PM on May 24, 2013


OK, cairdeas, it seems we are having the discussion you wanted to have. So... where do you want to take it? ... We're having this conversation now - where do you want to take it?

All right...

as for the physiological ones, what do you suggest? Eugenics? Gelding?

I was bewildered about why there was such an initial backlash about discussing this factor rather than just the religious one - maybe this explains it? That's what you are worried will happen if we even talk about this? All men will be forced to have their balls cut off? I hope we can talk about this without acting like "gelding" will happen if we even address the topic at all.

This could be down to physiological factors and societal factors. The societal ones are being addressed in much of modern society;

I don't think that the societal factors are being addressed in modern society.

We do not currently have any way to identify troubled or suicidal boys before they act out.
We do not have adequate mental health support for troubled boys.
We route troubled boys to the criminal justice system rather than to treatment.
We do not have enough mental health support for troubled adult men.
In the crippled economies of much of the western world, young unskilled men struggle to make a living wage, much less earn enough money to live a dignified life.

We have a culture that absolutely glorifies violence, vigilantism, killing, and guns. We have a culture that glorifies the idea of dying for a noble cause, that dying for a noble cause can make you a hero rather than a nobody. We have the idea that killing the *right* people can make you a hero. We have a culture that glorifies the idea of being a badass, forcing others to listen to you or pay attention to you through violence.

Those are just the cultural factors.
posted by cairdeas at 2:39 PM on May 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


I tend to agree with cairdeas. Framing the problem in political terms only serves to prolong the war, and obscures the fact that things are actually continuing to improve for the majority of the world's population.

We tend to see things from an outdated point of view, from 10 or 25 years ago, where the West, led by the United States, was overwhelmingly powerful, and all other countries were victims.

The thing is, the power of the West is in decline, and many other countries and cultures, over the past 25 years or so, have become more powerful. They're not victims anymore, and we have to stop thinking of them as victims who have to strike back with terrorist attacks or whatever.

These guys are the same guys that dress up in ballistic armor and shoot up movie theaters.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:46 PM on May 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


I was bewildered about why there was such an initial backlash about discussing this factor rather than just the religious one - maybe this explains it? That's what you are worried will happen if we even talk about this? All men will be forced to have their balls cut off? I hope we can talk about this without acting like "gelding" will happen if we even address the topic at all.

This could be down to physiological factors and societal factors. The societal ones are being addressed in much of modern society;

I don't think that the societal factors are being addressed in modern society.

We do not currently have any way to identify troubled or suicidal boys before they act out.
We do not have adequate mental health support for troubled boys.
We route troubled boys to the criminal justice system rather than to treatment.
We do not have enough mental health support for troubled adult men.
In the crippled economies of much of the western world, young unskilled men struggle to make a living wage, much less earn enough money to live a dignified life.

We have a culture that absolutely glorifies violence, vigilantism, killing, and guns. We have a culture that glorifies the idea of dying for a noble cause, that dying for a noble cause can make you a hero rather than a nobody. We have the idea that killing the *right* people can make you a hero. We have a culture that glorifies the idea of being a badass, forcing others to listen to you or pay attention to you through violence.

Those are just the cultural factors.
posted by cairdeas at 5:39 PM on May 24 [1 favorite +] [!]

Yes, it would be nicer for everyone to have more and better paying jobs, better healthcare and for less people to be put in jail for things like drugs.

Yes, we have a culture that glorifies violence. We also have a society in which less people die due to conflict than ever before - so it could be argued that our violence loving society is getting more peaceful.

So to bring it back to the two terrorists in Woolwich, does the Britain's interaction with the Islamic world bring Islamic nations closer to more and better paying jobs, better healthcare and less people in jail? Do Britain's interests in the Islamic world increase or decrease the amount of violence in western and Islamic cultures? Should the west be more isolationist?

And yes, I'd like to keep my balls where they are, but my reluctance to discuss the 'males are the cause of violence in the world' issue you bring up has more to do with the fact that it's such a broad topic and so non-specific that we'd spend half thread figuring out all the factors as to why there are violent men in the world and not talking about the fact that these two violent angry men in Woolwich said they did what they did because of political and theological reasons.
posted by dazed_one at 3:44 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing is, the power of the West is in decline, and many other countries and cultures, over the past 25 years or so, have become more powerful. They're not victims anymore, and we have to stop thinking of them as victims who have to strike back with terrorist attacks or whatever.

These guys are the same guys that dress up in ballistic armor and shoot up movie theaters.


How do you measure 'the power of the west'? The US military currently accounts for over 40% of the entire world's military expenditures. When you disagree with the policies of a state and its allies that have that much power behind them, how do you combat it? It's true, the West has gone through a financial decline recently, but to say the balance of power between the west and the rest is anywhere approaching equilibrium is ridiculous.

To say that these two guys are the same as the Aurora movie theatre shooter is a massive over-simplification, like saying airline hijackers are just a bunch of guys trying to get a free plane ride somewhere.
posted by dazed_one at 3:56 PM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was bewildered about why there was such an initial backlash about discussing this factor rather than just the religious one - maybe this explains it? That's what you are worried will happen if we even talk about this? All men will be forced to have their balls cut off? I hope we can talk about this without acting like "gelding" will happen if we even address the topic at all.

We can talk about a culture of violence or even a sexist culture that demands violence from men in particular without the starting point being 'men are inherently violent' which is what I gathered from your original comments and, honestly, what I continue to gather from your list of 'cultural factors', though not so much from the paragraph following that.
posted by hoyland at 5:10 PM on May 24, 2013


We can talk about a culture of violence or even a sexist culture that demands violence from men in particular without the starting point being 'men are inherently violent'

"Men are inherently violent" wasn't my starting point, nor do I think men are inherently violent.

I do think that there is a urge to commit extreme violence towards random innocent people that we essentially only see in men.

I think it's exacerbated by cultural factors, but we see it over and over in all kinds of cultures.

Why is it legitimate to talk about biological factors of why, say, autism strikes more men than women, but not legitimate to talk about what it is about the biology of men that makes them far more likely to lash out in violence? Why is it legitimate to talk about research or solutions or screening for other physiological issues that strike men more heavily, but not for this one?
posted by cairdeas at 5:38 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Woolwich suspect was victim of frenzied knife attack aged 16:
...Having armed himself with a knife before going to the flat, he then attacked the three teenagers, fatally stabbing Faridon. Faridon died of his injuries at the scene.

"A postmortem later revealed two stab wounds to the chest over six inches deep, either of which would have been fatal."

...Sentencing James to life imprisonment, Judge Anthony Pitts said Faridon had tried to save the others, even after being stabbed. "He was literally cut to pieces by Lee James who went on to stab a third man, fortunately not so seriously.

"The murder was in the end only of one person but that was sheer chance. [Another victim] was wounded very, very seriously and was extremely lucky not to have been killed or incapacitated for life.

"Faridon had the extraordinary courage it seem to me to attempt to confront Lee James, not only to protect himself but also to protect the other 16-year-old. It was, of course, a hopeless mismatch."

The trial at Southwark crown court heard that James, a former bare knuckle fighter, accused Adebowale and the other youths, who were Afghans, of being members of al-Qaida and plotting to carry out explosions. The court heard claims that James was suffering from a drug-induced psychosis during the attack.

Madeleine Edwards, a family friend who lived in the same block of flats as Adebowale in Greenwich, south London, said he had been involved with a local gang – the Woolwich boys – when he was a young teenager and had been in "some serious gangland trouble".

She said he had been a witness in a high-profile murder trial and that his mother had said he had to "disappear for a while." He left for about a year and when he came back he appeared to have converted to Islam and had become distant. "He could see my disdain at the direction he had gone in," she said.
posted by catchingsignals at 9:11 PM on May 24, 2013


Woolwich suspect's friend arrested after appearing on Newsnight — Man detained after claiming on television that Michael Adebolajo was tortured in Kenya and harassed by MI5 agents:
Adebolajo did not want to see sharia law imposed in Britain, but thought it more sensible for someone like him to go and live in a Muslim country, according to the interviewee. "He wanted to be qualified to teach and to do fitness training. He could use that to go abroad and live in a Muslim country."

Abu Nusaybah said that he believed that Adebolajo became radicalised about six months ago. He said he saw profound changes in Adebolajo's character at that time, which he attributed to his experiences in Kenya and to events on his return to Britain. "I believe that certain events that happened to him recently had an impact in shaping the changes. He became more reclined [sic], less talkative. He wasn't his bubbly self," he said.

Adebolajo had told Nusaybah how he had gone to study in a village in Kenya when he and others were rounded up by the Kenyan army. When he was interrogated, he refused to speak. "They told him, 'You are not in the UK now.' They took his private parts and said, 'We will F you.' He told me he was physically assaulted and sexually threatened. If you looked at his face, he was holding back tears," Nusaybah said.

When Adebolajo returned to England, he was interviewed by MI5 officers and, according to Nusaybah, was planning to leave again to live in a Muslim country. "His whole concept was he wanted to live in a Muslim land because at the time he was being harassed by MI5.

"They were knocking and knocking on his door. He pretended not to be there, but then he spoke to the agent. They said, 'We just want to speak to you.' They wanted to ask him if he knew certain people," he said.

"But after him saying that he didn't know these individuals, he said they asked him if he would be interested in working for them. He was explicit in that he refused to work for them but he did confirm he didn't know the individuals."

"His word was, 'They are bugging me,'" said Nusaybah.
posted by catchingsignals at 9:31 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think this was the BBC Newsnight segment on the interview with Abu Nusaybah.
posted by catchingsignals at 9:58 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I came up with a solution to the criticism about police response time from way, way upthread: now that London is covered with the public surveillance cameras, they can plant remotely triggered land mines under every square foot of ground. Then, the police can just press a button and the bad guys blow up like in a Monty Python sketch. Voilà, instantaneous police response.
posted by XMLicious at 10:59 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


These last notes are interesting additions.

As for Caidreas, as I said above, its legitimate to discuss violence and gender in all kinds of ways.

However, your initial comment included

This is not a "game changer." This is, as usual, angry and entitled men who feel the right to go out and violently harm innocent people because the world hasn't rearranged itself to provide all the fantasies of the angry and entitled men. There is absolutely nothing about this that is a change. Men do this every single day.

Which offensively suggests a direct causal relationship between these guys being male and their irrationally, rare, and extreme act.

As I said several times, if you were to substitute race in your comments (despite being statistically justified), people would rightly be offended at the simple-minded and incorrect statement.

Causation and coincidence. Explanation. Making friends with scientific thinking would keep one from making a statement like that quoted above
posted by C.A.S. at 2:14 AM on May 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Russell Brand on Woolwich.
posted by Artw at 6:20 AM on May 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Looks like this business has given a significant boost to Nazis.

/heads off to be depressed forever.
posted by Artw at 7:29 AM on May 25, 2013


French soldier stabbed in throat outside Paris
PARIS (AP) — A French soldier was stabbed in the throat in a busy commercial district outside Paris on Saturday, and France's president said authorities are investigating any possible links with the recent slaying of a British soldier.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:40 PM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Looks like this business has given a significant boost to Nazis.

Saw this on a few friends' FB feeds unfortunately. Happy to see a Newcastle Unites counter demonstration and also other friends challenging them openly on FB.
posted by arcticseal at 12:51 PM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


3 more arrested in London terror attack probe
Three further arrests have been made this evening, Saturday 25 May, by MPS detectives investigating the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich.

The three men were all arrested between 1800hrs and 1830hrs under PACE on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder.
posted by BobbyVan at 1:23 PM on May 25, 2013


Attacker stabs uniformed French soldier
A man armed with a box cutter has attacked a French soldier patrolling the business district of Paris, stabbing him in the neck.

President Francois Hollande, speaking during a trip to Ethiopia, said ‘‘at this stage’’ there was no indication the Saturday evening attack was linked to a deadly knife attack on a British soldier this week in London.
posted by rosswald at 3:28 PM on May 25, 2013


Woolwich attack: New bid to muzzle the preachers of hate
David Cameron has ordered the setting up of the new body in the wake of last week's killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in the street in Woolwich, South London.

Made up of senior ministers, police officers, security officials and moderate leaders, the new committee will study a range of options, according to reports.

These include banning extremist clerics from being given public platforms to incite students, prisoners and other followers – and forcing mosque leaders to answer for so-called "preachers of hate."
posted by BobbyVan at 7:50 PM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Woolwich attack: 'Lone wolves’ who run with the pack
For the main suspect in Woolwich, Michael Adebolajo, the evidence against the “lone wolf” thesis stared us all particularly hard in the face. Like no fewer than 28 Islamist terrorists – just under a fifth of all those ever convicted in Britain – Adebolajo had clear links with the radical group al-Muhajiroun and its central figures, Omar Bakri Mohammed and Anjem Choudary.

He was a familiar figure at their demonstrations, and those organised by their front groups after al-Muhajiroun itself was banned. The Sunday Telegraph today reveals new video of what appears almost certainly to be Adebolajo speaking at a Muslims Against Crusades rally against the Pope at Hyde Park Corner in September 2010.

“Your Pope is a paedophile,” he proclaims. “Embrace Islam and you’ll be safe. Embrace Islam, because if you don’t we give you the threat of Allah, the almighty. For us, our call is martyrdom or victory.”

At other rallies, Muslims Against Crusades held up banners actually calling for British soldiers to be beheaded. One could, in a sense, say that they announced this murder on YouTube.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:27 AM on May 26, 2013


Seems pretty clear that there is an Islamic organization that shouid be prosecuted for inciting violence. It's not just 'Islam'. It's a specific identifiable group in the UK.
posted by empath at 10:08 AM on May 26, 2013


Seems like prevalent gang culture with Islamist trappings.
posted by panaceanot at 3:38 AM on May 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


York mosque counters EDL protest with tea, biscuits and football
A York mosque dealt with a potentially volatile situation after reports that it was going to be the focus of a demonstration organised by a far-right street protest movement - by inviting those taking part in the protest in for tea and biscuits.

Around half a dozen people arrived for the protest, promoted online by supporters of the EDL. A St George's flag was nailed to the wooden fence in front of the mosque.

However, after members of the group accepted an invitation into the mosque, tensions were rapidly defused over tea and plates of custard creams, followed by an impromptu game of football.
posted by Abiezer at 2:21 PM on May 27, 2013 [10 favorites]


Woolwich murder suspect: Michael Adebolajo held in Kenya in 2010
One of the two men held on suspicion of killing a soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich was arrested in Kenya in 2010, the Foreign Office has confirmed.

It said it gave consular assistance to Michael Adebolajo "as normal" in the circumstances.

He was believed to have been preparing to fight with Somali militant group al-Shabab, a Kenyan government spokesman told the BBC, and was later deported.
posted by BobbyVan at 5:15 AM on May 28, 2013


How the EDL has exploited a murder
posted by Artw at 8:44 AM on May 28, 2013


EDL stir up hatred and make terrorism more likely, say most Britons
Most people believe that far right groups like the English Defence League stir up hatred and violence in Britain in a way which increases the risk of future terrorist incidents. A rising proportion of Britons say they would never join the EDL – a view held by 84% of people who have heard of the group – according to new polling released this weekend.

After the brutal murder of a soldier in Woolwich by Islamist extremists, new polling published this weekend shows a clear public rejection of effort by one extreme fringe to capitalise on the activities of another, instead capturing growing opposition to the far right. Most of the public want the media to be more wary of giving either extremist group a media platform to spread hateful views.
Bit of other interesting polling relating to the murder of Drummer Rigby and subsequent media coverage.
posted by Abiezer at 10:07 AM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Boya Dee, who provided one of the first eye-witness accounts of the murder on Twitter and subsequently turned down media money for his story, writes about his continuing faith in humanity for CiF:
I've been asked why I didn't take money from media organisations in return for spilling the proverbial beans on my version of events. My answer to that is that I'm not driven by money and never will be. What occurred did not happen in secrecy. The events of that day were and are public knowledge. Out of respect for the victim's family I chose not to repeat what I'd already posted online. For me it was morally the right thing to do and I stand by my decision, but when the Guardian hollered at me to write a piece on peaceful coexistence, I couldn't have jumped any quicker at the chance to write on a subject I care about.

Co-existence is and has always been a topic we fail to come to a definitive conclusion about. When approaching this subject, some questions that have come to be the most significant in the quest for peace immediately came to my mind, while perfectly reasonable answers almost simultaneously counteract, and win the argument. Is it down to differences in opinions? Is it our innate human characteristics? Is it due to a global battle for resources? Or is it just a dog-eat-dog world?

My answer to each of those questions is a resounding NO.
posted by Abiezer at 1:46 PM on May 28, 2013


I was a radical Islamist who hated all of you
Few can understand how the British jihadists Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale could be filled with such hate.

I'm ashamed to say I can. For I was similar to them once.

I spent 13 years inside Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), the global Islamist organisation that first spawned al-Muhajiroun, the banned Islamist terrorist organisation founded by Omar Bakri Muhammad and Anjem Choudary.

---

But Islamism is not Islam. Islamism is the politicisation of Islam, the desire to impose a version of this ancient faith over society. To achieve this, Islamism uses political grievances, such as mine, to alienate and then provide an alternative sense of belonging to vulnerable young Muslims. Preying on the grievances of disaffected young men is the bedrock of Islamism.

---

We need a similar grassroots movement in Britain. The only way we can challenge Islamism is to engage with one another. We need to make it as abhorrent as racism has become today. Only then will we stem the tide of angry young Muslims who turn to hate. Only then will they stop listening to people like Omar Bakri Muhammad and Anjem Choudary.
posted by BobbyVan at 1:58 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Suspect 'admits soldier knife attack in Paris'
A 21-year-old suspect arrested earlier over the stabbing of a French soldier near Paris on Saturday has admitted to the crime, officials say.

The man, named only as Alexandre, was a convert to Islam who had "wanted to attack a representative of the state", Prosecutor Francois Molins said.

Police arrested the man on Wednesday morning in the Yvelines region, 45km (28 miles) south-west of the capital.

He was traced thanks to DNA found at the scene, police said.
posted by rosswald at 8:15 AM on May 29, 2013


The home secretary, Theresa May, has conceded that money from the £63 million anti-radicalisation budget has been given to "the very extremist organisations that Prevent should have been confronting".

She said Prevent, originally launched in 2007 to counter the growth of home-grown terrorism, "failed to tackle the extremist ideology that not only undermines the cohesion of our society, but also inspires would be terrorists to seek to bring death and destruction to our towns and cities"


So we have to pay £63 million out of our hard earned to stop this? Jesus H Christ.

Didn't the Gov. give £800,000 to Luton and then some Muslim went and blew himself in Stockholm? Well, that worked then.
posted by marienbad at 9:49 AM on May 29, 2013


"And as we all know, Christians never rape children."
posted by empath

Show, as I have, a serious news (i.e. BBC level) report of a the trial of a gang of white british men for the same crime? I never said whites don't rape. It is a cultural difference, where they can ring someone else up and invite them to rape a 12 yr old girl they are keeping drugged up, locked and guarded in a room and no one in the muslim community thoght there was anyting wrong with this, and that they should go to the police.

More Rape Gangs in the UK:

Rochdale
Derby
Brierfield
Blackburn - and provided by a 19 year old whtie girl.

"[Comment deleted; go ahead and take deleting/banning suggestions to Metatalk. Thanks.]"
posted by taz

So someone would rather I was banned than read about gang rape of children by muslims? Way to go dude.

"And yes, any anti-Muslim reprisals would be criminal, senseless, and vastly unjustified"

He said "its an eye for an eye" so he laid out the rules.
posted by marienbad at 10:13 AM on May 29, 2013


More Rape Gangs in the UK:

* Anyone involved in 70s television.

I have to say that I too find your focus here and keeness in labeling a group disturbing.
posted by Artw at 10:26 AM on May 29, 2013


He said "its an eye for an eye" so he laid out the rules.

I get the idea of hoisting someone by his own petard as a rhetorical technique, but this comment appears dangerously close to an actual endorsement of retributive sectarian violence. I hope you'll clarify.
posted by BobbyVan at 10:27 AM on May 29, 2013


Its not just white girls who are targeted.
posted by marienbad at 10:27 AM on May 29, 2013


"I get the idea of hoisting someone by his own petard as a rhetorical technique, but this comment appears dangerously close to an actual endorsement of retributive sectarian violence. I hope you'll clarify."

Yeah, it is the idea of hoisting by their own petard. I am not condoning the actions but I can totally understand people doing them, and when people say "eye for an eye" and there are millions of angry people around, what do you expect to happen?

"* Anyone in 70's television."

How many convictions have their been so far? I counted 11 in the Oxford Gang, and that was just one gang. Have 11 been convicted yet? At last count, Rolf and Stu hall? Clifford?
posted by marienbad at 2:56 PM on May 29, 2013


BBC: Lee Rigby murder: Police make 10th arrest
posted by marienbad at 2:59 PM on May 29, 2013


I was a radical Islamist who hated all of you

Reminds me of watching American History X.
posted by catchingsignals at 4:49 PM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


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