Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 7:42 AM

Suicide Bomber Brings Ariana Grande’s Manchester Concert to Explosive End

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Police have arrested a man in connection with the Manchester Arena bomb attack on Tuesday as [Prime Minister] Theresa May condemned the ‘sickening cowardice’ of the perpetrator.

Greater Manchester police, who believe they know the identity of the bomber, detained a 23-year-old man in the south of the city in connection with the attack, which killed 22 people.

Another [119] people were injured in Monday night’s attack at the end of a concert by the US singer Ariana Grande.

(London Guardian, May 23, 2017)

Unsurprisingly, ISIS has claimed responsibility for this latest attack. It is always inveighing against “the crusaders.” But ISIS couldn’t care any less that the victims were mostly innocent girls and their chaperoning parents. Indeed, all the better to reinforce the specter of its terror.

I appreciate the terror people feel whenever news breaks about Muslims perpetrating another terrorist attack. But this should be no greater than the terror they feel whenever news breaks about non-Muslims perpetrating another mass shooting.

This is why it’s so stupefying that the police, media, and politicians invariably treat the former like an existential tragedy, but the latter like an ordinary crime. This, notwithstanding that mass shootings are more frequent and invariably result in more casualties.

I maintain that we would feel far less terrorized if the police, media, and politicians all treat terrorist attacks as no more existential or tragic than mass shootings (i.e., rely more on the FBI and Interpol than the Marines and NATO). Instead, we’re turning our cities into veritable police states — complete with robocops patrolling our streets and illusory fortifications surrounding our buildings. What’s next, airport-like screenings everywhere?

Meanwhile, nothing affirms the Groundhog-Day spectre of these attacks quite like the commentary I wrote just months ago, which I felt could only be titled “Islamists Terrorizing London … Again,” March 23, 2017.

Accordingly:

It must be understood that, no matter their collective resolve, there’s absolutely nothing our governments can do to prevent such attacks. That Americans reacted yesterday as if those explosions went off in Washington or New York should compel Westerners to focus on calming our collective nerves, instead of fretting about (or worse, trying to figure out) the motivation for and timing of terrorist attacks by Islamic fanatics.

(“7/7 Terror Attacks in London,” The iPINIONS Journal, July 8, 2005)

This attack is yet another reminder that “bombing the hell out of them” in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen amounts to masturbatory violence, which does nothing to protect us from terrorist attacks. I have lamented this folly in such commentaries as “‘Without (or Even With) More Forces, Failure in Afghanistan Is Likely,’” September 23, 2009, “Secretary Gates: Invading Afghanistan and Iraq Was Insane,” March 1, 2011, “Bombing ISIS Smacks of Masturbatory Violence,” November 18, 2015, and “America Drops the MOAB (Mother of all Bombs) on Afghanistan,” April 15, 2017.

I am clearly resigned to the new normal terrorism represent. But I cannot help bemoaning our fecklessness in the face of such ever-looming attacks or decrying our self-fulfilling reaction to them.

With respect to our fecklessness, President Trump interrupted his grandstanding in the Middle East for peace to grandstand for a world free of terrorism. Even worse, this amounted to merely conjuring up his name-calling schtick from last year’s campaign trail.

Specifically, he proclaimed that, henceforth, all Islamist terrorists shall be called “evil losers.” But it is self-evident that this will do no more to combat or deter them today than President Bush calling them “evil doers” did in 2001. Frankly, such name calling is as juvenile as it is feckless.

I won’t even comment on the outpouring of celebrity tweets these attacks invariably provoke, especially because they invariably reek of narcissism and platitudes in equal measure.

With respect to our self-fulfilling reaction, we continually refuse to do what little we can:

I don’t know why the media always reward these psychopaths by giving them the fame they covet; that is, by plastering their pathetic mugs all over television and reporting pop psychology about why and how they did their dastardly deeds.

You’d think … we would have figured out by now that the best way to discourage them is by focusing our attention on the victims and limiting what we say about the [terrorists] to: May God have mercy on your soul as you all burn in Hell!

(“Massacre in Omaha,” The iPINIONS Journal, December 7, 2007)

Not to mention that rewarding terrorists with the wall-to-wall media coverage they seek often terrorizes us more than their actual attacks. But it is also self-evident that the media would rather profit from the perverse ratings boon terrorist attacks generate than help prevent the tragic human carnage they perpetrate.

With that, my thoughts and prayers go out to all those directly affected by this latest attack. And I join in plaintive calls to:

But I’m all too mindful that one hopelessly misguided kid (a.k.a. a lone wolf) inflicted this carnage and incited this panic (complete with the UK mounting a show of force worthy of martial law). Therefore, it behooves us to beware of this:

God help us if al-Qaeda ever decided to emulate this feat by coordinating 10 similar bombings, at 10 football stadiums, in the 10 biggest cities in America, all on a typical Saturday in the fall, when each is packed with over 100,000 people watching college Football games. Not only would the carnage be 1,000 times more devastating, but based on the reaction to this terrorist attack, law-enforcement authorities would have to lockdown not just the airports as they did on 9/11, but the entire friggin’ country, no?

(“Manhunt for Bombers Turning Boston into Theater of the Absurd,” The iPINIONS Journal, April 19, 2013)

So, until the next one …

Related commentaries:
Terrorizing London
Failure is likely
Invading Afghanistan and Iraq
Masturbatory violence
MOAB on Afghanistan
Carnage in Nice
Manhunt for marathon bomber

* This commentary was originally published yesterday, Tuesday, at 9:13 a.m.

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