A note of caution over the Westminster stabbing
March 22, 2017
by Martin Odoni
Reports have been circulating over the last hour or so (at the time of writing) that there has been a violent incident outside Parliament. My understanding of the incident so far – and it may be subject to change as more details come through – is as follows; –
Someone armed with a knife has stabbed a police officer in the vicinity of the House of Parliament. A couple of plain-clothed officers appear to have shot the assailant while he was running away from the scene. The assailant may have had an accomplice waiting in a car nearby. The possible accomplice appears to have run some people over as he drove off.
The incident sounds very ugly indeed, but as far as we can tell at present, only one life has been lost. One life lost is one life too many of course, but it is hardly on the same scale as the day-to-day atrocities experienced in Iraq for the last fourteen years. It may not even be a ‘terrorist atrocity’ in the accepted, political sense of the term. The Metropolitan Police say they are treating it as a terrorist incident, yes, but only until they get indication otherwise.
Therefore, everybody, please let us have no jumping of the gun, or panic about the attack in Westminster. Please let us have no knee-jerk “CLOSE THE BORDERS NOW” responses from xenophobes who naturally just assume every time something violent happens, “It must be the Muslims!!!!!” It is imperative everybody waits to see what has really happened, without looking to apportion blame or demanding action taken that may make matters worse.
I would also ask people to remember that this would be seen as one of the least violent days in recent memory if this were the only attack that had happened today in, say, Yemen or Syria. European lives are not, ipso facto, more important losses than Middle Eastern lives. Therefore, I hope that this incident is treated with some measure of proportion by the media, and we do not get the tasteless saturation coverage that tends to happen when these horrors happen in Europe and the North America; incidents several scales greater than these are often left in the small print in the Western media when they happen in Africa or the Middle East – when they are mentioned at all. This suggest an unconscious racism that fuels the same xenophobic/Islamophobic outrage when they happen in the West.
Let us keep the outrage, and the racism, under control, and let facts drive our response instead.
Three more deaths have now been confirmed.
Also, I have received several comment-submissions on here that I have chosen not to approve. I normally prefer to allow non-spam comments, subject to initial review, but the two I am discussing here make exactly the sort of racist, knee-jerk assumptions this article is warning against. Under the circumstances, it seems inappropriate to approve such comments and debunk them, as is my usual approach, so I have simply rejected them. PLEASE, if you are a xenophobe or racist who wishes to cash in on this atrocity, do not bother trying to do so on this blog. Your comments will not be approved.