Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Terrorism in Liège

Just when life on the streets in Belgium seemed to be approaching normality - the official terror threat level had been reduced at the turn of the year - a recently released convict killed two policewomen, and a student, shot other officers and terrorised a school.

Two things struck me as the reports came from the BBC. Firstly, that the gunman used the law officers' own weapon or weapons in his spree. It is an argument against routinely arming our own police. In the United States, the incidence of officers being killed by their own weapons has been as high as 9% (in 2010), though to be fair it has diminished considerably since as this table shows.

Secondly, the perpetrator was clearly radicalised while in gaol, not in a mosque or via social media. While the latter is clearly a major factor in turning the heads of younger people, the former must be taken more seriously in its effect of potentiating those already inclined to violence. This seems to be a common feature across Europe, including this island.

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