Well <a href="http://beyondbridges.net/2016/03/europe-is-still-safer-than-most-american-cities/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Thursday's post</a> certainly engendered some feedback ! To quote one responder;

Really? That’s the moral equivalence fallacy popular in fish wrap like the Guardian. Innocents being vaporized in an airport departure lounge or a Srebrenica-style massacre at a death metal concert is a lot different than desultory, one-on-one gang/domestic/criminal/police etc., violence.

According to Urban Dictionary – fishwrap is defined thus

Slang for any printed journalistic medium (newspaper, magazine, etc.) with such low credibility and standards in acceptable journalism, that its only useful function is to wrap fresh fish in.

I will let you, the reader, decide if  ‘The Guardian’ is indeed ‘fishwrap’, but today I want to drill in a little more, add some clarity – but still stick to my basic premise that ‘Europe Is Still Safer Than Most American Cities.’

To remind – my point in the last post reminded us that Terrorism in Europe – counted by deaths – is at a fraction of where it was in the 70s and 80s. Moreover, the deaths totaled are well below total deaths in the USA through gun crime.

That said, in some respects I would agree that the comparison between the two kinds of violence is maybe slightly off. Let me instead look at ‘deaths by guns’ in the USA, where 4 or more people die in the event (including the gunman – if indeed the gunman does actually die).

How about this map ? – which is sourced from this data ? If you can’t be bothered to click through let me highlight some of the data …

  • The San Bernadino shooting was the 355th mass shooting in 2015.
  • There were six shootings on Nov. 22 (thankfully although they injured a total of 37 people, only one was killed. But the very next day – Nov. 23, there were mass shootings in Houston, Minneapolis and Columbus, Ohio.
  • Talking of Columbus, Ohio – that town had two mass shootings in 2015 – each adding 4 fatalities to the count.
  • etc etc

To revisit my friends comments at the top of this post – while I would agree that the comparison might not be actually exact, the fact is we do have a substantial number of incidents each and every year, where innocent people are in fact caught in the equivalent of being ‘vaporized in an airport departure lounge or a Srebrenica-style massacre at a death metal concert’ … maybe not at 31 at a time – but it is only 10 times 3 that gets us to that number. We just don’t do anything about it.

So, moving on – lets take an alternative view – selecting from the other end of the spectrum of comments received.

Well stated John

Ok – plaudits aside, he goes on …

Another discussion on European nations lack of economic and cultural integration and opportunity for immigrants is needed in my opinion ….. this fosters isolation within ghettos …. so the young frustrated 20-30 year olds are invited to Syrian Club Deads for terrorist training and radicalization before returning to their European ghettos and ‘Cells’.

The USA, some pundits say, is safer because Muslims are better assimilated into our communities.

I also have read and heard this – not sure I agree … here’s why …

Pew Research – a good enough source of data …

 As of 2010, there were 4.8 million Muslims in Germany (5.8% of the country’s population) and 4.7 million Muslims in France (7.5%). In Europe overall, however, Russia’s population of 14 million Muslims (10%) is the largest on the continent.

… the UK’s population is represented with 4.8% of the population counted as Muslims.


Here in the USA, Pew Research has this data …

Pew Research Center estimates that there were about 3.3 million Muslims of all ages living in the United States in 2015. This means that Muslims made up about 1% of the total U.S. population.

and guess what ….. there are very few places in the USA where there is a concentration of ‘ghettoes‘. (I do hate that word – but it is constantly used by American media when referring to concentrations of Muslim populations.)

I suspect the same work is going on here – it just isn’t as obvious.a-MUSLIM-POPULATION-PENETRATION-640x468… oh the power of a large country with lots of space.

But back to my friend …

My point put mathematically would look like this
I + I – O = F x bW = HvO

Immigration plus Isolation minus Opportunities
Frustrations times BrainWashing
Hateful violent Outbursts.

His answer ….

Integration and education at the grade school level … economic growth opportunities … and cultural integration through integrated sports teams … along the South African model.

As I pointed out to him – we didn’t ‘just get here’  so we aren’t just going to ‘get out’ either. Mandela was released just over 26 years ago – South Africa is not a role model – even now. But then – as a wise man once said – “no time to start like the present”.

Love to hear more from my readers.

            ... despite what the U.S. Department of State says.

239 – according to The Guardian that is how many people have been killed in America so far this year – by the police. Last year, so far, they have counted 1145. That number might go up since they don’t increase the number until reported deaths have been validated. (by the way – the Guardian are doing this because apparently nobody in the US Govt is counting.

That said – this year’s run rate seems to be on target for even more and both are significantly smaller numbers than the total killings in the USA by gun violence last year – some 13,000 according to one source.

Yes – old news. BUT – my point relates to this announcement from the US department of state.

Essentially, as a result of 31 dead in a terrorist attack in Brussels – and ‘to be confirmed intel on possible future attacks’, the department is essentially advising US citizens to stay away from Europe, even though there was not one US citizen killed in any of the attacks. [see update at end of post].

Meanwhile, no such alerts are broadcast re US citizens traveling to say

Chicago – where a person is shot every 2.5 hours and murdered every 14 or
New Orleanswhich accounts for a third of all Louisiana gun deaths – and in turn that state has the highest gun death per capita than any other state or even
LA – where 670 people were killed in the past year

And for all of that – America might not remember the 70s and 80s in Europe – but Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight site has an interesting set of data. Bottom line – even after Paris and Brussels – the European death count is significantly lower than in the days when the IRA were operating in London, or Baader Meinhof In Germany, or The ETA in Spain.

How soon we forget. Or did we ever know, certainly the USA seems to have started to treat terrorism as a new way to keep their citizens in a constant set of fear ever since 911. Before that there are strong suggestions that they might even funded it – of course The IRA weren’t terrorists – just like Timothy McVeigh or The Unibomber. And ‘NIMBY’ thinking seemingly works just as well for terrorism as it does for ‘property zoning’

First published on Beyond Bridges on March 24th, 2016.

Updated March 25th, 2016

Updated to reflect two sad losses in the Brussels bombings this week. That said, judging by my inbox this morning this post has hit a nerve, so a follow up will be forthcoming,

            With the USA in one corner, we have Bloomberg reporting that '<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-18/n-y-prosecutor-calls-for-phone-access-in-wake-of-paris-attacks" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Apple, Google Urged to Crack Encrypted Phones in Terror Probes</a>'

With Europe in the other corner, we have The NYT reporting that ‘Europe, Shaken by Paris Attacks, Weighs Security With Privacy Rights‘, which includes this paragraph … Continue reading