Ten days ago, a lunatic drove a stolen car through Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall, killing five people and grievously injuring many more. You might have read about the incident or perhaps saw footage on the telly, and no doubt found the carnage quite distressing. Well, rest easy, fret no more. The experts say such concern is misplaced, that you are prey to an irrational emotionalism and, really, all things considered, you would do well to set aside any interest in seeing reform of the court system, which days earlier granted the alleged killer’s bail request and turned him loose to do his worst.
They aren’t actually saying that, of course, not in as many words and not about that particular episode. The blood in Melbourne’s CBD is still too fresh, bystanders’ phone-camera pictures of shattered prams and a dying infant too vivid in memory for the rationalisations to begin in earnest. But that’s their logic all the same, applied in the interim to terrorism of the more conventional kind. Terrorists, as the New York Times informs us in regard to Donald Trump’s latest executive order (emphasis added), needs to be regarded with a nuanced eye
… 123 people have been killed in the United States by Muslim terrorists since the 2001 attacks — out of a total of more than 230,000 killings, by gang members, drug dealers, angry spouses, white supremacists, psychopaths, drunks and people of every description. So the order addresses, at most, 1/1,870th of the problem of lethal violence in the United States. If the toll of 9/11 is included, jihadis still account for just more than 1 percent of killings.
See, nothing to worry about whatsoever, not from the more ardent sons of Allah nor, by extension of the above logic, from ice-addled madmen racing down footpaths at 100kph. Some 300-odd Victorians died on the state’s roads in 2016, so those recent five deaths must be viewed, as the NYT might put it, as an insignificant dollop — “just more than 0ne percent” — of snuffed-out lives.
One percent? It’s no more than shrinkage, really, just a few random and statistically irrelevant souls denied the opportunity to fulfill actuarial expectations. So why worry about it? Why get upset when the courts indulge perils to public safety and allow them to slide back into the driver’s seat? And by the same token, why bother to note Islam’s affinity for bloody mayhem when it is so much more fun to perform a little mathematical sleight of hand and denounce Donald Trump for restricting the access to his homeland of those hailing from hotbeds of Islamist sentiment? If you start counting the jihadis’ victims only from September 12, 2001, as does the NYT, it gets even better. Why, they haven’t killed hardly anyone at all!
Convince yourself of that and Trump’s executive order must be viewed as but another of his Islamophobic outrages. Let us scream and yell and cite at every opportunity the wisdom prescribed by our more acute, statistically savvy betters. The key lies in never, ever allowing a bloody sidewalk or tumbled office tower to derail that narrative — as blogger and Jerusalem Post editorial-page director Seth Frantzman notes in explaining via the link below why it is not Trump but Obama who is ultimately responsible for the travel ban.
— roger franklin