This all sounds very sinister, but it was completely innocent. Exactly how innocent I am unable to say, however. Nor am I in possession of any photographs from our meeting. These guys don’t do selfies.
In any case, we were chatting about this and that when the mood of the meeting ever so slightly changed. Delta Force was looking to the left of the open-air carpark, where he’d spotted a man half-walking, half-running in the direction of our little group. He was still some distance away as Delta Force and the Navy Seal shifted a little. These were not large or exaggerated movements, but they did have the effect of safely shielding their contractor associate.
Also, while not exhibiting any increased tension at all, both gentlemen had certainly stepped up their alertness by a notch or so. They weren’t exactly reaching for any weapons, but they were ready for whatever the approaching fellow might get up to when he drew closer.
It was quite something to witness this instant preparedness, yet not surprising. These men spend an enormous amount of time, in both military and civilian situations, scanning horizons and securing perimeters. They’re basically long-range warning radars in human form, combined with the means and ability to deal with any detected threats.
Later, I asked one of the men about what had happened to draw his attention. “He was just coming in a little hot, was all,” he said. Translation: he seemed to be moving too quickly than was called for under the circumstances. No big deal, ordinarily, but enough to trigger a cautious but contingency-covering response among those trained in such matters.
That long-ago carpark event has been on my mind lately. Small but significant shifts—protective and defensive, driven by growing awareness—are happening all over the place. It’s like the carpark incident on an international scale, and with a great deal more at stake.
Darwin electrician Andrew Morrison personifies this belated and overdue change. In early June, Morrison was leaving a London bar when he encountered a man armed with a knife. Morrison wasn’t to know, but this man was one of three terrorists who had minutes earlier crashed their vehicle into crowds on London Bridge and then set about stabbing and slashing as many people as they possibly could.
The knife-wielding individual, soon to be shot dead by police in company with his fanatical colleagues, lunged at the Australian. Afterwards, as he was being treated by paramedics for a stab wound to the neck, Morrison described his potential murderer. “He looked like, I know the thing with Muslims and terrorism,” Morrison said, plainly struggling with the reality he’d just encountered, “but he looked like a f***ing Muslim terrorist.”
To his credit, Morrison prefers civility to confrontation and tolerance above discrimination. These are fine qualities. Yet beyond a certain point—the point of a knife, in Morrison’s horrifying case—obvious truths must not only be recognised but spoken of. Loudly. Even the ABC reported Morrison’s words, which is quite a change indeed for a media organisation that previously “knew the thing with Muslims and terrorism” but did its utmost to talk it down.
One reason for the slight shift towards a more open recognition of Islamic terrorism might be the more open intentions of Islamic terrorists. In London, and weeks earlier in Manchester, the attacks were not random. The Manchester atrocity took place at an Ariana Grande concert—an event overwhelmingly attended by women and young girls. In London, the attackers seemed to specifically seek out young women.
Australian Candice Hedge, thirty-one, is fortunate to be alive after one of the terrorists crept up behind her, grabbed her head and slashed her throat. Two of the night’s eight killed were also Australians, twenty-one-year-old Sara Zelenak and twenty-eight-year-old Kirsty Boden. Neither stood a chance. Witness Gerard Vowls tried his best to save Sara Zelenak, but he was unarmed as the young Australian was butchered by three enraged servants of Allah.
“I wanted to distract them, to stop them, I wanted them to turn attention to me rather than the blonde girl,” Vowls later told reporters. “She was crying out ‘Help me! Help me!’, and I tried so hard, screaming to get them to look at me.” Instead, they mostly ignored him and continued killing her. Just as young women have long been the primary targets of fundamentalist Islamic devotees in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Nigeria and elsewhere, young women are now the primary targets of Islamic terrorists in the West.
Call me sexist, but the compulsion of civilised men to protect and show concern for vulnerable women is one of the most powerful and beneficial societal forces known to humankind. It previously called for men to display acts of old-fashioned chivalry: opening doors for women, offering seats for women on public transport or standing up when a woman entered the room. Now the same compulsion calls for men to protect women from the threat of being murdered in the street.
It just might be, sixteen years after September 11 and following more than 30,000 Islamic terrorist outrages around the planet, that these latest attacks have finally awoken a dormant fury. Random attacks that kill people based only on proximity can be written off by appeasers as generalised expressions of anti-Western rage. Targeted attacks specifically aimed at women are not so easily dismissed.
“They are pure evil,” said Gerard Vowls. “They are hateful. They are not human.” He’s right. They are, as Andrew Morrison observed, “f***ing Muslim terrorists”.
As for that chap in the Californian carpark, way back when, he turned out to be a harmless daytime drunk just taking a shortcut home. The amiable fellow called out a friendly greeting and staggered by, oblivious to any concern beyond his next step. Good for him.
But others with more malevolent intentions should stand warned. Eyes are upon you. A shift is under way.
POLITICS keeps changing and our political vocabulary needs to change in order to keep up. Following is a glossary of updated terms that may assist in understanding exactly what political types are talking about.
Debt. Once a significant and powerful word, very useful in indicating the economic dangers faced by future generations. Now rarely used, presumably because those who most wish to address the issue are yet to be born. See also “deficit”.
Newspoll. Invoked by Malcolm Turnbull when ousting elected Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2015. For some obscure reason not often mentioned by Turnbull since.
Gonski. An ancient Polish word meaning “gigantic spending for no obvious benefit”.
Renewable energy. The need to renew energy delivery after it drops out because of low wind or insufficient sunlight.
Independent media. The ABC is frequently described as “independent”, which means it is entirely dependent on taxpayer funding.
Fairness. A Google search for “Bill Shorten” and “fairness” turns up nearly 41,000 results. A search for “Bill Shorten” and “fair” delivers 292,000 returns. Similar searches using Malcolm Turnbull’s name generate 110,000 and 452,000 matches. Politicians use “fairness” and “fair” to justify decisions that might be more accurately described as “stupid” and “ridiculous”. The magistrate who granted bail to Lindt café siege terrorist Man Haron Monis said it was a “simple matter of fairness”.
Melbourne Comedy Festival. Now the Melbourne Leftist Politics Festival, although the original title is still employed.
Sydney Writers’ Festival. See above.
Fairfax. A media organisation offering economic policy advice to governments of the day while going broke itself.
Liberal. In the US, “liberal” means “leftist”. In Australia, capital-L “Liberal” traditionally meant “conservative”. In the interests of uniform global conformity, however, the Australian definition currently complies exactly with the US definition.
President Trump. According to various Australian experts, this construction was only ever theoretical and never meant to define anything real. “Trump cannot win. The nightmare is over,” wrote the ABC’s Insiders host Barrie Cassidy during the US election count’s early stages last year. “It’s going to be an early night after all. Trump is not defying the polls anywhere. Clinton on the other hand demonstrably is.” Prior to election day, Fairfax’s Paul McGeough announced: “On Wednesday, Americans will awake from a nightmare. Donald Trump will not be their president.”
Nightmare. ABC and Fairfax shorthand for an election result with which they do not agree.
Gradolfikinnen. A meaningless word I just made up. As such, it is a suitable companion term for “global warming” and “climate change”.
Freedom of speech. Previously a good thing, but now—through some unfathomable process of linguistic alchemy—a bad thing.