The Scottish Mail on Sunday
The forgotten killers in our midst
MANY more people die in car crashes than die in train or plane crashes. Yet we – quite naturally – make much more fuss about the rail and air disasters. This is because so many victims die at the same time.
But, while this is understandable, is it wise? If the roads are so dangerous, and they are, we should be taking action about it. But because the deaths come in small numbers, we do not. This problem is even more pressing when it comes to terror attacks. By treating them as national catastrophes, we make them more important than they are, and (I fear) fulfil the sick desires of the killers, who long for headlines. Look at these figures for non-terrorist crime: two teenagers were fatally stabbed in London in the past two weeks. The number of teenager murders in the capital has already equalled that reached in the whole of 2016. That is to say 12 teenagers have been murdered so far this year, nine of them stabbed. In today’s London, someone is stabbed to death roughly every other week.
More of these attacks would have been fatal had it not been for the astonishing skill and dedication of paramedics and surgeons, who regularly save people whose injuries would have been terminal only a few years ago. I wonder, too, how often vehicles are nowadays used as weapons by people who are not terrorists. There have been recent attacks of this kind in New York and in Marbella, not connected with terror at all.
I am fairly sure that, if investigated, many of the culprits of these horrors would (like most terrorists) be found to be users of mindaltering drugs. Yet amid all the other calls for this and that, there is no will in the police or the courts to enforce our laws against drug possession. I do wonder if this is not an even more urgent matter, for more people, than the more obviously spectacular terror menace.