The Scottish Mail on Sunday

The for­got­ten killers in our midst

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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.

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