San Bernadino and Leytonstone: Culture, Reaction, and Labelling

Ourselves and our North American cousins share many similarities, but thankfully our views on guns are not one of them. Very rarely does this difference of opinion become so glaringly obvious, but this past week has been one such occasion.

On December 2nd, in San Bernadino, California, the married couple of Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik opened fire on a crowd of roughly 80 people with semi-automatic pistols and rifles. In less than four minutes, 14 people had been shot dead and a further 21 were injured. Four hours later, 23 police officers were involved in a shootout with Farook and Malik as they attempted to flee in a rented SUV. Both Farook and Malik were killed in an exchange where police allegedly fired 380 rounds of ammunition.

The dreadful mass shooting at the Inland Regional Centre had been the second deadliest in Californian history and the worst in the US since the Sandy Hook Massacre in December 2012.

Continue reading “San Bernadino and Leytonstone: Culture, Reaction, and Labelling”

Dambisa Moyo On Why The Fight Against Poverty Is Also The Fight Against Terrorism

Before Boko Haram were making global headlines for their criminal activities, murderous rampages, and pension for kidnap, there was little news of them in the West.

The potential for such organisations to be formed, and such activities to be performed, has always existed though. Where weak infrastructure and institutions are present, where corruption is rampant, and where far too many people are living in poverty, radical extremist organisations have the fertile ground needed to flourish.

Writing in Dead Aid in 2009, Dambisa Moyo warned of the dangers that faced the region, and indeed the world, if the situation in Africa was ignored.

Though the book focuses primarily on the aid given to poverty-stricken African states, and how it has failed to deliver on its promises, Moyo also gives a stark warning to the world. With hindsight we see that this warning has not been heeded, and that Boko Haram have made Moyo’s prophecy a terrible reality.

“Leaving the question of morality aside, there are good reasons based on national interest for the West to help. In the fractured world of Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, Africa’s fragile and impoverished states are a natural haven for global terrorists. Porous borders, weak law enforcement and security institutions, plentiful and portable natural resources, disaffected populations, and conflict zones make perfect breeding grounds for all sorts of global terrorist organisations.”

If for no other reason than the self-interests of nations national security, the fight against poverty is one that everybody should do their utmost to succeed in. And the sooner it occurs, the better.

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