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Thursday, July 07, 2016



PEOPLE keep dying in violent and terrible ways, and nobody seems to know why. Following the recent slaughter of 44 people at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, US secretary of state John Kerry told a press conference: “We’re still trying to ascertain what happened and who did it.”

One day, many years from now, with the assistance of global police networks, we might have an answer. At US news outlet MSNBC, this post-Istanbul question was asked: “Is there a pattern to recent terror attacks?”

Again, nobody has a clue. It’s a complete mystery. What on earth might be the common factor linking mass killings in Paris, Brussels, Orlando, London, Madrid, Bali, Israel, Libya Somalia, Cameroon, Egypt, India, Bangladesh, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, the Philippines, Russia, Burkina Faso, Kenya and now Istanbul? What pattern might there be?

Over in Germany, which coincidentally has lately taken in some million or so claimed refugees, one police spokesman suggested overcrowding may be the big issue.

Announcing that Munich would spend nearly $4.5 million more on security during this year’s Oktoberfest, spokesman Marcus da Gloria Martins said that the huge cost increase was to do with something other than terrorism and its completely unknown cause.

“For me the general problem of crowding at Oktoberfest is more worrisome that a terrorist attack,” he said, which is presumably why it makes sense to hire an additional 100 security personnel, install an emergency multi-language loudspeaker system and conduct bag checks at every single entrance.

All of these measures are obviously about overcrowding and not any other thing that might happen at random, somehow causing people to spontaneously die. Obviously.

Perhaps the real problem is Swedish rapists. Following an increase in sexual assaults, Sweden’s police have now launched a brilliant counter-tactic: wristbands reading “Don’t touch me”.

The idea is that women will wear these wristbands and thereby deter any would-be attackers. Because there is no suggestion — no suggestion at all — that potential attackers may be from Africa or the Middle East, the warnings are written only in Swedish.

“By wearing these wristbands, young women will be able to make a stand,” declared Sweden’s police chief Dan Eliasson, who is touchingly convinced that rapists are both decent and literate. And also raised in Sweden rather than certain other parts of the world where lots of rapes and explosions and murders occur.

Meanwhile, nobody mention a certain faith beginning with “I”. To speak of it may summon it. Shhh.

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The Half Hour News Hour asked this question over 10 years ago, we still haven't figured it out.
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