2020/02/22

Reactions to tragedies

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A lunatic recently killed nine people in Germany. There's no final report, but it appears to have been a political extremist / conspiracy theory nutjob.

The reaction by the minister of the interior was as unimaginative as predictable: He (pretends) that he wants to tighten security in Germany.

I can tell that there wasn't time to draw and evaluate any new lessons learned from this case in such a short time without being an insider, much less come up with any new ideas based on those lessons.

This leaves multiple conclusion options in my opinion:
  1. They failed to do a good job (deserve some blame) and want to do a better job now. As mentioned, there was very little time for such an insight.
  2. They failed to do a good job and just want to seize the moment to do what they wanted to do all along, but lacked the political capital to do.
  3. There's really nothing sensible that could be done to prevent such tragedies altogether. They want to seize the moment to do what they wanted to do all along, but lacked the political capital to do.
  4. The talk of tightened security is security theatre and not serious.
  5. The talk of tightened security is an outright lie.
I suppose it's #3, but I would prefer it to be #4 or #5.

We would ruin our prosperity if we posted armed guards everywhere, and it would still not stop all massacres, as we can observe in countries which have many more guards and still a lot more issues with violence. There is always a residual risk, and an adult is supposed to understand, tolerate and preferably (for his or her own quality of life) ignore it. It's sad that this doesn't appear to be present in the thoughts of people enough: Politicians think they can score political points by pretending that they can create more security with more police, more police powers, more intelligence services powers et cetera.

We should have stopped and rolled back the authoritarians long ago.
image source Dirk Adler
The "hawkish" (authoritarians who are present in nearly all parties in positions of influence) politicians exploit tragedies to push for measures they want. It doesn't matter to them whether the measure would work. A few years ago there was a massacre in France and our "hawkish" politicians immediately leaped to the microphones, demanding that we finally introduce an obligation to internet providers to log internet traffic for months. It didn't matter to them that France actually had such a law at the time, and it hadn't provided the slightest utility against the attack.

So I'll step forward and propose two very different reactions to such tragedies.

1) As a matter of principle, to fight against the encroachment of police state and surveillance state, we move towards liberty rather than authoritarianism after such a tragedy. It's a great opportunity to get rid of some security theatre that obviously did nothing to prevent the attack. The authoritarians salami slice towards police state and surveillance state with every tragedy. Liberals need to salami slice towards freedom with every tragedy that exposed the perfect security illusion.

2) As a matter of deterrence, we should punish the political extremists when one of theirs kills someone in Germany because of extremist hate or other political motives. Examples:
For every person killed in Germany by a xenophobic nutjob we should invite 1,000 additional non-EU foreigners to settle and work in Germany for 10 years.
For every person killed in Germany by a pro-migration nutjob we should refuse 10,00 additional non-EU foreigners an extension of their stay and if need be have them deported when the legal hospitality expires.
For every person killed in Germany by some nutjob who didn't like a caricature, a 100,000 sticker copies shall be printed and randomly distributed by mail.
We would have to wait with these retaliations till we're 99% sure about the motivation, of course.
The same kind of response should be applied when German citizens get killed abroad.


The most stupid thing is to allow authoritarians to strangle us millimetre by millimetre, ever more, never rolling their crap back.


S O
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