Thoughts on the Mumbai Terrorist Attack

First of all, Mark Steyn, as expected, dashes off a insightful column about the whole nightmare over there. My big take away from his column is hey, this can happen anywhere. It’s actually amazing it hasn’t happened, yet, in the United States. I live in the Portland, Oregon metro area, and I’m positive that if a determined, well-trained group of terrorists wanted to raise Hell here for a weekend, they certainly could. No city can be expected to “handle” something like this. Truth: if people with semi-automatic weapons and grenades who know how to use them want to kill a lot of people, you know what? They will.

Listening to the Wall Street Journal report on the attack (Audible download, so no link), one thing that struck me, though: most of the Indian police involved did not have weapons greater than a bamboo stick. That’s fine for someone stealing a purse or even simple assault, but that’s about it. I’d like to think that terrorists in an attack on an American city — as long as they’re not perpetrating it on a college campus — would run into greater obstacles, such as Glock-weilding peace officers. That would certainly help.

The other thing that struck me was the number dead: while every death means everything to family and friends, it really wasn’t that bad. Or, I should say, it could have been a lot worse than it was. This whole thing struck me as mostly a media play. Let’s kill as many people as we possibly can to get as much global media coverage as we can, as hey, if we can stir up some sectarian violence at the same time in our hated Hindu-dominated country, fantastic. As Steyn says:

In the ten months before this week’s atrocity, Muslim terrorists killed over 200 people in India and no-one paid much attention. Just business as usual, alas.

The count stands currently at just under 200. This wasn’t business as usual: the whole world watched, and with horror. Unfortunately, it’s not the terror or the idealogy that grips people’s attention, but sheer numbers.

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