Damien on… 2016 – What The HELL Happened?
It is customary to analyse a year just after it has FINISHED – and this one still has seven weeks to go. However, now the dust APPEARS to have (hopefully) settled, your humble scribe (always ahead of the curve) has decided to get his two penn’orth in FIRST.
The year began with a miserable two-month period where on average a much-loved celebrity passed – every FOUR DAYS.
But the main cause for concern was the latest wave of TERRORISM which has been going on in the West, ever since America accidentally (thanks to the “Star Wars” Con) won the Cold War (1991) and who, needing a NEW Evil Empire to cite as justification (to the World in general and its tax-payers in particular) for maintaining the most powerful military on the planet, decided to nominate the Middle East.
They were sitting on the oil America needed and being factionalized, ill-equipped and ill-trained – how much harm could they cause?
As I predicted, in 1994; Manhattan, 9/11, 2001 (except I thought it would be a suitcase-type “dirty” nuclear bomb).
This inability to understand and assess an enemy goes right back to Pearl Harbor, where BOTH sides under-estimated the other.
Anyhay, with the US having sucked the rest of the West into their mess, France had been suffering FREQUENT terrorist atrocities since late 2014 – but their story went GLOBAL in November 2015, when a bunch of yahoos with Kalashnikovs and suicide vests ran riot amongst Paris’s sports-fans, concert-goers and clubbers.
One hundred and thirty dead, with another two hundred and fifty injured. The number who still wake up screaming is unknown.
Then, in July 2016, a single individual drove a twenty ton truck through Nice’s Bastille Day revellers on the old coast road (I’ve driven along it myself – it’s slow, but delightful) which had been pedestrianized for the day.
Another eighty-six dead and over FOUR hundred maimed.
Then, while this was still fresh in everyone’s mind, two thugs slit the throat of an eighty-five-year-old priest as he was performing Mass, in a small-town church.
Meanwhile, over in the States, about the time the Paris Attacks were happening, a San Bernardino couple who’d had enough weapons in their garage to start a small war – DID so. A one-sided affair, it resulted in thirty-six casualties, including fourteen dead.
And just before the Nice incident, another lone individual fired two hundred rounds from a legally-purchased SIG Sauer and likewise Glock into a hundred people in an Orlando disco – killing half of them.
Of course, the NUMBER of people killed in these sorts of crimes is minimal, compared to those killed in traffic accidents. But terrorism is about the PSYCHOLOGICAL impact, not the numbers. And thus, by mid-2016, this sudden ramping up of terrorist activities in the West had people SCARED.
Enter Farage and Trump.
Whenever a political upset occurs, “experts” like to analyse what went WRONG. The problem is, they forget that while THEY may be complex people, the average citizen is pretty SIMPLE. Thus the reasons they do things are pretty simple too.
And in the case of Brexit and the 2016 US Election, they saw votes for Leave and Trump as a way to firm up their nations’ borders and prevent more mayhem.
Oh sure, there were a myriad other issues, but their fear of terrorism was a BIG part of their reasoning in both cases.
And it is SAD that neither leaving Europe nor voting in Trump will actually HELP in this aim. Most of the instigators of these heinous acts were CITIZENS – not immigrants.
The only ACTUAL way these deeds can be reduced in number is for the anti-terrorist agencies to continue doing what they do; quietly infiltrate any groups who look like they might contain radicals – and NAIL said radicals before they can act.
It may be a less glamorous solution than bombing the crap out of the “homelands” of the terror groups that inspire the home-grown extremists – however it is ultimately a lot more successful.
But simple people seek simple answers to the fears that dominate their lives. And as I have discussed in earlier ramblings, they were not about to SHARE their fears with POLLSTERS. Which is why America faces at least four years of Trump and his Incorrigibles.
Although thanks to its High Court, Britain could YET pull itself back from the brink.
Yes, the last little bit of this APPALLING year may provide new HOPE, if the UK’s Supreme Court decides wisely.
However, now only a MIRACLE (or maybe a wedged Big Mac) can save America.
Lotsa luck, guys – you’re gonna NEED it.