The Jihadists and their supporters are quite adept at yanking our collective chains.
All they need to do to get our attention and that of our leaders is to post a video of a recent beheading or some other provocative material. It always works and it appears it will always work. It rankles every time I read about a new gruesome online material and our reaction to it. I wonder if I am in the minority? This is how I look at it.
1) In each of the last 10 years (using data from these sites, http://www.citizensreportuk.org/reports/murders-fatal-violence-uk.html) (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/116483/hosb0212.pdf)at least 500 people have lost their lives to a murder / homicide in the UK.
Are their deaths any less traumatic to their relatives and loved ones? Are their lives of less value than those killed by the Jihadis? Do we react in the same way to each and every one of these deaths? I can't remember the Prime Minister making a statement about all of these murders / homicides. I can bet that the corresponding stats from the US (considering their more liberal gun laws) will be significantly more than the UK's.
And to think we as humans and our leaders can do something about these murders / homicides. But we will rather be outraged by the Jihadists chain yanking.
2) In the winter just past, 18, 200 people lost their lives (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-30243635). Their death is somewhat linked to seasonal low temperatures. Of these, 14,000 were over 75. Not only did complications arising from the cold temperature kill these elderly ones, they most likely died without loving care and in presence of their loved ones because we are all too busy getting on with our lives and perhaps expressing outrage at the Jihadis videos.
Bar a piffling statement perhaps at PMQs, I doubt these deaths were worthy of the attention of our Prime Minister or anybody of note in Government. I ask again, are these deaths any less traumatic to the concerned relatives and loved ones? Are these lives of less value than those killed by the jihadis? Do we react in the same to each and every one of these deaths?
3) In the last 3 or more years, there have been at least 1000 people per year (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health3/deaths-related-to-drug-poisoning/england-and-wales---2013/stb---deaths-related-to-drug-poisoning-in-england-and-wales--2013.html) who die from drugs poisoning (both illegal and legal). Guess what, the government is still dithering on what a coherent drugs policy should be. It is unlikely that the source of the legal drug poisoning has been dealt with. Most likely the affected families have either been fobbed off or paid off. Yet the next j
Jihadi beheading will get more attention from the government than any of these deaths or the drugs policy. Why? Why do we as people & government ignore the things we have control over and focus on things we have no control over?
I will stop here. If you wish, please look around you and see other very important life threatening things deserving of the government and our attention. Not the Jihadis. Let them do what they want, they will always do whether we like it or not and because we are obsessed by their actions we are in my opinion feeding their lust for these actions.
I understand the government's legitimate desire to protect its citizens. These protection should start when they are in country and not when they are about to be beheaded by the Jihadis. If Alan Henning was the victim of winter death, nobody would have heard of him. How can the government protect its citizens? What am I suggest?
Francois Hollande (the French President) was in the papers recently advising French citizens to stay away from volatile areas of the world. Very obvious advice you will imagine. Why should a private citizen of the USA or a Western European country leave his home to visit a war torn country? Someone with a prize on their head? WHY? For humanitarian reasons? Do you realise there are poor people in your country? Have you finished helping these ones? If you are unable to live with yourself after seeing the pictures of the suffering, diseases and death in these war ton countries and you are moved to do something, why don't you donate the equivalent of your travel expenses and time to a charity that is working in that part of the world?
Why put yourself in harms way, then put the soldiers who might attempt to rescue you in harms way as well. And then remember, your loved ones. Are you actually been selfless or selfish? To a certain extent, I understand the case for abducted journalists and soldiers but I cannot understand that of private citizens looking to do a good deed. Even in the case of journalists, a case can be made for their employers to use local people for their news gathering / picture taking rather than risking their Western European / US citizens who have a prize on their head.
Don't even get me started on the case of individuals who decide to go and fight on opposing sides to the Jihadis or people who run away to be Jihadists or Jihadi brides themselves. Less than 2 years ago, our leaders were debating whether to arm some of the people who are now part of IS. PLEASE LET THAT SINK IN.
WE THOUGHT THEY WERE OUR ALLIES. Some people left the UK to fight on their side as they opposed the tyranny of Assad. 2 years later, IS is now the vilest vile scum of the earth. What a transformation. NOT.
So why do we think the people opposing IS today will not do worse things tomorrow? We don't. What we know and should enforce is that private citizens have no roles in fighting any war either on the side of tyranny or liberation. If this is not already a crime, it should be.
Everyday, I read in the papers about a teenager (usually female) running away to join IS or the male adult variant running away to fight alongside them. A lot has been written about the sociological issues affecting and motivating these people. I'm sure we can debate these till kingdom come.
The issue is actually very simple for me. After it has been made clear that fighting in either side is illegal / a crime, there should be an open door for anybody who wants to run away to join IS or any other war mongering group. Government and its agencies resources should not be deployed in preventing these people from leaving. Once they leave, their citizenship should be revoked. If there is no law backing this up, Parliament should legislate for one as a matter of national urgency. Any welfare benefits attached to these people should be cancelled. If they are minors, parents should be investigated for potential child welfare endangerment. They should not be allowed back into the country after their rose tinted glasses have fallen off. If this endangers them in any way, they should join the queue.
Why should we allow these people back and throw them into jail? Why? So they can recruit other people to their Jihad? Why devote any type of resources to these people who live in cosy whereeversville in the UK and who decide they want to become a Khalifa in Syria. Good luck and best wishes. Resources should in fact be deployed to keeping them out.
In conclusion, the next Jihadi beheading video should be ignored. I want the Prime Minister to focus on making the UK a better place not on some nutters playing at medieval warlords. The military can send drones to take them out, implement whatever security policies we've put in place against these people. Giving the Jihadists the oxygen of publicity rewards their ways.