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Europe today feels (or should feel) equal parts thankful and humiliated. America has come to our aid again, showing more bravery and decisiveness in an instant than we have shown in years.
On Friday, on a train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris, a Moroccan terrorist – armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and various other small arms – opened fire on random passengers. After being resisted unsuccessfully by several civilians, two off-duty marines (together with a third American) tackled the piece of filth, overpowering him (one marine getting shot for his troubles, and another being stabbed), trapping him in a chokehold until he lost consciousness. After the terrorist was incapacitated, other passengers piled on and the gunmen was disarmed and then tied up. It is believed – but not yet confirmed – that the Moroccan had ties to ISIS and had been on the radar of the French secret services for some time now.
What kind of tragedy was averted by this heroism? For an answer, we must cast our minds back to the Mumbai attacks in 2008, and specifically the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (railway station) shootings. On that occasion, two Kalashnikov-wielding terrorists managed to massacre 58 (fifty-eight) people before the attackers chose to leave the Terminus in search of more prey. Over 100 other civilians were also shot at the station but survived.
A Thalys high-speed train, like the one targeted on Friday, has a capacity of 377 seated passengers and well over 400 allowing for standing passengers. In reports issued since the attack was foiled, the service running that evening has been described as ‘packed’. We will assume for our purposes that the population of the train numbered at least 377.
A single attacker moving through packed carriages with a fully-automatic rifle could have quite easily killed a hundred people. Incapacitated by fear, femininity, old-age or childhood, many civilians would not have stood a chance against a young, fearless militant unconcerned with death and legal or moral repercussions. The security services on board we now know were cowering (cowering!) in their staff quarters, leaving no obvious impediment to the attacker other than a feat of spontaneous bravery, which, thank goodness, was forthcoming.
Even though it was averted, we should treat this attack as though it was successful This was an attempted assault by ISIS on the people of Europe. Those who believed ISIS could be quarantined to the Middle East must have this delusion beaten out of them. This is war, no less real than in 1939. A far-reaching licence of special powers must be granted to our governments until this threat is diminished to manageable proportions.
If any Muslim resident in Europe has suspected links to ISIS (and that can be as little as ‘liking’ ISIS propaganda on a facebook post), that is more than enough reason to deport him/her. Stop building Mosques. Stop all Muslim immigration (Bravo Slovakia!). Stop pandering to Muslim causes. Man the f*** up!
America (and the American spirit) will not always be there to defend us. We must develop that spirit within ourselves if we are to survive another millennium.