APD Review | The Ghost of 911 Inexorably Hangs on

BY APD NEWSSep 12,2017 at 07:39

By APD writer Wang Peng

A spectre is haunting Europe and America - the spectre of terrorism.

Massachusetts State Police shut down the I-93 South near Exit 12 to investigate a shooting on Sunday evening. In this attack, two men riding motorcycles were seriously injured when they were shot. One is receiving medical care at Tufts Medical Center and the other is at Boston Medical Center. As the local police reported, the victims are a 54-year-old father and his 32-year-old son and the suspect, 23-year-old Michael Coleman, of Dorchester, will face charges. They also said the shooting was related to ongoing Cambridge Caribbean Festival in the area.

During these days, reports on increasing terrorist attacks in Europe are nor rare: from the tragedy of Charlie Hebdo in France in January 2015 to the bloody Brussels chain explosions in March 2016, as well as the murder-driving and knife wounding crisis on London’s Westminster Bridge in March 2017. Bombing and bleeding are reminding people all the time that Europe is no longer a safe heaven.

By contrast, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the situation seemed to be much better. As many counterterrorism specialists confidently claim, thanks to the US homeland security and intelligence agencies such as DHS, FBI, and CIA heightening the security measures, people in America are feeling much safer. However, now the increasingly shooting and terrorist attacks are shattering the myths of American homeland security.

The identity of the suspect is still unclear for unknown reasons that we do not know his race or criminal intent. But his timing of September 11th is not regarded random. Since the last catastrophic event 16 years ago, this number or date, which is associated with security and policeman assistance (911 is the emergency call in America) has become a symbol of terror and massacre in American minds.

Despite the growing speculations about the suspect’s motive or (terrorist) background, a more fundamental question is why the shooting tragedies never end in America. Why the strengthening security measures of American homeland security fail to protect ordinary Americans in their daily life? Even when President Trump signed the unprecedented prohibition banning visitors from particular seven Muslim states into the US border, the sense of security of Americans declined irrevocably, why?

Two thousand years ago, Confucius commented that ‘Lord Jisun’s trouble is not from the Tribe of Zhuanyu, but inside his own country.’ So is America. Regarding the last shooting tragedy of ‘Rifleman Shoots House Whip Steve Scalise’ at GOP Baseball Practice on June 14th 2017, as well as other cases in recent years, it is safe to say that no matter how strict xenophobic laws or bills may have been passed by the Congress of signed by President Trump, or how effective the border security agencies work against external threat, there is no valid solution to cure the internal wound of the American society.

In a jungle society flushing with guns, citizens lacking of minimum sense of safety and exposed in front of ubiquitous shooting threats have no alternatives but rely on his or her ‘self-help’ conducts to ensure personal security. However, this personal rationality may turn into collective irrationality, which is extremely harmful for creating a safe society. The final result is that everyone keeps a firm hold on his/her gun and look around vigilantly, but criminals’ carefully prepared ‘lone-wolf’ attacks may easily break this fragile ‘balance of terror’ at all.

The unique final solution to this problem is the national outright ban of gun in every state of the United States. Many politicians and citizens have known this point and tried their every effort to push through a bill. However, the powerful interest groups such as Rifle Association, with the strong back up from transnational arms sales groups behind them, made every effort to go down the drain. It is exactly the ‘perfect’ American democracy with its proud representative system of government and lobby approaches offered those groups so deep influence and great authority.

Looking forward to a big ‘change’? J. W. Bush has promised, Obama has promised, Clinton has promised, Trump has also promised; who will be the next?

Dr. Wang Peng, Fellow at APD institute.Research Associate at the Charhar Institute and China Institute of Fudan University.


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