Comment from Michael V. Owens
MUNICH — (MunichNOW Comment) — The spell has been broken. For years, many Germans and especially Bavarians have felt that a combination of factors were at play that had spared it the brunt of terrorism. In all honesty, it was a bit like a fairy tale. Everyone knew it was possible, but perhaps, Munich and Germany might continue to be safe.
Regardless of whether the perpetrator was an Islamist or simply an ill person who was Muslim, the reaction to this most horrific crime must be thoughtful and rational. I expect the citizens of Munich will react just that way.
The security in Munich is some of the best in the world. Twice a year they are put on the highest alert, at the Oktoberfest and during the Munich Security Conference. But they cannot stop what happened and are incapable of policing every potential target. It is a fact of life.
People in Munich will not clamor for ‘more guns for everyone’, as some members of America’s NRA would. They will not misplace the blame on Merkel’s refugee policy. Though it has not been easy, it is on many levels working. Any problems which remain are not insurmountable. These most tolerant people of Munich will not build walls to keep people out, they will not blame a whole religion, and they will not look much differently at the countless Muslims who already live here. In fact, I expect there will be demonstrations for peace and brotherhood, with Germans, Turks, and any other person who believes in those ideas and is willing to work on them can and will come.
If the shooter was radicalized, the Germans will look closely at the reasons he may have been. Could it be the West’s constant meddling in the Middle East? Egypt is a perfect example. Mubarak was replaced by a legitimately elected Morsi from the Muslim Brotherhood. Could it be some European countries and the USA’s unwavering support for Israel, though the UN has declared that Israel’s current program of ‘settlement’ is in fact an occupation of Palestinian lands? Could it be that for too long the West has turned a blind eye to the machinations of Saudi Arabia, the most oppressive regime in the Middle East which just happens to be the world’s gas station?
Iraq, Libya and Syria are simply the latest examples of where and when the West attempts to dictate which dictators stay and go. I recall after the attacks of 9/11, the German chancellor at the time, Gerhard Schröder said, “We must dry up the swamp of terrorism.” And I believe he was exactly correct. It will begin in places like Munich, which will refrain from the populism and isolationism gripping so many of the Western countries at the moment. It will begin with a long look in the mirror, and it will begin in a place like Munich.