The shocking death of Lee Rigby quite naturally appals us all. The intention of the crazed little group who conceived this killing was to make it as horrible as possible in order to scare people.
Horrible, sociopathic violence happens to people from time to time. They have done since Cain killed Abel, metaphorically or literally as you choose. Here is another headline today, just as horrific:
A British soldier has been jailed for stabbing a 10-year-old boy after getting drunk on vodka while serving in Afghanistan.
Both that obscene attack and Michael Adebolajo’s appalling actions are borne out of the same conflict. But it is reasonable to suppose that both these incidents involved people with, for whatever reason, a pre-disposition to murderous violence.
Such people have always been with us and will always be with us, but fortunately they are very, very few. In a nation of 60 million, involvement in violent crime is very low. If you are the victim of criminal violence, the odds over the last decade are about one in twenty thousand that the violence inflicted on you will have any linkage to political or terrorist causation. And the odds that you will suffer any kind of violent attack are thankfully pretty remote.
We should not panic from theatrical violence, just deplore and take sober stock. Sadly if a lunatic on the bus decides to strangle you tomorrow, there are no pre-emptive laws that can stop that. We should stop pretending that the state can always prevent.