Woolwich Incident Reveals a Difference in Cultures
As Americans remembered their fallen on Memorial Day, the British are mourning one soldier who was horrifically slain by two radicalized Islamic extremist terrorists last week. They hacked him to death with a knife and kitchen cleaver after ramming him with a car to bring him down. Many British citizens came to his defense, coming between the terrorists and the fallen soldier, Lee Rigby. One courageous citizen, Mrs. Loyau-Kennett, confronted the terrorists to prevent anyone else from being injured. American Thinker interviewed a former MI6 intelligence agent, Matthew Dunn, whose latest book, Slingshot, is due out in June. During the course of the conversation it became apparent that there are definitely differences in culture between England and America and the interview turned into something of a debate.
American Thinker (AT): Don't you think Prime Minister Cameron reacted much better to this terrorist attack than President Obama?
Dunn: In what way?
AT: Just to compare a few points: After PM Cameron heard about the incident he cut short his Paris trip and flew back to England, while President Obama after hearing about those slain in Benghazi took a campaign trip to Nevada. Quoting Cameron shortly after the killing, "An appalling murder that was absolutely sickening," and "There are strong indications that it is a terrorist attack." On the other hand, the Obama Administration took days to actually change their narrative from the cause being a spontaneous demonstration to a terrorist attack.
AT: By the way, did your Prime Minister call the killing of Rigby just a case of workplace violence as has been designated in the Fort Hood soldier killings?
Dunn: Of course it is not workplace violence. The family held a news conference and the wife could not understand how it was that her husband who served in Afghanistan with distinction, facing numerous terrorist threats, came home safely; yet stated, "You don't expect it to happen when he's in the U.K. You think they're safe."
AT: Can you explain why it took about twenty minutes for the police to arrive at the crime scene?
Dunn: In the UK we have a police force that is not armed. The thinking behind that is, if we do not arm our police than they are less likely to make a mistake and kill innocent people. As you saw we do have a highly-trained armed police unit, which specifically injured the terrorists so they could be brought to justice.
AT: It does not seem that gun control is working in your country, considering the terrorist did have a gun so the bad guys are able to get them. Can you comment?
Dunn: Here, there is not the same level of gun problems as in the U.S. We don't have the right to bear arms in England. I will argue that the amount of gun crimes in our country is diminished. The reason for this is that it is far harder to kill someone with a knife than with a gun.
AT: In Jeffery Deaver's latest book The Kill Room the weapon of choice is a knife. He commented, "What is an interesting point is that the story shows the damage that can be done with a weapon other than a gun, and sometimes it is even more horrific. Look at the UK where it is almost impossible to own a gun yet people are slaughtered with knives. Why just the other day, a British soldier was murdered by two men who seemed to be self-professed Islamists, wielding knives and machetes or cleavers. The vicious killing brings home the fact that evil will persist, whatever weapons are at hand." I think that pretty much summarizes my feeling.
Dunn: Think about the mentality of a non-psychopath. If you have a gun it is easy to pull the trigger and kill somebody without necessarily thinking it through. That actual act of getting close to somebody and putting that knife into them, in a way that actually kills them, is a far harder premeditated act than pulling a trigger. These terrorists did a premeditated act by hacking that poor soldier to death. I understand in the U.S. that if someone intrudes on you or your property to protect your family and loved one a gun will be pulled out.
AT: I look at the fact that whether it's a gun or a knife the end result is the same, the soldier is dead. I also believe that at least for women, guns can even the score with a male attacker where with a knife that would not be the case. Since this incident, are people debating about arming themselves or arming all the police force?
Dunn: Surprisingly not. We are debating how to deal with radicalization and with people who are not integrating into our society. How they do not accept being part of the UK and our culture, and how we must compete with the radicalization by showing how our culture and values will make a better life.
AT: I know that Michael Hayden gave England high marks when he previously told American Thinker, "The general public must take some responsibility to be the eyes and ears because intelligence and law enforcement cannot be everywhere. In other words, 'Keep calm, carry on, and if you see something, say something.'" Do you agree?
Dunn: Our citizens are used to terrorist attacks. We have this now and in the past we had the IRA. People as you saw with this incident do not panic or become fearful. Although people are disgusted with what happened they are fairly calm.
AT: President Obama last week said that we are safer now -- do you agree?
Dunn: Well, terrorism is not dead at all. The reality is that now there is the lone-wolf terrorist who is radicalized and committing atrocities based on their own perceived grievances. This reminds me of the early 20th century anarchists in Europe who threw bombs into crowded areas. In fact, many of us in England were surprised that since there were only two terrorists, Boston was shut down and martial law was practically initiated. What was gifted from that is every lone terrorist will feel they have the power to shut down an entire city. A prospect of shutting down the city can cause loss of revenue and utter chaos. This is playing into the terrorists' hands.
AT: Thank you for giving your time and insight.
Dunn: I am sorry since I am fairly certain that I have not answered the questions the way you would have wanted me too. It is a difference of cultures and I understand that the American environment is much different than in the UK.
AT: That is true, so we will have to agree to disagree on some issues, but thank you for your honesty. Good luck with your next book, Slingshot. I am looking forward to reading it.
The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.