The insane attack in Nice yesterday demonstrated again that terrorism is within reach of everyone. Every vehicle on our choking streets is a deadly weapon, and it is absolutely and definitively impossible to prevent terrorist acts. We are vulnerable, everywhere and all the time.
This means that the only possible route to safety is to live in a trusting and supportive society. Everyone has to be included, everyone has to have a good life, everyone has to feel cherished and cared for. Happy healthy people do not commit insane acts of violence; but a small fraction of the irreparably damaged, abused and tortured people do.
Terrorists are not born, they are created. War, especially wars like the one that Blair and Bush lied us into, generates enough carnage and pointless horror to challenge anyone's sanity. And we've added torture to the mix: as Craig Murray's incredible book Murder in Samarkand documents, the UK and US "intelligence" communities now routinely accept the torture common in dictatorships like Uzbekistan (supposedly in service of the increasingly mythical "war on terror").
I can imagine, in my blackest moments, being driven insane by suffering (or, worse, the suffering of those that I love). I hope that even in such straits I wouldn't commit an attrocity like those which have become so much more common in the west in recent years. But can any of use really know the answer to that question? I have a history of the British Empire (by John Newsinger) which is titled The Blood Never Dried. The more blood we shed, the more lives we ruin, the more insanity we will create.
For the price of the bombs we have dropped on countries like Afghanistan or Iraq we could have bought everyone a villa with a swimming pool. For the price of supporting the banks after 2008, we could have eliminated poverty in the UK. For the price of the luxury yachts bought by bonus-wielding finaciers we could fund every pensionner, expand the NHS to meet the needs of our aging population, and etc. etc. etc.
It is a simple choice: try to keep a lid on the individual insanity created by our insane system (shall we make every car driver take a mental state test before every trip?), or ditch the system.