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Doing it to ourselves

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Yesterday was full of sombre news, demonstrating yet again the flaws in the mythology that Western nations are bastions of tranquility only under threat from malign external influences.

In Catalunya or North East Spain, against a long background of debate about whether those terms are synonymous, violence broke out as pro-independence groups tried to run a referendum the central government declared as illegal. The region has had an uneasy relationship with the nation into which it has been subsumed for hundreds of years, which offers cold comfort for numerous other areas of the globe with similar conflicts about who a region belongs to. Some votes were counted, suggesting a landslide for independence, but they will be skewed towards the views of those who desired change. No easy answers.

And then in the US, the appalling shooting incident at a concert in Las Vegas. Rarely have the much feared Islamic extremists caused anything like that loss of life. Citizens of the US should be as cautious of those fully committed to the ‘American dream’ as of swarthy foreigners; the perpetrator was, by all accounts, a rich white man living a life of leisure and self-indulgence. Gun control would seem like an easy answer although still has the problem of how you’d rein in the many who insist that their pistols and rifles and high velocity assault rifles need to be prised from their cold, dead fingers.

As ever, the problem isn’t ‘them’; it is us.