There are two effects of today’s routine Islamist terrorism, apart from the death and destruction, that are breaking the will of its target countries. One is that the regularity blunts our outrage: when bombings and shootings happen nearly every week, people begin to accept them as part of their new existence. Humans can get used to anything. And when they’re used to something, there’s no longer any will to stop it.
The other effect is that the regularity overwhelms the media, to the point where effective reporting on the attacks isn’t really possible. Let’s assume for a moment that the Western media actually want to report on all the attacks. There’s evidence that they’re more interested in protecting the comfortable lies of multiculturalism than in factual reportage: consider how far Sweden will go to keep migrant crimes hidden from the public. (See here, here, and here for explanation.)
At any rate, all news organizations have limited resources — limited money, time, writers, editors, etc. Beyond that, their audiences have limited attention spans. How thoroughly can the major media outlets cover any attack, especially when there’s a new one every week?
We are seeing both these phenomena wear down the United States and Europe. We’re overwhelmed. The latest attack appears to be in Hungary, which has so far remained free of Islamist terror. There is no confirmation of terrorism yet, but a homemade bomb exploded in Budapest this weekend, and the national police chief has said law enforcement officers were the target.
Of course, we’ll all forget about this in a week’s time, our minds occupied by a fresh batch of attacks. This kind of psychological war of attrition is likely part of the strategy. Make it all a routine. Make it seem inevitable. Make it difficult to investigate properly. Make extended national mourning impossible. Make the West feel like a tired boxer fending off a stronger opponent’s flurry, the temptation to throw in the towel growing with every landed blow.
Do you find yourself having trouble remembering all these attacks? The slaughters in San Bernardino and Orlando. A bunch in Paris. Brussels. Nice. Istanbul. A bunch in various German cities. New York. New Jersey. Oh wait, Minnesota. What am I missing? Possibly Washington state? They all seem to run into one another, don’t they? The places, the names — it’s all hazy and blurry. Even relatively recent attacks seem so far away. Then you catch yourself forgetting one — the elderly French priest murdered in Rouen — and you feel a pang of guilt. There’s some bewilderment mixed in too: How did we get to this new reality so quickly?