We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

“The background and motive of yesterday’s attacks were unclear”

The above is a quote from a Times article with the title

“Three dead after knifeman goes on rampage in Bavarian city of Würzburg”.

At least three people were killed and several more injured in an apparent spree of stabbings in the Bavarian city of Würzburg.

A 24 year-old man from Somalia

There is more, but I have quoted the part relevant to what I want to say in this post. Almost every comment to the Times piece (those that have not been replaced with the phrase “This comment violated our policy”) sneers at the evasion. Journalists, please stop doing this “motives unclear” thing. It dos not decrease hostility towards Muslims, it increases it.

They have been playing this stupid game for a long time. I often find it illuminating to link back to old Samizdata posts that share a common theme with whatever I am posting about now. Here is one from 2011: “Two contrasting articles by Michael Tomasky on spree killers”. It feels like yesterday. For one mass-murderer Mr Tomasky wrote,

You don’t have to believe that alleged shooter, Jared Loughner, is a card-carrying Tea Party member (he evidently is not) to see some kind of connection between that violent rhetoric and what happened in Arizona on Saturday.

For the other,

We have much more to learn about Hasan before we can jump to any conclusions.


We should assume until it’s proven otherwise that Hasan was an American and a loyal one, who just snapped, as Americans of all ethnicities and backgrounds and political persuasions do.

18 comments to “The background and motive of yesterday’s attacks were unclear”

  • John Lewis

    “There is erroneous information being circulated on social media regarding in the officer involved shooting in the Lloyd district. We can confirm that the subject involved is an adult white male. No one else was injured,” tweeted Portland Police.

    Somewhat connected. Yesterday Portland Police managed to avoid a riot by tweeting that the man they shot was only white.

    No-one will be called upon to “say his name”.

  • Shouting “Allahu Akbar” while carrying out your spree killing doesn’t help the “optics” either…

    Then again, being a white person, I am clearly just *ist / *phobic

    We don’t get many spree killings / terrorist bombing / truck of peace incidents in Perth, Scotland. Can’t imagine why not though.


  • Deep Lurker

    “The Western left recognizes one sin, and one sin only: that of being right-wing.”

    So in the case of a right-wing spree killer, the motive is a matter of simple obvious common-sense truth. Right-wingers are all evil, violent, and full of hate, and the only wonder is that we don’t see more of them going on murderous rampages. But if the spree killer isn’t right-wing, then his motives are utterly mysterious.

  • Mr Ed

    The theme song to Dad’s Army springs to mind: ‘Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Hitler?

    But then you hear security guards who failed to challenge the Manchester Arena bomber saying that they didn’t want to appear ‘racist‘ if they challenged a man with a backpack at a pop concert acting nervously for half an hour before it.

    I would add that given the state of the law in the UK, it actually is racist to challenge someone on the basis that they appear to be a suicide bomber if part of your reasoning relates to the ethnicity or apparent national origin of the bomber, and direct discrimination is ALWAYS unlawful.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Adam Hills, a mildly disabled Australian comedian, once commented on the swiftness with which he was allowed through customs when re-entering Britain- the officer preferred letting in someone who might be smuggling in drugs, to someone alleging that Hills was subject to harassment because of his disability!

  • CaptDMO

    Unidentified Flying object:
    “I have no idea what that was.”
    “WE” will not be releasing the identity of those phenomena”
    Both “fit”. Plausible deniability.
    Untenable Forensic Orientation
    See above.

    Once Is Chance, Twice is Coincidence, Third Time Is A Pattern

  • Paul Marks

    The last time I opposed the doctrines behind these terrorist acts I was suspended by my political party for a year – because the Guardian newspaper (acting for the Muslim Council of Britain) decided that this was “Islamophobic”.

    I think this shows the situation is hopeless – not the actions of the Guardian newspaper, that is to be expected (the Guardian is socialist – it is dedicated to the destruction of Western civilisation which it calls “capitalism”, and will ally with anyone for that purpose). No it was the response of the supposed defenders of the West – their response was to punish me, and they would have treated anyone else just the same (it was “nothing personal”).

    I remember Perry showing pictures of military aircraft and so on – as if this was some sort of argument.

    The West will not argue back – it has no ideological response (none). So military equipment is not going to win this – no more than Pop Music or Association Football are a culture (they are just not an answer to the fundamental questions of life – and every person asks those questions sooner or later).

    Islam may give mistaken answers – but it does give answers. It is not just Justin Welby or some other such waste-of-space mouthing platitudes about Critical Race Theory and Black Liberation Theology (and, no surprise, he does not understand what he is talking about).

    If one side argues a case – and no argument is allowed AGAINST their core doctrines (if the most people are allowed to do is to say that the terrorists have “misinterpreted” those doctrines) then the “game” is lost before it starts.

    Showing pictures of military aircraft (or whatever) does not change this at all – it is pointless.

    It reminds me of the film “The Outpost” (2020) – the American warriors show great skill and courage, and yes it is a true story.

    But none of that alters the fact that the base is destroyed at the end of the film – and was totally pointless from the day it was built.

    If you are not in a place to spread your basic beliefs (indeed if you are not sure what your core beliefs even are), if you are just in a place to kill and be killed then – DO NOT BE THERE. You are not serving any useful purpose – no matter how brave you are.

    And we have reached a stage when Western ideas can not be defended – even in the West.

    For example, there used to be a section in the training of a Roman Catholic priest that was arguments against Islam – that part of the training went down the Memory Hole many decades ago.

    So, let us say (for the sake of argument) that Pope Francis had a change of heart and wanted to attack Islam intellectually.

    He could NOT – he does not have the training to do that. He would not know how to do it.

    There would be no need to THREATEN him (“will expel you if you say…..”) he literally would not know what to say. The idea that he is going to launch a campaign of conversions of Muslims in the West is absurd – firstly because he does not want to (he does not want to argue for his faith AGAINST others), but also because he can not – because he does not have the knowledge or the training to attack Islam intellectually.

    Pope Francis is not the exception – he is the norm in the West. It is NOT a Protestant, Catholic or Atheist thing.

    For example, the leader of the once conservative American Southern Baptists is useless – he may be a very nice man, but it would not occur to him to argue against the rivals of the West (and he would not have the knowledge and training, if he did decide to attack them intellectually).

    Most (although NOT all) Western Atheists just think that all religion is bad – that some religions might be worse than others is not their cup of tea. And they do not have a detailed knowledge of the theology and legal ideas of the various religions. “Why should we – it is all the ravings of people who believe in a Sky Fairy” – the fact that many philosophers and legal thinkers have been profoundly religious rather passes them by. Of course there are exceptions – but not many of them in cultural leadership positions.

    Besides – the West is destroying itself, demographically and in every other way. All the rivals of the West really have to do is WAIT.

    “The West will wake up Paul”.

    Show me intellectual evidence of that – that the West is getting interested in the core beliefs that built its civilisation, and in the intellectual arguments (arguments) against its rivals.

    Show me.

  • staghounds

    How about

    “The background and motive of yesterday’s attacks are irrelevant, because nothing could justify or even rationally explain this act. The crazy murderer’s crazy motive, like is worthless name and stupid picture, will not be reported here because we will not reward him with fame or encourage other crazy losers into thinking this is the way to get noticed.”

  • staghounds (June 27, 2021 at 10:30 pm), while your suggested phrasing is arguably a bit less cringing to the “Allahu Akbar” crowd than the OP title, it does not work for me.

    1) Reporting the attacks and the attacker gives the attacker his fame. Even if not reporting things were wise in general, not ‘officially’ reporting his motive merely ensures others will.

    2) One has to assess things rationally even to deduce that they are not justifiable and (separately) not rationally explicable. I do not think the attack on the twin towers justifiable (obviously!), but can certainly make an attempt to explain its rationale.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Why should anyone bother showing you anything, Paul, when you keep asserting, without proof, that Trump won the election? You first.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray (June 29, 2021 at 8:49 am), why do you keep asserting, without proof, that assertions Trump won the election are ‘without proof’.

    I have written more than one article on the subject on this blog. Those who have not decided in advance to keep their eyes tight shut can easily find more information of a calm and evidenced nature if they seek it.

    The philosophical debate on whether the best of my articles offers proof of vote fraud or only very strong evidence of it can be deferred till you have justified your own habit of making assertions ‘without proof’ – or at least defined what you mean by that. There is certainly a sense of the word in which I would claim ‘proof’ – but between civil, criminal, mathematical and philosophical meanings of ‘proof’, I think defining the word in context should come first. (My joke article, of course, was not claiming to be proof; there are more informative statistical techniques than Benford.)

    BTW I think Paul’s ‘show me’ was rhetorical – not an actual demand that anyone promptly comment in response, and anyway none of us are obliged to comment about anything – we are libertarians after all. 🙂

  • lucklucky

    “The background and motive of yesterday’s attacks are irrelevant, because nothing could justify or even rationally explain this act. The crazy murderer’s crazy motive, like is worthless name and stupid picture, will not be reported here because we will not reward him with fame or encourage other crazy losers into thinking this is the way to get noticed.”

    I see…so you would never named Nazis or Communists crimes…tell me, how can you fight against something you don’t name?

  • lucklucky

    Did the journalists at the Times censored that the attack was mostly against women?

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    I see that Paul has still not responded. And I see that nobody is going to court to prove that Trump won. Is it because Trump did not win?

  • JohnK


    I imagine that Paul has not responded because he thinks he will be wasting his time. I am sure he is right.

  • bobby b

    “And I see that nobody is going to court to prove that Trump won. Is it because Trump did not win?”

    Remember the OJ Simpson trial? He won. Do we think he was innocent? No, we don’t. But he won.

    Did Trump win the election? No, he didn’t. Do we believe that Biden had more votes than Trump? No, we don’t. But Biden won.

    As for the courts – the courts are merely recognizing that the problems should have been addressed pre-vote, and that leaving them to be settled after the vote took the solution away from our legal system. When court rulings are based on standing, and time limitations, the court is merely saying it’s out of their control, and they’re correct. We needed to fix the fake voting before the election, and we failed to do so. When legislation is passed that says that fake people can vote, it’s not up to the court to complain when fake people vote. It’s simply a matter of, the law is bad. But courts enforce laws, not morals.

  • Nicholas: I imagine that Paul has not responded because he thinks he will be wasting his time. I am sure he is right. (JohnK, July 4, 2021 at 5:11 pm)

    Well, Paul could hardly help notice that Nicholas hasn’t engaged with the responses of anyone else (me, for example 🙂 ).

    Anyone who finds themselves wanting to engage with the “no-one going to court” claim, could do worse than read this summary of what happened in Georgia, including (if you scroll down far enough) the way in which attempts to go to court encountered procedural shenanigans.

    The effort to find out continues – as does the effort to obstruct that.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Paul has not responded, and I think it is because he can’t. At least, not with facts, instead of assertions. I think Trump lost the election, but he is the sort of person who hates to admit that he could ever lose at anything.