This year, for the first time since the Second World War, Lille has cancelled the event because of security concerns.The cancellation is striking because it does not reflect a lack of effort: five times as many policemen as usual were to have been deployed; concrete barriers were erected around the market-stall area to prevent the entry of booby-trapped vehicles; police marksmen were to have stood on many of the surrounding rooftops; helicopters were to have kept the whole area under constant surveillance.Imagine the carnage if something happened.” headline proclaimed.
No amount of precaution could guarantee the safety of more than 2 million people from terrorist attack in a city the size of Lille.
The tens of thousands of vehicles coming to the city could not all be checked carefully for explosives. And the government is already under fire for not having done all that it could have done to prevent the recent attack at the promenade des Anglais in Nice.
The designation of “hate,” as a means of emphasizing that certain violent crimes are especially vicious because of the mindset of the perpetrator, has always been criticized as imprecise, as well as unnecessary: there are no “hate crimes” that aren’t already on the books as regular crimes, so why enter the hazy domain of thought-crime?
But now that every bathroom-wall swastika or muttered subway imprecation is technically a hate crime, truly heinous crimes need a more emphatic designation.
But in the end, the mayor of Lille, Martine Aubry, once a contender for the leadership of the Socialist Party that now governs France, reluctantly concluded that it was not enough, that security could not be guaranteed. Who would want the ultimate responsibility for an event in which scores, or even hundreds, of people were slaughtered, as 85 were in Nice last month?
A decision to go ahead would have been brave, but if it went wrong, it no doubt would have been condemned as foolhardy or worse.
Liberals like Khan and de Blasio resent the fact that the most visible and obvious mass violence being committed throughout the West is Islamist jihad.
To the Left, particularizing this kind of violence as “terror” is a cynical, racist ploy to justify the persecution of the non-white, non-Western Other.
The grisly Manhattan murder of Timothy Caughman, an elderly black man, by a white racist bent on dissuading people from interracial dating shocked even the most jaded New Yorkers.
Responding to calls from Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance indicted the confessed killer James Jackson on state charges of “murder as an act of terror.” Speaking about the crime at a press conference earlier this week, the mayor condemned President Trump and his press secretary Sean Spicer for not forthrightly labeling the murder a hate crime or an act of terrorism.
These two arrests, occurring six weeks apart, vividly illustrate Lenin’s and Trotsky’s “Who, whom?