Fear and mourning after killing spree in Munich

Article published on July 25, 2016
Article published on July 25, 2016

The killing spree in a shopping centre in Munich attracted global media attention because for many hours it was unclear whether or not it was a terrorist attack. Commentators discuss why so many are on edge, and try to look at the gunman's background.

The spread of anxiety - Právo, Czech Republic

Recent massacres have come in such quick succession that it's no wonder the atmosphere in society is so tense, writes Právo: "The sense of security on our hitherto relatively calm continent is being shaken at ever shorter intervals. Regardless of whether the crimes go down in criminal statistics as shooting sprees or terrorist attacks, people are tense. Especially with IS celebrating the Munich attack... The most frequently asked question on social networks is what it will take to make politicians introduce resolute measures to guarantee public safety... Issuing statements to the effect that we, too, will regrettably have to get used to such incidents, won't bring back the dead. They only intensify the fear that has lodged itself in our heads." (25/07/2016)

Key questions are being avoided - NRC Handelsblad, Netherlands

After the shooting spree in Munich Germany is avoiding tackling the real terrorist threat, NRC Handelsblad notes angrily: "The key questions are not being raised - or not yet. Including the question of police efficacy. The police was widely praised for its work on the weekend even though its initial response on Friday evening was utterly muddled... The painful question remains as to what the police could have done if this really had been a terrorist attack by a well-trained terrorist commando... For hours Germany lived in fear that the country had experienced a terrorist attack like the ones in France and Belgium. When it emerged that that wasn't the case, political tensions dissipated immediately. It was just a tragedy, and Chancellor Merkel no longer had to defend herself. She could assume the role of the Fatherland's consoling mother. But the elephant is still in the room, as they say... The positive mood welcoming refugees in Munich one year ago has evaporated since the mass sexual assaults of New Year's Eve." (25/07/2016)

Premature condemnations and rabble-rousing - Kurier, Austria

The perpetrator was an 18-year-old boy from Munich, born in Germany to Iranian parents. He was under psychiatric care. The hate-fuelled response in social networks elicits dismay in the Kurier: "One major cause for concern are the accusations that were doing the rounds in social media even before any information had emerged about the perpetrator other than that he was an Iranian-German... 'Danke, Angela!' was one of the more harmless comments posted on German and Austrian accounts. Even in the night of the massacre the police were drawing attention to the fact that the Iranian-German had 'lived in the country for more than two years'. The message clearly being sent here was that, whatever is behind this madness, the victim did not come to Germany as a refugee - and certainly not in the huge wave of last year." (25/07/2016)

A sad, failed individual - Zeit Online, Germany

For all our sympathy with the victims we should also consider the perpetrator's perspective, urges Die Zeit: "Even the best preventive measures - let's not fool ourselves - will never reach all youths, let alone all adults. And yet prevention is the right approach. These measures aim to make life better for everyone, to create awareness about bullying, to offer help to people in a crisis - to even see that they are in a crisis, and perhaps even to hear the threats by a potential shooter beforehand. Sympathy? Of course we primarily feel this for the victims, their friends and families and all those who had to witness the massacre. For all the monstrosity of such a deed we should also feel sympathy with the perpetrator. Because there was no one who could help him on the one hand; on the other, to show potential copycat killers that this was a sad, failed individual, not a superhero, coolly taking his revenge. But someone who might perhaps have had a good life." (25/07/2016)

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