Thursday, June 20, 2024
HomeGerman NewsA single perpetrator is not alone: ​​Ronya Othmann's column

A single perpetrator is not alone: ​​Ronya Othmann’s column


IIs German actually the only language that chooses annual non-words every year? Is it because of compound words that German has produced a series of appalling structures such as “anchor center”, “corona dictatorship”, and “social tourism”, or is it the reactionary specter that plagues the language?

I want to add a simple one to the unspeakable monster: learn. Learning has become a buzzword. Today, people should learn something from everything, about their privileges, failed marriages and natural disasters. If you understand learning as making up for shortcomings, then learning is not a bad thing in the first place. For example, democratic systems are not perfect systems; they must continue to evolve to keep up with the pace of social change, while also protecting themselves from threats. However, learning must not be reduced to clichés, transferring social and political issues of racism, misogyny or anti-Semitism to the personal level. Cosmetics are not enough, and specific steps are needed.

It’s not impossible to stop them

Similar depoliticization also occurs when talking about terrorist attacks. Over time, we have increasingly dealt with individual perpetrators. The term “lone traveler” is not wrong in the beginning: a lone traveler is someone who plans and executes an attack alone. The Nazis called it “resistance without a leader.” Islamists relied on this strategy, and terrorist organizations such as IS called for attacks with knives or trucks. This is also related to the security policy precautions of the past few years that have made it more difficult to carry out large-scale attacks with many insiders. The lesson after 9/11 was only at the airport, during the long security check, we noticed it. But it is not impossible to stop individual perpetrators. According to terrorism expert Peter Neumann, it is estimated that 50% to 80% of people communicate their intentions in advance. The Breitscheidplatz Assassin in 2016 is known to the authorities, as is the Dresden Assassin in 2020. The individual perpetrators may belong to a terrorist organization, or they may be inspired or ideologicalized by a terrorist organization. If you look closely, most of the perpetrators are not alone.


Ronya Osman
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Image: Kat Menschik


However, it is a bad term to use “individual perpetrators” in the sense of “individual cases” because it is completely wrong. It is related to “mental illness” and is misleading. “Mental illness” does not mean “guilty”. “Mentally ill” does not mean “potential terrorists.” Therefore, if we only talk about “lone travelers” and “psychiatric patients,” it is despising and suppressing the political core of the behavior.



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