Even at my advanced age, I often feel desperately ignorant.
In the words of Socrates: ‘The more I learn, the better I understand that I know nothing.’
I am at a complete loss how any human being can grab a 9-year-old girl by the hair, put a gun to her head and pull the trigger. I guess it can only be explained by total moral numbness. Such a man’s entire humanity has been mangled by long exposure to the propaganda of hate. Yet even that does not explain the horror to me.
And there are other things I do not understand.
I do not understand how someone, with such a criminal record, well-known to the police and the judiciary, is still walking the streets.
I do not understand how somebody who has been so openly involved in extremist circles, well-known to intelligence services, was not monitored more closely.
I do not understand where or how a European acquires the kind of arsenal the gunman of Toulouse possessed. In the USA, the trigger-happy at least enjoy the cheap excuse of the Second Constitutional Amendment. In Europe handguns and automatic weapons are all forbidden by law.
I do, however, know one thing. I know where such a wicked maelstrom leads in the long run. In the words of Theodore Dalrymple:
When a population feels alienated from the legal system under which it lives, because that system fails to protect it from real dangers while lending succour and encouragement to every possible kind of wrongdoing, the population may well lose faith in the very idea of law. That is how civilization unravels.
At my advanced age, I often feel particularly fortunate.
Due to my lucky star, I need not live the future.