Scene: ABC Ultimo Studio. Monday Night Q&A.
Host Tony Jones:
Good evening and welcome to Q&A. Tonight’s panel includes Niki Savva, columnist for The Australian, Mona Chalabi of the Guardian and American scientist Lawrence Krauss.
In the wake of yesterday’s tragic bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in which 22 young people lost their lives, I would like to get the view of panellists on how this attack, tragic though it is, fits into a global context. Mona Chalabi, can we start with you.
Actually, the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, if you want to view it in terms of number of dead bodies, which, as awful as it sounds, is the way to kind of make sense of some threat, actually, really, isn’t that present…
… the chance of being killed by a foreign-born terrorist is one in 3.6 million … but all of our perception of threat has been distorted because of the way that risk is presented to us by politicians.
Thank you, Mona. Lawrence Krauss?
Actually, Tony, You’re more likely to be killed by a refrigerator, in the United States, falling on you.
It didn’t happen in that sequence of course but, if it had, would anybody be outraged by Roger Franklin’s outburst against this vacuous and dangerous drivel?
But Monday night’s Q&A did happen in the wake of many previous atrocities. The panellists had, at their disposal, extensive knowledge of the effects of terrorism on countless innocent families but, with the comfort of swiftly fading memories, felt able to mouth these comforting (for them) platitudes.
The point that Roger Franklin was making was that we too easily relegate these events to history once the candlelit vigils have been complete. And as long as we keep doing that, apologists like those on Monday night’s Q&A will continue to weaken the political resolve to take more resolute and effective action to put an end to the threat rather than to just counter it. In that sense they are contributing to the deaths that will, inevitably, come in the future. In much the same way that 1200 unfortunates who drowned off the coast of Australia in recent years would have been better off if the likes of Sarah Hanson-Young had not held such sway with decision makers.
Draw your own conclusion from that.