A 21-year old man has been arrested after allegedly killed a 21-year old woman and injuring another 41-year old woman in Clarence Street, Sydney. The attack halted the entire city and caused significant transport delays as emergency response teams tried to piece together the puzzle and ensure the safety of civilians. This is a frightening attack, no sense of warning and occurring within a public place during the daytime.

There is possible allegiance to Islamic extremist ideology, with connections to the recent acts in the US and New Zealand currently being investigated. The offender is also known to have battled with a long history of mental illness.

Our prayers and thoughts are with the victims and their families. So where does this leave Australia now? These are some essential points to consider:

1. The response of the community to this attack has been incredibly encouraging. In November 2018, in Melbourne, a man carrying a knife carried out a similar attack, threatening civilians with a clear association with terrorism. The response of the community was to instead of trying to control the attacker or run away, they pulled out their phones and filmed the event. Contrastingly, members of the public today chased the man through Clarence street, eventually containing him through the use of milk crates and chairs. These individuals demonstrated extreme courage to run into the face of possible injury or death to protect the lives of others and should be publicly acknowledged for their bravery.

2. These attacks will continue until we break the deadly cycle of racial violence, not only in Australia but also in the world. How do we do this? Firstly, we need accurate reporting. If this man has Islamic extremist ideologies, we need to call him what he is, a terrorist. We also need to understand that this man was mentally ill and that his religion or faith is utterly irrelevant to the attack. No one in a stable frame of mind decides to injury or kill others with a knife in public.

3. The comment must be raised about the nature of the attack in comparison to the recent American mass shootings. As mentioned in my previous article, (https://thelevinelowdown.com/2019/08/12/america-and-guns/), I have no doubt that Australia’s gun control policies meant that more lives were saved in this attack. If the man was armed with an assault rifle, not only would more people have been killed, but the containing of the man by the general public would have been almost impossible. Yes, people still died, and a deadly weapon (knife) was still utilised, but it must be noted that the outcome could have been entirely different had the attacker had access to a gun. Again, all lives are equally valuable, and no matter how many people pass away, it is unacceptable, and we must continue to strive to ensure the safety of all people.

As the story continues to unfold and new details emerge, we must stay calm and not become fearful, as this is what the attacker wants us to do. We must look after and support the victims and their families, and we must acknowledge and encourage the courage of the civilians who risked their lives to save others.

6 thoughts on “Sydney Stabbing

  1. Terrorism–one death at a time? Maybe, but I doubt it. Probably something personal, or believed to be personal. A wrong look, an awkward smile, some kinds of spoken words. The possibilities are endless.
    But I would like you to reconsider your thoughts that people have to be mentally ill to kill others. There are hundreds of millions of mentally ill people in this world, and few kill anyone. Extreme hatred of any kind, being brought up in fear, feeling helpless and wanting to strike back, normal people can harbour these feelings for years, and suddenly decide to act on them.
    In my mind, it takes a certain sanity to be able to plan a mass murder, or even a single murder, and carry it out. People with mental illnesses are not generally capable of such planning, or gathering the tools they need to act. Their actions are cold-blooded, I won’t say they aren’t, but planning takes time, and mentally ill people will ususally not be able to sustain such thinking over a period of time.
    You are still young, and probably eager to believe that normal people are like you, but they aren’t. What you see on television or in the movies is fiction. It generally comes down to motive, and if you think you have a good motive nothing will stop you from doing what you feel you have to do, good or bad, helpful or hurtful.

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    1. I have a couple of comments to make:
      Firstly, I am very disappointed with aspects of the comment. Debate my ideas. Debate my opinions. But never attack me personally or use that as a way to prove your point. My age is irrelevant. I may not have as much lifetime experience as others, but I continually aim to be as aware as I can of the world around me.
      Secondly, my use of words may have not been appropriate which has caused a misinterpretation. I am not saying in this post that everyone with a mental illness or mental health issues are capable of killing others. What I am saying is that it is un-human (for the lack of a better word) to think about killing someone. It goes against every value and ethic installed within us either from birth or during our childhood. The thought of killing someone is not normal. I don’t believe that is disputable. I think you kind of understood what I was saying, that yes it does take a certain sanity to plan and carry out a mass murder, and these people, mentally, need support. It is not natural to have these thoughts and that is the point I was trying to make.
      Thirdly, the amount of people who are killed is irrelvant. Even if no one dies. We need to call terrorism what it is. If someone is trying to spread fear and project a poilitical message through extreme violence, that is terrorism. We need to acknowledge that first and formost. Yes, there could be many other factors and possibilities but the number of people who die makes no difference on the definiton of terrorism.

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      1. I am not disputing that the number of deaths is what makes terrorism, but I am asking you to look at other possibilities before you look at terrorism. The Sydney killing actually hit the news in Alberta, Canada, tonight, but the Sydney police were quoted as saying it was definitely not a terrorist act. I did not see this news clip until after I had commented to your post. It just seemed to me you were rushing to conclusions before you had all the facts. I am not saying either of us is right or wrong, only to take caution on what words you use.
        As for your age, yeah, I knew you would feel I am insulting you or persecuting you for being young, that is exactly how I felt at your age. But I found out I did not have all the answers at 19, or even at 25. I had some answers, yes, but some of the answers turned out to be wrong. That is life, so I wanted to introduce this idea to you.
        As it turns out, your idea that it is “un-human” to want to kill is very questionable. You say we are all raised that way, but we aren’t. Many people are raised to kill, and destroy, and some even raise themselves to do that. I am not disputing you were brought up to respect life, and I’m glad you were. But it is not universal. Someone had to tell you that. Respect for life is not “a priori” to life. I’ve watched many a child grow up with no respect for life because their parents, particularly their fathers (but not always), do not have any respect for life. You are very lucky in the way you were brought up. Say thank you to your parents for me. I sincerely wish it were un-human to kill, but it is all-too-human, and I am sorry to be the one to tell you that.
        And with that I will shut up. I don’t want to totally take away your idealism, I myself am still an idealist in my senior years. But I have been forced to become a realist just by living in this world. Life has a way of kicking people in the ass, and it us best if we are prepared for it.
        My apologies.

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      2. Okay, well in my article I did not explicitly say that it was a terorrist attack, I said that if there are Islamic extremist links, then we need to refer to it as a terrorist attack rather than a shooting. Yes, the police commissioner in New South Wales has denied terrorism links but there is evidence the police force are currently investigating relating to a USB device containing connections to the attacks in America and New Zealand, so there are definitely some connections, time will tell what they are.
        I am not saying that I have all the answers, I am on here researching, writing and entering civil discourse to help to find more answers, to listen to different perspectives, if you read the ‘about’ section of my blog, maybe that will showcase my ambitions and goals through my writing.
        Yes, children in who grow up in War Zones or in militia groups may be trained to kill at a young age, but I am struggling to think of other examples.
        Idealism, realism, I don’t think it matters. If we look at our world over time, it is the people who are undeniably passionate that create change. Yes I may have idealist opinions, but I am also aware of the world and understand that things can’t always be ‘perfect’. But I do aim and encourage others to be passionate, because I do believe that that can make a difference

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      3. As for others, fathers who take their two-year olds hunting or fishing. No respect for life!
        Parents who tell their children to hate those who do not think like them, or believe like them, or look like them. In North America there is a lot of that. Everywhere in the world there is a lot of that. People hate people because their parents or other teachers tell them to. No respect for life!
        I am sure you will see lots more ways that parents teach their children to hate.

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