Michael Lind, a pretty interesting and sometimes contrarian American center-left political writer and critic of the Iraq War, looks at the ways in which academics and intellectuals ('Freaks') conflate their own preferences with the public good:
[I]t is natural for academics to view a borderless world as the moral and political ideal — natural, but still stupid and lazy. Make-believe cosmopolitanism is particularly stupid and lazy in the case of academics who fancy themselves progressives. In the absence of a global government that could raise taxes to fund a global welfare state, the free movement of people among countries would overburden and destroy existing national welfare states, or else empower right-wing populists to defend welfare states for natives against immigrants, as is happening both in the U.S. and Europe.
The views of intellectuals about social reform tend to be warped by professional and personal biases, as well. In the U.S. the default prescription for inequality and other social problems among professors, pundits, and policy wonks alike tends to be: More education! Successful intellectuals get where they are by being good at taking tests and by going to good schools. It is only natural for them to generalize from their own highly atypical life experiences and propose that society would be better off if everyone went to college — natural, but still stupid and lazy. Most of the jobs in advanced economies — a majority of them in the service sector — do not require higher education beyond a little vocational training. Notwithstanding automation, for the foreseeable future janitors will vastly outnumber professors, and if the wages of janitors are too low then other methods — unionization, the restriction of low-wage immigration, a higher minimum wage — make much more sense than enabling janitors to acquire BAs, much less MAs and Ph.Ds.
The social isolation of intellectuals, I think, is worsened by their concentration in a few big metro areas close to individual and institutional donors like New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. (where I live) or in equally atypical college towns. It was never possible for Chinese mandarins or medieval Christian monks in Europe to imagine that their lifestyles could be adopted by the highly visible peasantry that surrounded them. But it is possible for people to go from upper middle class suburbs to selective schools to big-city bohemias or campuses with only the vaguest idea of how the 70 percent of their fellow citizens whose education ends with high school actually live.
Germany has a sizable contingent of 'make-believe cosmopolitans' who are endangering the Northern European welfare state, probably the most civilized and humane form of government ever devised. They don't know they're endangering it, because their thinking is 'stupid and lazy'.
Via Steve Sailer, by means of comment on the Somali man who went on a stabbing frenzy in Russell Square, this BBC piece from a few years ago:
The scenario is familiar in Somalia. A man has become possessed by spirits and the only option for his family is to restrain him and call the sheikh. But as the young man protests, a voice that challenges Somali tradition booms out.
"Stop with the chains!" the voiceover orders. "Take him to Dr Hab's hospital! If he's having mental problems, take him to Dr Hab. He won't chain him, he'll help him."
Dr Hab is not actually a real psychiatrist. Rather it's the persona of Abdirahman Ali Awale, a nurse who after three months of specialist training from the World Health Organization (WHO), has made it his mission to rescue Somalia's mentally ill. He claims he is able to treat everything from post-natal depression to schizophrenia....
"There is a belief in my country that hyenas can see everything including the evil spirits people think cause mental illness," says Hab. "So in Mogadishu, you will find hyenas that have been brought from the bush and families will pay £350 ($560) to have their loved one locked in the room overnight with the animal."
"We are trying to show people that this is nonsense," says Hab. "People listen to our radio advert and they learn that mental illness is just like any other and needs to be treated with scientific methods."
Hab's campaign was prompted by an incident in 2005 when he witnessed a group of female patients being chased through the streets by youths. "There was no-one to help them," he says. "I decided after that I would have to open Somalia's first mental hospital."
The Habeb Public Mental Health Hospital in Mogadishu became the first of Hab's six centres across Somalia. Together, they have now treated over 15,000 patients.
Hab faces a near insurmountable task. WHO estimates that one in three Somalis either is or has been affected by mental illness, compared to a global average of one in 10. In parts of the country, where the population has been the most psychologically scarred from decades of conflict, the rate is even higher. Cases of post-traumatic stress disorder are common and the situation is further complicated by widespread substance abuse.
As I've argued before, I think Germany got an unusually high number of young males with mental illness in 2015, judged by the frequency of reports of irrational and violent behavior. Assume you live in a country with rates of mental illness 3 times the global average, and a mental health system in which chaining people to trees and letting them be mauled by a hyena are frequent responses.
If you have a young son who seems to be headed down this path, why not set him on a path north to potentially get asylum in Northern Europe? Assuming his illness is not so severe that he can't follow basic instructions, he might just be able to land in Northern Europe and, with luck, bring some family members with him. At the very least he'll be able to send some money back, at some point. And even if he lands in an institution up there, he'll be out of your hair, and getting far superior care to anything he could get back home. It's win-win.
For the Somali/Iraqi/Algerian family, that is.
For Germany, which is now burdened with lifetime care for someone who will never contribute to society and who will also present a higher risk of crime, including unpredictable violent outbursts, it's lose-lose.
You know what might be a better investment than spending millions in German taxpayers' money in lifetime court cases, social worker counseling, and psychiatric treatment for one Somali male in Germany? How about using that money to support the efforts of people like Dr Hab, which have the potential to help countless thousands of people in Somalia? With no risk additional risk to Germans?
In law and economics, there is the notion of the "cheapest cost-avoider". The idea is that if you want to reduce risks or costs (often the same thing), you should put the burden of reducing risks or costs on the person or organization which can prevent them most efficiently.
Example: Assume a refinery is emitting a harmful gas as a by-product of making a product everyone needs. The emission can be stopped by forcing the refinery to install a new filter which costs a million dollars and reduces efficiency by 5%. The alternative is to not force the refinery to install the filter. But that means that the 10,000 houses in the surrounding area will each need to put special filters on their windows, that residents will need to limit the time spent outdoors, and the number of respiratory diseases will increase. The total costs merely in updating the houses will be $10 million, and the costs for more medical treatment $5 million. The costs in diminished life expectancy and in having to limit time outdoors may not be readily quantifiable, but they are obviously huge. In this case, the refinery is the cheapest cost avoider, and it should be required to install the filter. You can even, if you wish, fully compensate the refinery owner for his extra expenses and still end up far ahead.
This is why allowing unscreened, mentally ill people into Germany is a terrible decision not only from Germany's perspective, but from the perspective of the country which sent them. Improving conditions for treating the mentally ill in Somalia is incredibly easy, because they are so primitive now. Literally anything other than hyena-mauling and tree-chaining is an improvement. You could probably fund 400 patient beds in a cheap place like Somalia for what it takes to house one mentally ill Somali in a German psychiatric hospital for a year.
Plus, no Germans will ever be harmed by a mentally ill Somali man who never enters Germany.
If you want to learn interesting background on events in Germany, you'll just have to wait until the New York Times gets on the case. There'll be a slight delay, but you'll finally get specifics:
To the German authorities, he was Mohammad Daleel, a 27-year-old Syrian traumatized by war who arrived in Europe seeking refuge.
To the Islamic State, he was Abu Yousef, a jihadist who went to Europe for medical treatment after being wounded, intending to return to battle....
[The bombing] has also reinforced doubts about whether the authorities actually know whom they have admitted into the country, and highlighted the challenges of verifying the identities, documents and back stories of those allowed to stay. A 17-year-old who carried out an ax attack on a train the same week that Mr. Daleel blew himself up, for example, has yet to be properly identified, even though he had already been assigned to a foster family in Germany.
As he sought asylum in Europe, Mr. Daleel appears to have either embellished or omitted key parts of his history in constantly shifting accounts....
Mr. Daleel was one of 290 asylum seekers who had appealed to the organization for help in November 2013. Mr. Daleel told the organization that he had no money and nowhere to live, and that he required medical treatment for his knee.
“I particularly remember this case because we don’t see people with shell fragments in their legs very often,” Ms. Savova said. “He told us he got the fragments in his legs when a shell exploded in his house and killed his wife and children.”
The Islamic State called Mr. Daleel a soldier, too, but in his case, it also provided a long account of his ties to the group, including as a fighter in Aleppo, Syria. Last week, the group said Mr. Daleel had first joined its ranks in Iraq and later fought in Syria, “where he was injured by shrapnel of a mortar.”
After seeking treatment in Europe, it said, Mr. Daleel wanted to return to Syria to fight but was unable to do so, and instead “started creating accounts” on the internet to support the Islamic State.
The German police say Mr. Daleel opened six Facebook accounts, at least one of which was under a false name.
The Islamic State also claimed that Mr. Daleel had studied how to make a bomb for three months, was in contact with a handler and had visited the site of the attack the day before.
Even before the attack, Germany had tightened laws to register and share data about newly arriving refugees. It has also been sending out teams of customs officers or soldiers to locate unregistered asylum seekers....
The teams record basic personal information and country of birth, and take biometric photos and fingerprints, said Andrea Brinkmann, a spokeswoman for the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. Those are checked against the domestic intelligence office’s databases and data on refugees already registered elsewhere in the European Union. Since February, all offices dealing with refugees, from the border police to state and local officials, have been able to review that information.
But whether those steps will be sufficient remains to seen. Officials and humanitarian groups say they have long tried to balance the protection of refugees against security.
The German coverage of this case is so vague as to be near-useless, because it doesn't name names or give specifics. Also, just about every assertion of fact is prefaced by a 'supposedly' or 'is said to' wishy-washy hedging phrase. Except for things Yousef/Daleel himself reported (such as that his leg injuries came from a shell which killed his family) which were often reported straight ("His family were killed by a bomb," not "He said his family were killed by a bomb"). This is politically-correct taboos getting in the way of understanding. To avoid 'stoking anti-foreigner resentments', German journalists tend to leave out the most interesting facts and cover up others in a stultifying baffle of euphemisms.
As always, German coverage provides a few superficial reports on what actually happened, then shifts immediately into stories about what politician X said about what politician Y said about politician Z's comments on the attack. Much easier to cobble together quotations from wire services than to leave your office, pound the pavement, collect leaked documents, and try to find out why a trained IS terrorist was allowed into Germany. Or, heaven forbid, how many others might in Germany now, patiently waiting for the right opportunity.
This man was in the country for years, went to counseling sessions, got therapy and treatment and subsidies, and still nobody had an inkling what he was preparing to do. As I've said before, the language and cultural barriers are so immense in these cases that the authorities are basically flying blind.
Not all the young men who entered in 2015 are terrorists, of course. But Germany has no way of knowing which ones are or may become terrorists. This is why the situation is so unsettling: Both of the recent attackers sent no warning signals, and were considered pleasant, helpful, and stable (note that these adjectives describe their demeanor, which is all you have to go on when there's a language barrier). IS specifically tells agents to lie low. Which is even easier to do when your hosts wouldn't even recognize any warning signs because they don't speak your language or understand your culture.
Now the conventions are over, and low-information voters begin actually paying attention to the Presidential candidates. The tiny cadre of activists who voted in the primaries are now swamped by the much larger group of people who pay no attention to politics except occasionally bothering to vote for President every four years.
They're taking their first look at Trump, and they're not liking what they see:
The first batch of top line numbers are in, and they show Hillary Clinton pulling away from the narrow lead she had over Trump going into last month’s conventions. Her lead, in polls taken in the last few days, varies from three to nine percentage points, depending on which poll you’re looking at.
The challenge now for Trump is cutting into the major deficits he is facing among certain groups where he trails not just Clinton, but Mitt Romney’s levels in 2012: groups like college-educated voters, which Romney won by 4 percentage points in exit polls, but where Trump is now losing in the double digits, according to a new CNN/ORC poll. Trump will also likely need to improve his leads among groups where he is already outperforming past Republicans....
But Trump is also alienating college-educated voters, a group Republicans in the past were able to woo. Trump was behind by three percentage points among voters with a bachelor's degree, who prefer Clinton 44 percent to 41 percent, according to a Morning Consult poll taken in the two days following the DNC. In 2012, Romney beat Obama among college-educated voters 51 percent to 47 percent in the exits.
Trump’s problems with women voters -- who make up a majority of the electorate -- are also increasing the ground he’ll need to cover just to match Romney. Clinton’s lead with women voters is 13 percentage points in the CNN/ORC poll, which is greater than Obama’s 11 percentage point exit poll lead over Romney in 2012.... The CNN/ORC poll finds Clinton leading in this group by 3 percentage points, but there, Trump trounces her 60 percent to 34 percent among non-college educated white voters.
Trump is an exciting outsider candidate who has broken many of the rules which people thought governed American elections. If he had more charisma and better judgment, he could pose a genuine threat to Clinton. But Donald Trump is simply an asshole, subspecies blunt, brash, rich, nasal-voiced, arrogant New York asshole. He always has been and always will be. Americans don't like assholes, and the 310 million of them who don't live in New York don't like New York assholes.
There are intelligent people who support Trump. But many of them are falling victim to what I call the pissing-off-the-right-people fallacy, for lack of a better phrase. This is the tendency to support Person X because X angers and annoys people you believe deserve to be angered and annoyed, despite the fact that X's own ideas and character are obviously deficient. "The key thing is he's made the right enemies!" Or the German version, Viel Feind viel Ehr (many enemies, much honor).
This is why Milo Yiannopoulis and his ilk don't impress me. His shenanigans are enjoyable, and he does make valid points about the stifling effects of political correctness. But just because he sometimes POTRP doesn't mean his political judgment in general is reliable. And indeed, his support of Trump shows he has the political judgment of a rent-boy. A jest I can make about Milo because who's he to complain?
Trump has relied on the POTRP effect to run up huge majorities among lesser-educated white voters, but there still aren't enough of those to win an election. Barring some twist of fate, Trump has no chance. So now he's trying another tack: claiming the election will be rigged:
Hannity, Aug. 1: "You said at a speech today you’re afraid this election is going to be rigged. Explain."
Trump: "Yeah. Well, I’ve been — I’ve been hearing about it for a long time. And I know last time, there were — you had precincts where there were practically nobody voting for the Republican. And I think that’s wrong. I think that was unfair, frankly, than Mitt Romney. You had areas where a lot of people were curious, 'How is that possible?' "
"… and I’m telling you, November 8th, we’d better be careful, because that election is going to be rigged. And I hope the Republicans are watching closely, or it’s going to be taken away from us."
This is what happens when things stop going a narcissist's way: they invent excuses, stage a diversion, complain about the rules, and if all else fails, take their ball and go home. Take it away, Mayo Clinic:
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism.
A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and disappointed when you're not given the special favors or admiration you believe you deserve. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling.
Implying that an election will be rigged can be a threat to democracy. It won't bring down the USA, because America's institutions are too strong. But it is irresponsible and dangerous. That's typical of narcissists: when things stop going their way, they stage a tantrum and don't care how much damage they inflict, as long as they somehow manage to reclaim the spotlight.
Now of course there was a candidate in this election cycle who also promised dramatic change, attacked elites, and as a bonus wasn't pathological: Bernie Sanders. Someone who had spent his adult life working to improve the lot of working-class Americans, and is also a genuinely decent, responsible person, as is shown by his decision to enthusiastically support Clinton. He did, however, open up the American political landscape, showing there is huge support for policies and programs that elites considered far outside the Overton window. I hope he stays in the spotlight.
And while we're on the subject, thanks -- I guess -- to commenter Sandro for a link to this Swedish news story from 26 July. This man, according to locals an asylum-seeker from a nearby hostel, approached a 5- or 6-year old child in central Rättvik, Sweden, pulled out his penis, and began masturbating. The father chased the man away with a steel bar. The man apparently wandered around afterward, penis exposed, masturbating, and didn't stop even when someone pointed a camera at him and took pictures. Eventually the police arrested him.
At the risk of belaboring the obvious, this behavior is staggeringly abnormal. There are streakers and flashers and peeping toms in any society, certainly including Sweden. They're virtually all male, of course. But even those people know what they are doing is wrong. They try to limit their period of exposure, so to speak, so they won't be caught. Their behavior certainly indicates bizarre sexual urges, but it doesn't indicate a total break with reality, or complete ignorance (or defiance) of social convention. Walking around a crowded city center in broad daylight masturbating is far beyond flashing. It invariably signals some sort of profound mental disturbance.
The chances of this man ever contributing anything positive to Swedish society are, shall we say, not very encouraging. It should also cast doubt on his asylum claim, for several reasons. First, the UN Refugee Convention specifies that asylum-seekers and refugees are obliged to follow the laws of the country which gives them refuge. Second, if this man has claimed that he fears persecution in his native country, maybe it's because he masturbated in front of children there. Political asylum is meant for people who face unjust persecution, not for those whose activity is blameworthy and criminal.
Here's a recent police press release from Erfurt (g, my translation):
Yesterday, shortly before midnight, a 21-year-old female traveler spoke to a member of the federal police in the Erfurt central station. She seemed frightened, and told the officer that she had been harassed by a man in the train from Kassel. After he had stared at her for long time, she moved to a different seat. The man followed her, sat on the seat opposite, and began manipulating his penis. He did not open his pants.
After she got out in Erfurt to change trains, the man followed her. For this reason, she approached the police officer, who located the suspect in the train station. The suspect is a 31-year-old Iranian national. Because he could not prove his identity, the officer detained him. It is also suspected that the Iranian is in the country illegally.
And here's a picture of another alleged train masturbator from Cologne, whom the police are actively seeking:
This guy is suspected of staring at, and masturbating in front of (g), a group of children from 6 to 8 years old in a Cologne streetcar. The children were engaged in Sternsingen ('star-singing') the German version of Christmas caroling. This involves dressing up as the Three Wise Men, singing traditional tunes, and collecting for charity. This guy apparently found this activity sexually stimulating, so he began touching himself in full view of the children, their minders, everyone else on the train, and the apparently the surveillance camera (actually, this probably isn't a picture of him in the act of jerking off in front of small children. But then again, given the facial expression, I'm not so sure).
No word on whether he unzipped his pants. I assume I speak for everyone when I say I hope he didn't.
And these are not isolated incidents. Well, in one sense they are. We have to keep a sense of proportion here, your chance of being the object of some horny foreign man's intense staring and jerking off on your next train voyage is probably very small. But there have been literally thousands of these incidents by now in Germany. Almost without exception, they involve foreign males.*
When it comes to train masturbators, I am genuinely puzzled. I have taken trains in lots of developing countries, and have never seen this behavior there. Nor have I ever seen German males doing this in Germany. I've seen them get drunk and be rowdy, but never masturbate in public.
Another puzzling thing is that these foreign train masturbators often don't seem to worry about getting caught. Most of the time, the woman who was the focus complains to police, and they often find the guy sitting in the train seat, as if nothing had happened. Many of these train masturbators seem unaware that anything they were doing was wrong, or that the woman they were jacking off in front of would complain about that. I am sure another factor is that Germans are a confrontation-avoiding lot who would rather complain to cops than confront train masturbators. I doubt a train masturbator who jacked off in front of a girl in Egypt would reach his destination uninjured.
I surmise there's often alcohol involved here. Most of our new fellow citizens come from countries in which alcohol is hard to come by. And then they land in Germany, where you can buy a bottle of rotgut which will get you pie-eyed for 5 Euros. I sometimes see them tottering along the streets of my own neighborhood, clutching half-empty bottles of cheap 80-proof booze, talking to themselves. But then again, I see Germans doing that, too.
Yet many of these incident reports don't mention alcohol (which police reports usually do when it's in play). Which implies that these men, while completely sober, decided to take their erect penises out of their pants in public and jack off while staring at females. Sometimes while staring at children.
This is why I am convinced that there are an unusually high number of young males with mental problems among the recent migrants. Public masturbation is the quintessential sign of what psychologists call disinhibition and hypersexuality. I worked for almost 4 years in a public mental hospital, and one of the things we had to teach our acutely schizophrenic clients was the necessity of not masturbating in public (they were obviously allowed to masturbate, but in private only).
We don't have reliable stats yet, but I will be happy to bet any amount of money that if we ever get them, we will find very high rates of mental illness among these young lads.
The Express describes the incident. After the quote, I'll add two surprising facts gleaned from the above video:
Dr Attila Tan, from Bonn, had just returned to work after a holiday when he was set upon by the crazed father of a 19-year-old he treated.
The teenager, who had previously fractured his leg, came back to the German hospital on Monday complaining of the treatment he had received.
He demanded further medical care from Dr Tan, complaining about pain he said he was suffering from.
Dr Tan, a 54-year-old surgeon, said: "The patient came in around 10am, he was accompanied by his girlfriend who wore a veil.
"He was radiating aggression that only intensified when I treated him.
“I explained everything to him, including the exercises he should be doing. But he wasn't listening."
The irate teen stormed out of the office shouting insults, only to return with his 45-year-old father and younger brother, 15.
The dad brought with him a 30cm ‘Rambo’ knife.
Dr Tan’s wife, 54, who works at the hospital reception, screamed for help when she saw the blade.
In surgery when the trio burst in, the medic rushed towards the front desk and met the knife-wielding attacker head on.
While trying to hold him down, Dr Tan recalled: “The father screamed at me: 'apologise to my son, go down on your knees and kiss his hand'.
"The younger son then grabbed me from behind and tried to push me down.”
The doctor’s loyal wife was beaten as she tried to help her husband and suffered a heart attack during the ordeal and had to be rushed to receive medical treatment.
Dr Tan said: "She just wanted to protect me. The way he hit her, it hurts so much."
The video above, in which the doctor explains the incident, contains two telling facts that did not make it into the Express story. First, the doctor recounts that as the father was threatening to murder him, he kept repeating: "I am a Palestinian. I have slaughtered so many Jews."
The second fact comes at the end of the video. Two of the four attackers were detained by the police, two voluntarily turned themselves in. Despite the fact that the attackers beat and threatened to murder the doctor repeatedly and beat his wife and threw her to the floor -- all while screaming 'Allahu Akbar!' -- all of them are still at large.
German law doesn't allow anyone to be held in custody pre-trial unless they are an imminent danger to others or a flight risk. And a German judge and prosecutors decided none of the members of this family were either of those things. Not even the father who threatened to decapitate a doctor while boasting of having "slaughtered so many Jews", not his sons, nobody. The two employees of the doctor's office who are in the video above won't show their faces because they're frightened the attackers might show up again.
The police spokesman also say that suspicions that the crime might have a religious or political motive "could not be established". No word on whether the Palestinian man's claims to have "slaughtered so many Jews" will be investigated, although the video does report that Germany's domestic security agency is investigating the case. It will be interesting to see whether in this case, as in some others, Germany's lax asylum laws ended up in granting protection to people who have committed crimes against humanity, instead of to their victims.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The German criminal justice system was designed for a harmonious, ethnically homogeneous society with high levels of social trust and cohesion. In many parts of Germany, those conditions no longer apply. Pressure is building to make the justice system much more coercive. Professors and experts will fight these changes, as they usually do in Germany, but if there are more cases like this one, eventually, even the powerful screen of expert control (pdf) that insulates German criminal law from change may crumble.
Every time there's a terror attack, open-borders sympathizers cross their fingers and pray to the Magic Pixie that it wasn't one of the young men who came in through...open borders. To them, the only terror attacks that could possibly "count" must be committed only by people who entered Germany in the summer of 2015. And even then, they are "regrettable one-off cases".
But why are we supposed to be reassured by the fact that the perpetrators of IS-inspired terror attacks had been in Europe before 2015, or were even born and raised in a European country? What this means is that there is a large group of alienated, disaffected young males who are susceptible to radicalization even though they enjoyed every advantage (and all the disadvantages) of living in a prosperous European nation since birth.
A very small -- but very steady -- number of these fellow citizens can be convinced by foreign propaganda to murder dozens of their fellow Frenchmen or Germans at random, and then either blow themselves up or run into a hail of police bullets shrieking "Allahu Akbar!" Since they know the customs of the country they're living in, they can conceal their activities much more effectively.
And as we've seen, the authorities often (1) have no idea the risk they pose; or (2) know the risk, but do not have the legal tools to effectively counter it. See, e.g., the terrorist who slit the throat of an 84-year-old French priest while wearing a police ankle monitor. Or the mentally unstable man who was able to remain in Germany and commit a suicide bombing even though he had already been ordered deported to Bulgaria.
If you find this state of affairs reassuring, I don't think that word means what you think it means. And given that 83% of Germans (g) (the highest percentage in Europe) think immigration and integration are the most pressing challenges facing Germany today, they don't think so either.
A Syrian refugee in Reutlingen, apparently upset about relationship troubles, hacked a 45-year-old woman to death with a 40-cm döner kebab knife. He then ran shrieking through the city, hacking at other people with the knife, until a man in a BMW ran him over and brought the rampage to an end. Although only in Germany for a year, the accused killer had been in trouble with the police before for drug, property, and violent crimes (g). Early reports about the 27-year-old Syrian rejected asylum seeker who blew himself up in Ansbach, injuring a dozen other people, indicate he had a history of mental illness and had twice attempted suicide.
This is not normal behavior, even for people who (may) have withstood trauma. And this sort of behavior doesn't just crop up one day out of nowhere. It's a good bet both of these men displayed behavior problems back home, although given taboos and the language barrier, it will probably be hard to find out precise facts.
As I've argued before on this blog, it seems that among the hugely disproportionate numbers of random young males Germany allowed to wander across the border last year, there's a disproportionate number of violent, mentally ill young men. The reasoning could hardly be simpler: If you have 5 children, 3 of whom are men, and 2 of those men have jobs and/or families, who are you going to send to Germany to try to set down an anchor there and start the chain migration which, your hope, might one day allow your whole family to resettle? Two of your sons are founding families and/or generating income to support you, so losing them would be a problem. But what about your 18-year-old son, who has always seemed a bit 'off', who says odd things or deals drugs or has a nasty temper or sometimes talks to himself?
One of the reasons families might be eager to off-load family members with mental illnesses is because mental health care in the Arab world is totally inadequate:
The Arab world is taken to mean the 22 members of the Arab League, accounting for 280 million people. The region has the largest proportion of young people in the world: 38% of Arabs are under 14. Life expectancy has increased by 15 years over the past three decades, and infant mortality has dropped by two-thirds. Around 12 million people, or 15% of the labor force, are unemployed. The quality of education has recently deteriorated, and there is a severe mismatch between the labor market and the education system. Adult illiteracy rates have declined, but are still very high: 65 million adults are illiterate, almost two-thirds of them women. Some 10 million children still have no schooling at all.
The health expenditure estimated as a percentage of gross domestic product is highest in Palestine (13.5%), followed by Lebanon (8.8%), Jordan and Djibouti (8.5%) and Egypt (6.4%) 1. Health services in all Arab countries are provided by public (government) and private sector facilities and out of pocket (this last category representing 63.4% of the total in Sudan, 58.7% in Egypt, 58% in Yemen, 56.1% in Morocco and 54.9% in Syria). In some countries insurance systems contribute to the provision of the service. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have come to be recognized as an important actor in the provision of health services, especially in countries with internal instability (in particular, Lebanon in late 1980s and Palestine now).
The mental health expenditure as a percentage of total health expenditure is not available in most Arab countries and not reported by the officials. Only three Arab countries have provided an estimate: Qatar (1%), Egypt (less than 1%) and Palestine (2.5%)....
Currently, most of the Arab countries are exposed to conflicts, wars, terrorism and fundamentalism, which may be the seeds for many behavioral and mental disorders.
Cultural beliefs of possessions and the impact of sorcery or the evil eye affect interpretation of mental symptoms. In this context, the first resort for the families of mental patients is not even the general practitioner, but the traditional healers, who acquire a special importance because of their claim of dealing with the “mystical” and the “unknown”. In the majority of Arab countries there is no interaction between the medical profession and the traditional healers. In Jordan, there is some kind of a relationship, which remains informal and unorganized. In Saudi Arabia, however, they constitute part of the staff, using religious text and recitation in management.
In conclusion, our data show that, in the Arab world, health and education budget assignment is below the recommended requirements far better quality of life. The budget allowed for mental health as a percentage from the total health budget, in the few countries where information is available, is far below the range to promote mental health services. The mental health human resources and the inefficient data collection by the official agencies are incompatible with the gross domestic product of Arab countries. An appeal for implementing mental health in primary care as stipulated as a policy in many Arab countries and to prioritize mental health in the agenda of politicians is urgently needed.
In the close kin-network and community you live in, your son already notorious as a problem child and/or petty criminal and/or target of a curse or evil eye, so he cannot find a job and isn't a suitable match for an arranged marriage. At home, he can do nothing but cause problems for your family. Abroad, nobody knows about his past, and he'll have a chance for a fresh start.
As long as there's a country there offering a welcome and housing and education and money to any random young male who makes it across their borders, what's there to lose? Even the $5,000 for a smuggler isn't that much of a sacrifice, since you will no longer have that mouth to feed, and will no longer have to stay up at night worrying about what your unstable, unpredictable family black sheep might do tomorrow. And if he lands in prison or a mental hospital in Germany, everyone knows those are quite comfortable in comparison with similar institutions anywhere else in the world. And maybe the change will do him good, he'll establish himself, and bring you to join him! What is $5,000 against the priceless prospect of being able to relocate most of your family to a nation which is infinitely more stable and secure than where you live?
This video is grimly fascinating: it shows the Munich spree killer walking around on the top of a parking garage.
The guy filming him (or someone close by) begins screaming insults at the killer, and the killer responds and gives a few reasons why he is doing what he's doing. In a Youtube comment, Scalpelli provides a pretty good translated English transcript of their dialog:
Some English translations floating around on here are wrong. Here's the correct one:
Balcony Man: "You fucking asshole you..."
>Shooter: "Because of you I got bullied for 7 years..." (referring to Turks)
Balcony Man: "You wanker you. you're a wanker"
>Shooter: "...and now I have to buy a gun to shoot you"
Balcony Man: "Yeah, you know what? Your head should be cut off, you asshole!"
>Shooter and Balcony man shouting at each other
Balcony Man apparently to people filming: "He's got a gun here, the guy has one"
>Shooter: "Fucking Turks!"
Balcony Man: "Fucking wogs" ("Kanake" is a mean term for Turkish immigrant workers)
Balcony man to someone else: "EY! HE'S GOT A GUN! He has loaded his gun! Get the cops here!"
>Shooter: "I am German."
Balcony Man: "You're a wanker, that's what you are"
>Shooter: "Stop filming!"
Balcony Man: "A wanker is what you are, what the fuck are you doing?"
>Shooter: "Yeah what, I was born here!"
Balcony Man: "Yeah and what the fuck you think you're doing???"
>Shooter: "I grew up here in the Hartz 4 area. Here in the Turk-region, in the Hasenbergl" ("Hartz 4" = social welfare benefits in Germany / "Hasenbergl" = district just next to the shopping mall)".
>Shooter says he was depressed for some time and got clinical treatment ("stationäre Behandlung" here usually refers to being under treatment at a psychiatric clinic).
Balcony Man: "Yeah treatment, you belong in a psychiatric clinic, you fucking asshole."
>Shooter: "I didn't do anything wrong. [unintelligible] Just shut the fuck up man!"
Balcony Man: "You wanker you"
Balcony Man: "HEY! HE'S ON THE UPPER FLOOR HERE. YOU IDIOTS"
Filming man goes into cover, shooter starts firing.
Balcony Man: "You're not quite right in the head / You're fucked in the head you wanker"
Unknown voice (police?): "EY, go over there!"
Balcony man: "You fucking asshole, you're fucked in the head!" - literally translated though he says "They shat into your brain", to which the shooter replies: