Reading stabbings show threat posed by 'lone wolf' terrorists – Kenny MacAskill

Tackling inequality at home and injustice abroad can help dissuade vulnerable and deluded young men from being radicalised by malevolent forces, writes Kenny MacAskill

A forensic officer searches floral tributes laid at Forbury Gardens, Reading, where three people were killed and three seriously injured (Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire)

The terrorist attack in Reading was truly awful, yet it’s just another in a litany of attacks over recent years. In modern security vocabulary, it appears to have been another “lone wolf” attack, carried out in the “nike” fashion, of doing what you can, where and however you can.

They’re hard for the security services to track and even harder to prevent. Steps to support them need taken, even though it’s primarily a resource, not legal powers, issue.

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The statement from the Home Secretary was long on the rhetoric of enforcement and compulsion but short on actions to prevent attacks happening at all.

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The war on terror continues and yet that in itself is part of the problem. Vulnerable and deluded young men are being radicalised by malevolent forces, often online.

Underlying that though is the sense of injustice that’s felt by many of them. Partly by being excluded in this society, as statistics on BAME communities shamefully show, but also, in the continued injustices that fuel alienation abroad.

The illegal actions of Israel go unchecked and in the first four months of this year more drone strikes were carried out in Somalia by the USA than in President Obama’s entire presidency. The coronavirus lockdown hasn’t affected the American war machine.

Vigilance and enforcement are required but so is the “prevent” strand of the anti-terrorism strategy.

That requires addressing inequality at home and injustice abroad. We need to solve the problem, not just punish perpetrators.

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