A gunman in Berlin steered his car off the street onto the sidewalk, right into the middle of pedestrians, leaving devastation, serious injuries and even death in its wake. A horrific incident which, as it appears so far, did not follow a plan but arose from an apparently psychotic disorder of an individual.
It is now said that there can be no absolute security, as is almost always the case when man-made individual madness breaks into the everyday life of others, of the uninvolved, of those who have not been warned and the clueless – and thereby challenge everyone anew to their role and their attitude to ensure society. How protected or vulnerable do I want to feel? Who should I trust, who should I fear, what threats should I accept and adapt my behavior accordingly?
E-mobility, transport policy and future mobility: the briefing on transport and smart mobility. For decision makers
The fact that there is no absolute certainty is usually expressed in an apologetic tone, so as not to convey the impression of indifference. And it is correct. Nevertheless, recourse to this formula also has a reflexive effect. After all, apart from the impossibility of absolute safety, there are a few hitherto unused opportunities to at least increase relative safety.
One thing is clear: human lives can be destroyed with cars. It doesn’t even need an intention to kill, it’s enough to mix up the brake and gas. Far too often, drivers who have experienced just that have crashed into crowds. And what happened on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. in City West was nothing new. Again and again, mentally ill or ideologically radicalized drivers use their cars as murder weapons.
This has even happened in almost the same place. 2016, in the terrorist attack at Breitscheidplatz. No car would get through there today, because bollards were put up back then.
Since Wednesday morning one can again ask why the conclusion has not long been drawn from the many accidents, amok and terror drives counted so far – nationwide – that sidewalks in busy areas everywhere where cars can race into the crowds on a broad front , be limited with bollards. As one of many small measures to better contain an enormous potential risk.
Some are resolutely opposed to this: You can’t turn half the city with bollards. That is exactly what is being reported from Nice, which was also the site of a terrorist drive in 2016, and the city is still standing.
When dealing with dangers, societies adopt routines of suppression. That’s good if they help against feelings of powerlessness. But when the dangers change, the routines must be challenged and modified. This can also be seen – albeit in a completely different dimension – on the world stage.
The war of aggression that Russia started against Ukraine has led to a rethinking of security issues in Germany and Europe: What just didn’t work is already done – including extra billions for the build-up of the German armed forces.
Here and there, whether in support of the Ukraine or the consequences of driving amok and accidents, it is ultimately about protecting and defending human lives against violence that breaks out over them. There shouldn’t be too much stopping you.