Mass shooting shocks the Netherlands

Yesterday the whole country was shocked when learning about a young man who opened fire with a machinegun at a crowded shopping mall in Alphen aan den Rijn, a tiny city southwest Amsterdam, killing at least six people and injuring many more, some of them critically. I guess that besides grief and mourning, people here are also shockingly surprised and bewildered. The overall verdict that this absolutely ‘undutch’, to the extent many can’t believe it really happened. “You hear about this sort of thing happening at American schools and you think that’s a long way away,” said one of the witnesses. “Now it’s happened here in the Netherlands.”

I am actually shocked to learn that a person *can* have so much weapons in his possession; apparently, the 24-old shooter, being a member of shooting club (?), had permits for five (!) weapons. To my knowledge, possession of any weapons is strictly illegal here, I didn’t even know that these ‘shooting clubs’ even exist. The country is known by its non-aggressive, pacifist conduct promoted from the day of birth through kindergartens, schools, universities and further on. We experienced for years how our son was literally brainwashed with all this ‘never-be-aggressive’ rhetoric at school.

And yet, even knowing and experiencing all this overwhelmingly pacifistic facade of this society, I can not escape noticing some changes, somewhere deep-down in the ‘social soul’. This is not the first fact of apparently unmotivated violence in the country; despite all the differences, what pops up to my mind is a violent attack during the queen parade two years ago, when the guy had ridden into the crowd with his car. This incident remained unexplained and to my knowledge was signed off to a mental problems. There were more cases, but every time the cause was sought in ‘radical islamism’ or in the ‘fight against radical islamism’ (e.g., the mosque was attacked in Eindhoven few years ago). And of course ‘mental problems’ are always easy to call as the reason, instead of digging deeper – or simply admitting that we don’t understand what’s going on. The latter is unfortunately never happened, no ‘sane’ member of the ‘powers that be’, of the ruling elite would admit that he or she have no clue. If they would be both smart and brave to acknowledge that they lost touch with the reality, it would be a chance to regain it at some point. Unfortunately, here I have nothing to do but *sigh”.

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