We’re often told that things like mass shootings don’t happen in other countries because they have strict gun control laws. That’s not precisely true, of course–we’ve written about plenty of them–but even if it was, there are still mass stabbings.
Now, these are different, of course. A knife is a different weapon than a gun, after all.
But we’ve seen a few of these this year, all outside of the US.
We’ve now seen one more, this time in Dublin, Ireland.
Protests broke out in central Dublin on Thursday evening after Irish police said a 5-year-old girl was receiving emergency medical treatment following an attack that involved a knife.
A woman and two other children were injured.
Irish police said they weren’t treating the case as terror-related, and that a man in his 50s, who was also hospitalized with serious injuries, is a “person of interest.”
Police said they have a “definite line of inquiry” and that they weren’t looking for anyone else in connection with the violence outside a school in the heart of Dublin soon after 1:30 p.m.
In the early evening, protesters fired flares and fireworks at the police cordon in Dublin around the scene of the incident.
Earlier reports had five people injured. At least some claimed the attacker as Algerian, which at least suggested this might be terrorism, though local officials say otherwise.
Others in the area subdued the attacker, which is why there weren’t worse injuries nor any fatalities.
Unfortunately, it took a number to subdue him because none of them could lawfully have a firearm. Ireland has pretty strict gun control laws. Yeah, those of us who grew up in the days of the Irish Republican Army might find that a bit surprising, of course, but it’s true.
Some might argue that the lack of guns is why there wasn’t any fatalities, but a similar attack in China would beg to differ. Even if the lack of a gun makes mass stabbings slightly less deadly, that doesn’t make them non-lethal by any stretch of the imagination.
And then we do have mass shooting all over the world, too. Even in nations with strict gun control.
The truth of the matter is that these mass stabbings illustrate a point I’ve been trying to make for years and that some people in the US seem pathologically incapable of understanding. That point is that even if you can take the guns out of the equation, you don’t make mass attacks disappear because you’ve been too focused on the tool, not the tool using it.
Mass stabbings can take lives just like any other mass attack. If one of those is someone you care about, you’re not going to get excited that at least they weren’t shot to death. I promise you, them being murdered with a knife will provide no solace at all.
What we need to do is start trying to understand why people do this. What mental disorder exists for them to decide to attack anyone, much less children, and try to kill as many of them as possible. There’s no rational reason for this, so let’s figure out how people concoct irrational reasons.
If we can manage that, we might be able to get people like this the help they need so that this never happens.