Unimaginable19 Nov 2011
Lately I've gotten back to one of my favorite pleasures reading mystery novels. When we moved to Germany we shipped several boxes full of used paperbacks. These days with a Kindle, collecting novels is much easier. In case you're wondering, I've got Raymond Chandler complete ready to re-read, and lately re-read Blue City, an early Ross MacDonald. Right now I'm reading the delightful books by Colin Cotterill featuring Dr. Siri, the reluctant elderly coroner in post-war Laos (think CSI-Vientiane).
It's a love my wife and I both share (and judging form how he likes CSI-type shows, our son will as well). There's something about the combination of the extreme and banal, the murder and the police work, that a good author can use to make astute observations about society.
Right now in Germany a real-life criminal case is giving ample opportunity for astute observations. A band of 3 neo-Nazis went underground 13 years ago and committed at least 14 bank robberies, 10 murders and 2 nailbombings. The facts have come out not through brilliant police work, but purely by chance. The last bank robbery 2 weeks ago was botched and 2 of the gang members shots themselves rather than be captured. The third tried to burn their apartment but turned herself in a couple of days later. You can read about it at the Guardian or the NY Times, or follow the sensationalist coverage at Spiegel Online International.
This is particularly interesting because 1) the murders of foreign-born shopkeepers and the policewoman as well as the nailbombing in Cologne were high-profile crimes widely reported in the German media, and 2) German police and domestic intelligence have been particularly successful in infiltrating and stopping Islamist terror cells. Is German law enforcement blind to the right eye?
I'll let others answer that. I wouldn't necessarily call a conspiracy what could be sufficiently explained by incompetence. Noone is more paranoid of Germans being latent Nazis than Germans themselves. But if you read Bruce Schneier, you'll know he thinks security forces concentrate too much on acts that have already occurred. They couldn't imagine terrorists that don't take credit for their acts, so they didn't consider the possibility.
Hopefully the result of all the political calls for action will be that right-wing violence in Germany will finally be taken somewhat seriously.