Donald Trump recently made headlines again when, at a campaign-style rally in Florida, he justified the travel ban and a crackdown on immigration by citing a recent terror attack in Sweden:
“We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what’s happening in Brussels. You look at what’s happening all over the world. Take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris.”
The statement came as something of a shock to the rest of the world. In fact, very few people even knew about a terror attack in Sweden occurring at all—a fact echoed by media reports and major news outlets.
In an era of fake news stories and biased information, how did this escape our notice? Are we, as a people, so ill-informed that we remain oblivious to violent attacks on our own societies and those of our allies?
This raises troubling questions about the state of journalism when something this large goes completely unnoticed. Experts claim that, if the facts pan out, this may be the most significant terror attack since the infamous Bowling Green massacre, recently pointed out by Kellyanne Conway on the MSNBC news program Hardball With Chris Matthews.
It is important to note that, unlike other major terror attacks in recent memory, nobody seems to be saying much about the attacks in Sweden. Why is this? I recall numerous other violent attacks that received much wider coverage in the media. Yet on Sweden, the facts and circumstances of the incident are largely absent.
Even on social media, the typical place where people gather to yell at each other about current events, nobody seems to be discussing the incident in Sweden. I have yet to see anyone with one of those transparent profile-picture filters of the Swedish flag as a gesture of solidarity and support.
Is this what our nation has come to? Are we so afraid to stand up with our allies in a mutual display of strength and support after a devastating act of violence?
Sweden has given the world so, so much: fine chocolates, secure banking institutions, world-class timepieces—wristwatches in particular—that have set the world standard and a burgeoning death metal scene esteemed all over the globe.
And the Swedes have had their fair share of social problems as well: Their country has been ravaged by free health care, high rates of literacy and one of the lowest rates of income inequality in the developed world.
This recent attack is only the latest in a series of misfortunes befalling the Swedish people, and now, more than ever, they need our support. It only seems fair that we, as Americans, stand with Sweden during these dark days when violence runs amok in society.
Sweden stood with the United States in the days following the Bowling Green massacre—and so, too, should we, as a community—stand with Sweden.