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Terrorist in Halle: We have to talk about the culprit


Should we talk less about the assassin, not to give him the attention he seeks? Sounds obvious, but it can also be dangerous.


It has not worked again. The wishes of many people on Twitter and Facebook but were really clear: Media should not bother to call the name of the assassin of Halle, not quote his messages, show no picture of him and certainly not publish any material from the video from his helmet camera. But although most of the media were in agreement at least on the last point, it's all about the culprit again.

His age is well-known, his name is well-known, his origin is well-known, his motive is well-known - and even without having to resort to his own helmet camera, there are pictures of him shooting on the street. Because not only terrorists today can effortlessly film their deeds, but also every eyewitness. The pictures from the witness video can also be seen here at SPIEGEL.

This is tricky, because it can be assumed that the offender wanted to be explicitly associated with his act. He wanted publicity, otherwise he would not have broadcasted his actions live on the net. And it is problematic that he now gets a much larger public, because worldwide media report about him. So far, I've always harshly criticized this, even in our editorial conferences.

Murderers who consider themselves heroes

But it does not matter who the culprit is. Although he may be insignificant as a person, so can argue about the naming of his name, for the SPIEGEL has now decided. But it is not about any disturbed individual perpetrator, but the representative of a very specific type of perpetrator - and is, in contrast to the assassin itself, by no means meaningless. Ultimately, it does not interest who this guy is, but how it could have come to such a guy.

Such terrorist attacks are not singular phenomena, not independent events, certainly not "exciting news" or even "stories". They are the result of a system that makes perpetrators like this possible. A system that can turn even meaningless men into killers who consider themselves heroes.

Right-wing terrorism is not a tiresome social fringe, but an acute problem. If we want to finally master him, we must now look carefully: How does such a culprit? What does such a culprit do? Where do you meet such a culprit in the net? And not - that's perhaps the big misunderstanding - to find out "what kind of person" that is (spoiler: probably not a nice one). But to recognize larger relationships.

Otherwise, the culprit would simply be some kind of spinner - and there are, of course, spinners everywhere. One can only stand in front of it without understanding, nothing can be done against it. Against this type of offender but you can probably do something - if you know him.

To learn something about him, can also help the video, which has made the offender himself. A film in his direction, in which he speaks himself, in which he selects the music, and in which he holds good at red at the traffic light, before he drives over a crossroads to shoot people. In the public, such a video does not belong anyway. Not only because it would fuel the perpetrator cult - this might not be worth the less heroic video footage from Halle. But because in the video people die. The victims should be protected under all circumstances, for them we should be careful and mindful of journalists.

In the Internet age, no perpetrator can be hushed up

But we have to analyze the culprit mercilessly. We must understand him, disclose and flaunt the system from which he comes. Only in this way is there an awareness that behind a racist, anti-Semitic attack on a single "Anon" probably less hides a lone wolf - but an international, well networked pack.

It may be that the offender is now happy about his sudden dubious celebrity. It is even possible that the media attention in recent attacks has animated the man in Halle, even to grab weapons and camera. But in the Internet age, no perpetrator can be hushed up; whom to reach a message, they will reach. If in doubt, only the masses, peaceful and not radical, would get less.

As many people as possible should realize that this is clearly and undeniably terror - and not just some randomly confused young man. And that we are dealing here neither with a gripping news story nor with an "alarm".

The thing is real. The thing is serious. It costs people the life. That would have to be enough to get to the bottom of it.

Source: spiegel

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