Conservative British lawmaker David Amess
A photograph of Conservative British lawmaker David Amess is seen amid floral tributes left at the scene of the fatal stabbing of Amess, at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, a district of Southend-on-Sea, in southeast England on October 16, 2021. Image Credit: AFP

Two deadly events this past week have united all right-thinking people into condemnation against those who seek to polarise our way of life and terrorise people into cowering in fear.

In the southeast of England, as a local Member of Parliament was meeting constituents in the type of everyday political and advice clinics that are part and parcel of the process of government, a terrorist intent on evil committed the most heinous of acts. Sir David Amess was killed doing what he loved, serving his constituents. The suspect is now in custody.

Just days before, in the quiet Norwegian community of Kongsberg, five people were killed and several more seriously hurt in a bow-and-arrow attack that is unparalleled in Scandinavia or indeed elsewhere. The suspect is being held in a high-security psychiatric ward rather than a prison amid concern over his mental health.

Security and police officials in both countries are treating the two separate and unrelated incidents as terrorist attacks. If there is a positive, it is that both alleged perpetrators are now in custody and are facing prosecutions for their heinous actions.

If there is a commonality between these two attacks, it is that both alleged perpetrators appear to have been targeted online and were groomed, lured into extremist ideologies to polarise and terrorise, spread fear and publicising whatever twisted ends they pursue.

There are few ways to combat those intent on spreading such evil — and the greatest protection we possess — is to be aware of such goals. Yes, security enhancements will be made, but for all right thinking people, who share the horror of these crimes, coming together and accepting our differences goes a long way in disarming these extremists.

The pandemic has shown us all that by helping, sharing and understanding each other, we can overcome the greatest of challenges to our physical and mental health. So too is the case with extremism. By understanding and being tolerant of each other, of our creeds, our colour, our communities, we can overcome these difficulties.

We cannot allow extremists and terrorists to divide us, spreading fear and polarisation.