The Belgian grenade attack which killed five people and injured 122 has sent shockwaves through the country. However, Glyn Ford, a former Member of the European Parliament, stresses that individual motives are the key to understanding such attacks.
After Nordine Amrani, who also died in the attack, went on a rampage in a central square in the city of Liege on Tuesday, there has been much speculation as to what led him to throw three hand grenades toward a bus shelter and opening fire on the crowd.
Speaking with RT, Glyn Ford said that despite earlier reports, this was not a repeat of the July 22 Norwegian massacre that left 77 dead.
"Well, we don't know, but it would appear that it was an individual incident. Earlier reports that there were three or four gunmen involved have since been discredited and it equally appears that he wasn't targeting anybody in particular… so in a sense it's not a replica of what happened in Norway."
Ford was also quick to counter any allegations that Amrani’s attack was religiously motivated.
"Earlier reaction in many senses seems to be rather racist. He was not being identified as a Belgium when he was a Belgian citizen. Because of his Moroccan origins, people are talking about killing the Muslims; it’s all the fault of the Muslims, and the new socialist government that’s been in office now for nearly a week is being blamed for being soft on immigrants and not reacting hard enough.”
It was also reported that a rightwing extremist had gone on a shooting spree in Florence, Italy, killing two African traders and wounding three others before taking his own life. While Ford recognizes that these tragic events in Europe are a cause for concern, he argues that the European Union has done a much better job of curbing such violent crimes than the United States.
"In a sense, the European track record is far better than that in the United States. The United States has these kinds of rampage attacks happening fairly regularly in schools and elsewhere. I think it’s the rather tougher gun laws that we actually have in the European Union that's kept it down to the low level that it is, because essentially Europeans are no different than American. It's the lack of weapons that's kept this under control to a degree."
Ultimately, Ford says that when confronted with such events, it is better to investigate individual motives rather than jump to any immediate conclusions.
"They should take the right reactions and not overreact, as far as we can tell at the moment, there is no evidence [of a racial motive] from the assassin’s side. It should be treated as if you want to treat the individual gun crime rather than blaming a community."