Must Sweden rethink its policy of openness?
Thousands of people demonstrated to show solidarity with the victims of Friday's truck attack on Sunday in Stockholm. The police are searching for accomplices of the suspect - an Uzbek asylum seeker who had evaded attempts to deport him. Sweden needs tighter security measures, some media outlets demand. For others, the limited scale of the attack is proof of how successful counterterrorism measures already are.
Large-scale violence hardly possible nowadays
The fact that terrorists are having to resort to using cars as weapons shows that on the whole the security services are doing a good job, The Independent writes:
“We should fight the forces of fear by taking some comfort from what we know. ... Those wishing to harm us have been reduced to the most opportunistic and low-tech of techniques. The Stockholm attacker hijacked a truck owned by a Swedish brewing company, as its driver made a delivery and neither he, nor Westminster’s attacker, seem to have been able to get hold of a gun. That in itself should remind us that most of the time, law-enforcement and the security services are doing a remarkable job. The impediments we have in place to large scale violence are working.”
A major challenge for multicultural society
The attack could change the Swedes' mentality, Wirtualna Polsk believes:
“The attack in Stockholm is particularly interesting because it puts Sweden's very open attitude towards integration and the multicultural society to the test. The Swedes are slowly but surely starting to examine the causes of the violence. They have set up a committee of experts that will present a final report of its investigations. Then they'll start looking for a long-term solution to the problems. ... Parliamentary elections are approaching in the country [in 2018], and a growing number of people are convinced that it must adapt to the very real threats of the 21st century. The attack in Stockholm may have accelerated this trend. Now the regulations could be tightened and the authorities could be given new instruments for law enforcement.”
Defy terrorism with calm response
The best way to react to the truck attack is with a combination of openness and defence measures, Helsingin Sanomat comments:
“The open society's reaction to terrorist attacks may appear toothless. But it's difficult to identify a lone wolf or a small group of individuals before they strike. In the fight against terrorism it's crucial to show that the attacks have not shaken society to the core. ... The more unanimously we defy the goals of attacks, the less room there will be for radical ideas. Nevertheless we will also need the means to catch those responsible for the attacks. The open society has every right to defend itself.”
Sweden must do more to protect itself
Words of appeasement are out of place, Göteborgs-Posten writes, arguing that the top priority is to thoroughly revise the security situation in Sweden:
“First of all one may well ask why it was so easy to drive into the country's most frequented boulevard, which was already [in 2010] the scene of a terrorist attack. ... Membership of a terrorist organisation is still not a punishable offence in Sweden. ... Interior Minister Anders Ygeman's announcement that tougher laws will be introduced is welcome. At the same time it is lamentable that this is only being done now. ... Moreover we must look into whether public places need more surveillance. ... We need strong measures against potentially violent extremist forces. It's not a question of giving in to fear or letting the terrorists win. Rather we must make sure that instead of just repeating the mantra 'live normally', we can really continue to do so.”