There was a terrorist attack in Melbourne on Friday. I believe it's the fifth, publicly speaking, but I gather there's also a sixth one that's sub judice. An excitable fellow blew up his Holden Rodeo ute (that's "SUV" in American) on busy, crowded Bourke Street, a couple of blocks from Victoria's parliament. It unfortunately didn't cause quite the mass slaughter he'd been looking forward to when he loaded it up with gas bottles. So he staggered from the flaming vehicle, and a pedestrian, assuming the car detonation had been an accident, went to the driver's aid. And thus two migrants to the Lucky Country briefly came face to face:
'Melbourne is mourning one of the founders of the city's famous coffee culture after the murder of Sisto Malaspina in Bourke Street's terror attack yesterday...
'It is believed Mr Malaspina had gone to the aid of the attacker after his car blew up.'
And as Tim Blair adds:
Of course he did. And of course the jihadi stabbed him to death for it.
Of course. Because, as London's mayor Sadiq Khan, has assured us, this is just part and parcel of what it means to live in a big vibrant metropolis in the early twenty-first century. On the one hand, you get a hardworking gregarious immigrant who creates an iconic coffee bar that becomes part of the fabric of city life - and, on the other, you get a different type of immigrant who kills the first guy. Tim Blair again:
Sisto Malaspina arrived in Australia from Italy, and for more than 40 years ran Melbourne's wonderful Pellegrini's restaurant. Hassan Khalif Shire Ali arrived from Somalia, and did rather less with his life.
Pellegrini's had the first espresso machine in Melbourne, and my recollection is that Mr Malaspina's staff know how to use it to far greater effect than, say, the lads at Starbucks do theirs. By contrast, Hassan Khalif Sire Ali's talents lay elsewhere: He was linked via "social media" to his "fellow Australian" and serial decapitator Khaled Sharrouf. He had his passport canceled when he attempted to leave the country to fight for Isis in 2015. Because the Australian Government's policy is to keep all the jihadists at home so the only infidels they can kill are the locals.
Many Aussie readers have written to me about Friday's events and, "of course", the dishonesty and evasions of the media. The fact that Sisto Malaspina was the proprietor of a Melbourne institution has enabled the press to talk about how beloved he was and how his granddaughter had been born just six days earlier - instead of how he didn't deserve to die, and his week-old granddaughter doesn't deserve to grow up without a grandfather, and her parents don't deserve to have the joy of her birth tainted and bloodied by his murder, because of lunatic government policies that insist everybody on the planet is entirely the same and that to attempt to distinguish between any of the seven billion potential immigrants to your country is totally racist.
Tim headlined his column "A Tale of Two Migrants", but in a way the Dickensian original would have done: A Tale of Two Cities, inhabiting the same geographic space in the way big American burgs overlay new area codes atop old area codes. But, despite sharing the same physical space, the inhabitants of these two worlds have entirely different assumptions about how the city should be. Sooner or later, as has happened in parts of France and Belgium and Sweden and elsewhere, the new city starts to swallow the old. They have coffee houses in Molenbeek and Rosengård and parts of Toulouse, but, unlike in Pellegrini's, I can't say I felt welcome in them.
Mr Malaspina's life in Australia was an immigrant's dream that ended in nightmare - because of the choices the west's political class has made, and which the citizenry has gone along with, mostly because, whether you vote left or right, nothing ever seems to change on that front.
Yet it is well past time for things to change - because there is really no secret about how things will go if public policy remains the same. That is an uncomfortable thought, but a necessary one, no matter the consolations we seek. In the too long vital minutes before police eventually took down Mr Ali, leading plucky Victorians attempted to disable him with trolleys (that's "shopping cart" in American) and chairs. But small consolations do not, in the end, mitigate what happened to Sisto Malaspina. At the scene of his death, some nitwit has left a placard bearing the words:
LOVE LIVES FOREVER, TRIUMPHS OVER HATE
That's not actually true. You could ask a Christian in Mosul, if there were any left after Mr Aly's Isis chums took over. But keep taking refuge in fatuous bromides that absolve one of the need to muster the will to do anything more - like reining in immigration and refugee policies that have no rational basis.
~I spent Saturday in San Francisco at a gala fundraiser for the Pacific Research Institute and in the splendid company of Sally Pipes, Victor Davis Hanson and Steven Hayward. You can read an unnervingly detailed account of the night over at the Bookworm Room. Dan Oliver introducing me recalled that, a few years back, he'd heard me sing "Hey, Big Spender!" at some occasion or other, and I was super-impressed that Alex Donner's band immediately launched into an impromptu version thereof as my walk-on music. (Victor got "This Could Be the Start of Something Big", as opposed to outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan, who would have been played on to "This Could Be the End of Something Small".)
~If you disagree with any of the above and you're a member of The Mark Steyn Club, feel free to have at it in the comments. But please don't simply post links. A link is not a comment: we're interested in your views of the passing scene, not some other fellow's. We try to police comments with a light touch here, but every so often we have to remind you of our policy - and we're strict about links for a multiplicity of reasons: For example, some are simply copyright theft - as when someone sticks an entire Rush Limbaugh show on YouTube (a company which has parlayed industrial-scale copyright theft into a planet-wide kleptocracy). Likewise, please don't post huge blocks of text by persons other than yourself: in recent days, a couple of commenters have cut-and-pasted complete poems by living or recently deceased authors: however well-intentioned, that too is theft of another man's work, for which we as the publishers would be liable. I appreciate that members are not always aware of such complicating factors, or of my intense loathing of the Internet's wholesale assault on intellectual property rights, but that's why I regard things like links as the host's prerogative. We're very proud of the high standard of our comments section, which I regard as one of the very best anywhere in the world. And what keeps it at that high standard is your opinions, your insights and your arguments, not URLs or copyright infringement of third parties.
~We had a busy weekend at SteynOnline starting with the Return of the Florida Recount, which in turn prompted a movie column about Chads of the silver screen. Our marquee presentation was a brand new Tale for Our Time, Baroness Orczy's thrilling adventure set during the French Revolution's Reign of Terror - The Scarlet Pimpernel: Click for Part One, Part Two and Part Three. And the weekend concluded with the centenary of that eleventh hour when the guns fell silent on the Western Front: I looked back at the war that made the world we live in, and also offered the only Sunday Poem we could have picked for this occasion. And I also picked out some songs of love and war. If you were too busy dimpling chads in a Democrat county canvassing office all weekend, I hope you'll want to catch up with one or two of the foregoing as a new week begins.
Tales for Our Time and Steyn's Sunday Poem are made possible through the support of Mark Steyn Club members, for which we're profoundly grateful - and we'd love to have you on board if you're so inclined.
If you prefer live stage performance, the legendary Dennis Miller and the not so legendary me will be together for the first time in a mini-tour of Pennsylvania and western New York. You can pre-book tickets for Reading, Syracuse, Wilkes-Barre and Rochester - and at all four shows there's a special opportunity to meet Dennis and me after the show.
Catch you on the telly tonight with Tucker live across America at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific, and, for Mark Steyn Club members, just before that for Part Four of The Scarlet Pimpernel. For more information on The Mark Steyn Club, see here - and don't forget our special Gift Membership.