A wave of car torchings that started in Berlin a couple of years ago and spilled over to Hamburg hit close to home over the weekend. This burned out lump of charred Mercedes was sitting just around the corner from our place when I came across it this past Sunday afternoon.
There have been well over 300 car burnings in Hamburg so far this year. It’s even worse in Berlin, where more than 500 have gone up in flames. Police are powerless to do anything about it because it’s completely random who’s doing it and for what reason. Putting an extra 200 Hamburg police on night patrols didn’t work out, so now they’ve scaled them back to 20, with just as much effect.
Some say there’s a political motivation behind the attacks, that it’s the marginalised of society roving around getting their kicks watching fat-cat Mercedes, BMWs and Porsches reduced to scrap. But there’s no pattern to the burnings or their timing, and there are never any notes left behind. A couple of yahoos here and there have been charged and thrown in jail, but it just keeps on happening.
We always thought we were living a decent life in a safe and modern country. But having once again been the victims of theft and adding up everything that’s going wrong right in our midst, sometimes we get the feeling we’re living in some besieged Middle Ages village, its citizens left to fend for themselves and wondering when the next attack will hit.