Terror in Europe

Terrorism's New Normal

The reaction to the Manchester bombing was muted, even in Britain.

FOLLOWING the Westminster attack, we examined the evolving reaction across the continent to increasingly (and hauntingly) frequent terrorist incidents in Europe. Using the same methodology, we find that while the reaction to Monday's bombing in Manchester was muted across Western Europe, the difference in reaction between the UK and its neighbors was the largest we've seen yet following a major terror attack. 

Unsurprisingly, the terrorism subsector signal for the UK showed the largest jump in activity following the bombing, though not to as high of a level as following March's attack on Westminster Bridge in London. Terror-related conversations also saw sustained increases in activity in Germany, Italy, and, to a lesser extent, Spain. Belgium, the Netherlands, and France showed little movement. 

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As a comparative metric, we examined the week-over-week change in the terrorism subsector signal in the countries listed above on the day following a handful of terrorist attacks over the past three years. Back in March, we observed that since the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, there has been a steady decline in the number of countries that saw at least a doubling in terror-related conversational volatility following attacks. The reaction to Monday's bombing in Manchester more than confirms this trend. 

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In March we argued that we may have reached a new normal when it comes to terrorism in Europe. Predata's signals affirm that following the Manchester bombing, the numbing of popular sentiment to terrorism throughout Europe has deepened. Even an attack that targeted young girls and their families enjoying a concert failed to overcome the forces that have normalized the recent wave of terror in Western Europe. ⏪

Eric Falcon is a Predata analyst. Contact: eric@predata.com.