In addition to the threat of bombs, car, knife and other indiscriminate public attacks that American students and tourists face when they’re abroad, you can now add acid attacks. It’s only a matter of time before we see more of these types of attacks on U.S. soil, and it is time to contain that threat now.
Just yesterday four American women, all students at Boston College, were viciously assaulted by a reportedly deranged 41-year-old woman in an acid attack at a train station in Marseille, France. The young victims were hospitalized and treated for burns and shock. Authorities say terrorism is not suspected.
This heinous practice — with a history in both terrorism and non-terror-related attacks — appears to be spreading.
In London alone, acid attacks inflicted upon both sexes have surged in the past three years. There were 186 acid attacks between April 2014 and March 2015, which grew to 397 between 2016-2017 according to reports. Since 2010 there’s been at least 1,800 reports of attacks using corrosive substances in the U.K. capital. Add to it three attacks in Berlin so far this year, another assault to a female model in Italy and a brutal case involving the gang rape of a woman in India.
Anyone can easily buy corrosive chemicals over the counter at any hardware store — much more easily than acquiring guns. Now some victims are calling for acids to be regulated. A change.org petition created in the U.K. has already received over of 529,000 signatures. It says:
“On June 21st (2017) Resham Khan (a 21 year old woman) was driving in a car with her cousin. Out of nowhere they were attacked with acid. They’ll both have scars that will never leave them. Their lives have been changed forever. An attack like this could happen to anyone. It is about time that the law changes for the purchase of corrosive substances — right now you can buy it easily from any hardware store if you are 18 and over. Corrosive acids like sulphuric acid are very lethal and life damaging substances. You should only be allowed to purchase corrosive substances with a license to buy. The person purchasing should go through checks so their details are held on a database or hold a license.”
As a matter of homeland security, Congress would be wise to get ahead of this growing threat and look at instituting deterrent measures and controls here.
Until then, all Americans must continue to be aware of their surroundings at all times, here and abroad.