Thursday, July 08, 2004

green shoots

well, it seems to be assassination day here at Blood & Treasure. From the LRB, Perry Anderson assesses what's probably going to be the next major international crisis. As an aside, he takes a look at a possible unintended consequence of liberalization of the gambling laws. Concerning the attempted assassination of Taiwan Presdient Chen Shui-ban:

For those in search of a more plausible explanation, the most popular scenario - widely bruited in Taiwan - points at the island's powerful gambling syndicates, which stood to lose huge sums of money if the Blue camp, on which all bets had been placed, won. They could well have calculated that winging Chen was the best way of unleashing a sympathy vote for the Green cause that would yield them an avalanche of cash in lost wagers. But how could they be sure that a bullet would not - counter-productively - actually kill him? A clue may lie in the embarrassed admission of Chen's security detail that, supposedly because it was a hot day, he was not wearing a bullet-proof vest, standard issue for a presidential incumbent on the campaign trail. An odd feature of the shooting was that aim was taken through the windscreen of an open vehicle, where a bullet was most likely to be deflected, and not at the candidate's head or upper body, which were clear of obstruction, unprotected above it. If a gang had assumed that Chen would be wearing an armoured vest, then a bullet slung low through the windscreen should have struck where it could cause a sensation without inflicting any real injury.