Like much of Europe, Sweden is bracing for a tough winter with the specter of skyrocketing energy prices due to Russia cutting the gas supplies. An English-language Swedish newspaper, the Local Se, is reporting that some churches will be closed during the colder months or at least significantly lowering their thermostats. Three churches in Getinge-Oskarströms parish in Halland are closing, and 150 of the Lund diocese’s 540 churches will partially or fully close during the winter.
On a less serious note, the city of Malmö may drop the temperature of municipal swimming pools and saunas or shut them down this year. Some gym chains and housing associations have already made the decision to close saunas. In addition, around 200 municipalities have been asked by the government to find ways to lower their energy use.
On the face of it, Swedes will have to forego swimming, saunas, and church this winter. These are issues that when placed on the scale of things about which to be concerned, probably do not rate very high. But they are harbingers of an energy crisis for Sweden and the rest of Europe that has yet to fully manifest itself. By the time spring arrives, Swedes may be struggling with much more than cold churches and no saunas. However, energy, as vital as it is, might be one of the least of Sweden’s problems.
Swedish resident Paula Neuding, writing on Common Sense on Thursday, notes that bombings have become almost commonplace in the county. She notes that since 2018 there have been 500 bombings in the country, and 47 fatal shootings year-to-date. Keep in mind, this is Sweden we’re talking about. Neuding writes:
Among shooting suspects, 85 percent are first- or second-generation immigrants, according to the newspaper Dagens Nyheter, as immigrant neighborhoods have become hotbeds for gang crime. National Police Commissioner Anders Thornberg has described the violence as “an entirely different kind of brutality than we’ve seen before” and his deputy, Mats Löfving, says that 40 criminal clans now operate throughout the country. Spreading fear are “humiliation robberies,” targeting children and youth, in which victims are subjected to degrading treatment by assailants, such as being urinated upon. Just this week, four men were sentenced for robbing, beating and urinating on an 18-year-old, who was also filmed by his tormentors.
All of which is why, for the first time ever, crime emerged as a top priority among voters ahead of this past weekend’s general election. Swedes made their concerns plain on Sunday, when they awarded the country’s most strident anti-immigration party more than 20 percent of the vote.
The Sweden Democrats, or SD, is now the second-biggest party in parliament, and the biggest party of the right-wing bloc—gaining more votes than the more traditional center-right Moderate party. (It remains to be seen whether Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderates, can form a government with the support of SD, while sticking to his promise not to allow the party into the government coalition.)
Neuding explains that the underlying reason for the right-wing sweep is the denial by the government and the media that the country has been experiencing severe problems, despite the fact that citizens can see violence taking place around them and experience it happening to them. The government and media want to avoid accusations of racism. Neuding continues:
Because most bombings never make it to court––evidence is literally blown up, and a strong code of silence marks the Swedish gang scene––it has been difficult to tell the motives behind each attack. But when journalists reviewed legal verdicts in such cases between January 2018 and January 2020— 20 detonations involving 32 perpetrators—they found motives ranging from attempted murder, extortion, and revenge for infidelity. They also noted that not every single explosion is related to the gang scene, although most are.
The bombings have mainly been directed at objects—such as cars and buildings—rather than individuals, which explains why there haven’t been more deaths. Still, fatalities have included a 4-year-old girl who was killed in a car bombing in Gothenburg (2015); an 8-year-old boy who was asleep when a hand grenade was thrown into the apartment where he was staying in Gothenburg (2016); and a 63-year-old man who picked up a hand grenade lying in the street in a Stockholm suburb, thinking that it was a toy (2018). In 2019, a 23-year-old student in the university town of Lund suffered severe facial injuries when she happened to pass by a shop when a bomb exploded in a trash can outside. Her eyesight was reduced to 2 percent. She told the press in an interview that she still does not dare to walk by trash cans.
There are some places to which ice cream trucks and newspaper and postal delivery people cannot safely venture. But far beyond that, firefighters and ambulance crews will not go to those areas without a police escort. Those places are beyond unsafe.
So Sweden is struggling. But what about the U.S.? We have a president who has effectively quashed oil and gas development on federal lands. We have Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) throwing a tantrum at banks that will not stop funding fossil fuels in the name of ESG. We have Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) demanding that everyone in his state switch to electric cars and then telling people not to charge them. Newsom’s delusion has even extended to diesel trucks, which, according to him, are racist.
And then there is the crime. I know our knee-jerk trolls will accuse me of racism (see Sweden), but the fact is that not everyone who enters the U.S. illegally is yearning to breathe free. As any border sheriff worth his or her salt will tell you, mixed in among the huddled masses are cartel members, drug runners, human traffickers, and terrorists. But if you bring that up, you are a racist.
But let’s take the immigrants out of the equation. New York and L.A. in particular have been hit hard with the lax criminal laws and revolving-door justice. Portland is practically a third-world war zone at this point. Illinois residents are bracing for what is to come once cash bail is eliminated under the state’s SAFE-T Act.
And then there is Shannon Brandt, who as of this writing is still free on bail after admitting to running down an 18-year-old whom he thought was a Republican extremist. And despite Cleotha Abston’s violent criminal record, his mother is insisting he is a good person and is being railroaded in the death of Eliza Fletcher. Or there is the case of Justin Washington, who took a plea deal of 30 days in jail and five years probation from Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg when a rape charge was reduced to coercion. He went on to commit five more sex crimes just a month later. Consider Devin Clark, 18, and Lyric Woods, 14, who were shot dead this past weekend. Or pick any of the school shootings over the years.
We are at the mercy of a government that embraces lofty ideals at the expense of everyone, including the people it claims to champion.
Pay close to what is going on in Sweden. It may be coming to a country near you soon.