Death in Palagonia
An elderly couple have been murdered in their home in Palagonia, a town of 16,500 people near Catania. The police have arrested an 18-year-old suspect, who was caught with the victims' phone, computer and bloody trousers on his person. He says he found them under a tree. The crime was probably gruesome enough to have made headlines for its sensation value alone: both corpses were naked; the woman was thrown from a balcony. There were no signs of forced entry on the doors or windows of their apartment. But it's still in the news because the suspect, an Ivorian national, arrived in Sicily by boat on 8 June.
The victims' daughter has said that Matteo Renzi, the prime minister, 'should come and give me an explanation, I don't know what to make of his excuses, my parents are dead, and it's also the fault of the state'. The leader of the xenophobic Northern League, Matteo Salvini, never shy of an anecdotal fallacy or making political capital out of personal misery, said: 'It isn't "also" the fault of the state; it is "only" the fault of the state.' He went on:
What war was this guy escaping from? If he's guilty, he should be given life imprisonment with forced labour. And the immigration centre where he was staying, a 100-million-euro hostel for illegals, should be closed immediately. I will go straight back to Sicily; the invasion must be stopped at any cost.
As if it weren't already illogical enough, Salvini's line of non-reasoning isn't even consistently applied, though the targets and exemptions are dismayingly predictable. When a car with three young Roma men in it killed a woman and injured eight other people in Rome in May, Salvini called for bulldozers to raze the Roma 'camps' in the city. (To put the incident in statistical perspective: in 2013 there were 181,227 road accidents in Italy resulting in death or injury, with 3385 people killed and 257,421 hurt.) But when Amanda Knox was accused of murdering Meredith Kercher, no one suggested that the Università per Stranieri in Perugia should be closed down, or that American students should be prevented from coming to Italy.