"But how can you live and have no story to tell?" Fyodor Dostoevsky
"What is done to screen the hundreds of young men who illegally cross the Channel each week?"
On Sunday, as reports of the Liverpool bomb attack started to emerge, immediately the speculation began. A good many people played the game; let's guess the culprit's name.
The blast's date, timing, and the location at a women's hospital all factored into the process.
Soon, we learned the original target was likely the nearby Remembrance Day service in Liverpool. Bingo. Nobody was opting for a suspect called John Smith.
Of course, every time this happens, there is silence as heads disappear into the sand with officials and a complicit media warning against jumping to conclusions. Yet, a weary British public soon made up their minds, and no amount of spin will change that.
Then you can almost feel the relief in certain quarters that the terrorist was a "Christian convert". We soon heard that the culprit's application for asylum was rejected in 2014, although he remained in the UK despite a history of threatening behaviour.
Clinging to these morsels of comfort, the Guardianista types can now work to shape the narrative. Throw in the "lone-wolf" label, mental health issues, and they've got it covered. They can now chalk up the attack to a disgruntled unstable Christian suicide bomber.
The BBC, CNN, Sky, Channel 4, and the print media repeatedly reported that he'd converted to Christianity to reinforce the point.
Except did the culprit convert, or was he practising Taqiyya? I'd never heard of this concept until a Muslim friend pointed it out. This process involves concealing your faith and foregoing prayers to deceive non-Muslims. But, we may never know the truth because the bloke has died.
Adding to the confusion are media reports asserting that the Church of England is converting hundreds of refugees to Christianity to game the asylum system. Once converted, a person can claim they'd face persecution if returned to their home country. In effect, such conversions stall deportations.
By a happy coincidence, Cherie Blair made millions from Legal Aid defending those with no right to be in the UK after her husband introduced the Human Rights Act that facilitated endless appeals. The process pretty much guarantees an illegal gets to stay once they're in the country.
Meanwhile, from the footage, I deduce that the bomb didn't fully detonate, or only the fuze functioned. The fire suggests an ammonia nitrate type explosive typical of homemade bombs. In addition, evidence is emerging that the bomb was packed with ball bearing to cause maximum injuries. So, the alertness and actions of taxi driver David Perry averted a massacre.
The primary task of every government is the protection of its citizens. In this regard, the British security services have made it known they are tracking thousands of Islamic militants. That's an impossible undertaking.
While the comparison is not entirely justified, consider that the IRA at its height had around 10,000 members but only 1,000 plus active in terrorism. Yet, despite the focus of RUC, the considerable resources of the British Army and the security services, they couldn't keep track.
Likewise, the vast majority of Catholics had no involvement with the IRA terrorists. And the same can be said of the Muslim community.
For the record, there are 3.2 million Muslims in Britain, accounting for 5.8% of the population. Keeping track of people against that background is near impossible.
Moreover, savvy terrorists know to go offline, cut contacts with their community and adopt behaviours that don't raise suspicion.
Some argue that 'Prevent', a component of the UK's 'Contest' counter-terrorist programme, is not working. There is a body of evidence from academic studies that the Muslim community believe 'Prevent' to be a general intelligence gathering exercise and don't trust the initiative.
Moreover, Ali Harbi Ali, the killer of MP Sir David Amess, went through the 'Prevent' programme. Yet, it didn't stop him from plunging a knife into Amess 17 times.
Nonetheless, the security services can claim some success, having stopped 31 late-stage plots in the last four years.
Still, all this begs the question, what is done to screen the hundreds of young men who illegally cross the Channel each week? In some instances, the Royal National Life Boat Institute - which is a charity - are ferrying these people into Britain.
And once ashore, it's proving near impossible to remove them because they discard any identity documents and then engage in years of wrangling with the authorities.
So even if their application for refugees status is refused, they'll often remain and enter the underground economy. Others may harbour resentments that boil over.
The drivers of this violent extremism are multifaceted, complex and evolving. And yet, stretched local authorities must deal with the front-line operational challenges of direct community engagement under the 'Prevent' initiative. But, unfortunately, the cruel truth is most are underfunded and ill-equipped to do the job.
Further, as seen with the Asian grooming gangs saga, they are often reluctant to engage and tackle specific communities for fear of the racist label.
Research shows there is no single route to terrorism. In some instances, the perpetrators respond to perceived injustices committed by UK forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. A few cite the immorality of the West. What is clear is that most of the culprits are young men.
And thus, the arduous job of curtailing terrorism in the UK is facing a heady mix of home-grown radicalisation and possible imported proto-terrorists.
At the very least, Britain needs to restore control of its border. Until that happens, nothing will change.
Walter De Havilland was one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Royal Hong Kong Police and Hong Kong Police Force. He's long retired.