Beppe_GrilloThursday 2nd May 2013 - by Kyl Chhatwaal

Two policemen were shot and seriously wounded, and a pregnant woman suffered minor injuries, when a gunman allegedly working alone opened fire outside of the Prime Minister’s office in Rome on Sunday, trying to get closer to the politicians who were his real target.

Mr. Luigi Preiti, a 49-year-old man from Calabria, committed his desperate act of violent protest on the very day that a new Italian government was being sworn in, following three months of political paralysis in Italy.

As this post is being written—the day of the shooting itself—there are only a few known details concerning Mr. Priete. He has confessed to everything, has no previous criminal record, and in the words of investigators, “does not seem to be deranged.” He has no history of mental illness. His friends and family are shocked that he could be capable of such a violent crime. He is separated from his wife, with whom he has a son, and can’t find a job, thanks, partly, to the stagnant Italian economy and the austerity imposed on it by Brussels. Preiti had intended to commit suicide after the attack, but according to reports by the New York Times, he “ran out of bullets” before he could take his own life.

What is perhaps most alarming about Sunday’s shooting is that Mr. Preiti is not deranged, nor under the influence of some extremist group or ideal. For all intents and purposes, he is the Italian Everyman: down on his luck, ashamed of his unemployed status, and feeling powerless under a dysfunctional political system.

There is anger in Italy—an anger whose power and immediacy was proven during last February’s election by the success of Beppe Grillo’s anti-establishment political party, M5S. Grillo is an entertainer and political satirist who made a career of mocking and taunting politicians. In becoming a politician himself, however, he has shown that the anger behind his humour is not only to be laughed at.

In an interview with the BBC (which took place before Sunday’s shooting) Mr. Grillo was up front and philosophical about what this anger means to Italy, and how he believes it can be a force for positive change.

“It is anger without hope that creates violence,” he argues, “but anger with hope is a different thing.”

“We (the M5S Party) are containing this rage. It is a democratic rage that is needed to go forward. You’ll see, you’ll see…” he says to the BBC reporter, like a man who thinks he sees the future.

For the full interview with Beppe Grillo, follow this link to the BBC website: