Thursday, April 26, 2018

Aspirational Terrorism

"When carrying out violent attacks, terrorists, especially those in the West, are increasingly adopting low-sophistication, low-resource means of committing high-impact violent acts."
"This is evident in the repeated use of vehicles and knives in terrorist attacks, particularly in Europe."
2017 Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada, Public Safety Canada

"It is low-cost, low-tech, terrorizing and almost impossible to defend against."
"The broader truth is that the use of vehicular attacks by terrorists has spawned not only copy-cat attacks by other terrorists and those inspired by terrorist causes, but copy-cat attacks by individuals driven by other motivations and causes outside of terrorism."
It is a terrible cycle of violence." 
"But they [risk-mitigation measures] can only be deployed in limited spaces so long as urban environments continue to feature a lot of vehicular traffic. Maybe the city of the future will be different, but we are a long way from that."
"And mitigation measures can be a double-edged sword, as they can simply divert a determined attacker from one site to another."
Wesley Wark, national security expert, University of Ottawa
Police are seen near a damaged van believed to be the vehicle that crashed into a number of pedestrians on busy Yonge Street in the north of the city/ (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Canadian Press)

"Such responses should aim to be proportionate to the risk faced and seek to avoid a fortress or barrier mentality in public spaces."
"How our public places are designed tells us a lot about the type of society we are and the one we wish to live in."
"Experiences from around the world, from cities which have responded to malicious vehicle attacks by the embedding of swaths of security bollards into the landscape and the deployment of armed security guards, indicates that sometimes our responses to attack can be more effective at instilling a sense of fear into the public and undermine the freedom of movement that is the lifeblood of cities."
Jon Coaffee, professor of urban geography, University of Warwick, director, Resilient Cities Lab

The vehicular homicide attack that hit North Toronto deliberately killing ten people on a busy thoroughfare blighted the city's sense of confidence and peacefulness on a lovely, sunny spring day. The fourteen people who were gravely injured by the blunt force trauma of an impact between a soft target and the rigid, powerful frame of a van driven at high speed onto sidewalks to target innocent people will live to recall that day when they were in the wrong place at the right time.

The city, still reeling from the blunt force trauma of having their belief in themselves as a population of varied individuals, all living in harmony and security, will come to terms with the new reality that what happens elsewhere in the world to wrench ordinary people out of their relationship with a life taken for granted has not bypassed them. When Israel began experiencing knife-and-vehicle attacks and warned the world that it was the canary-in-the-mine, it was hard to believe.

But Europe now knows of a certainty that this new, low-tech, readily-accessible weapon of mass destruction has travelled and installed itself to disrupt the serenity of everyday life when with no warning a bolt of energy can strike with ferocious results, killing people instantly on contact, and wounding many others, leaving them maimed in spirit and body. If the attack that took place in Toronto on Monday afternoon resulted from a warped mind, is it any less a terrorist attack?
"We had family members in our family-information room who didn't know if their loved one was alive in our ICU, or dead at the scene. It was extremely difficult to deal with that -- the uncertainty the anxiety, the lack of information ... The problem is we couldn't give them the answer, because we didn't know. That was a unique situation."
"It was the whole spectrum of injuries: head injuries, internal bleeding, spine injuries, extremity bone fractures, punctured lungs."
"I would say that panic is not anything that can happen, because if you [as health professionals] panic or get too agitated, things just don't go so well. Obviously, it's difficult to see families in so much pain, because their loved ones are so badly injured. But at the time, you just focus on the task at hand."
Dr. Fred Brenneman, trauma surgeon, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto region main trauma centre
A coroner waits to remove a dead body from the sidewalk at the scene of the fatal van attack Monday. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Canadian Press)

All of this grief and pain the psychotic result of a 25-year-old loner, Alek Minassian, a resident of Richmond Hill just north of Toronto. A man whose socially awkward personality left him devoid of friends. A man with so peculiar a sociopathic personality that he could find no woman to share his life with. A man who admitted he had a fear of women. A man who resented women, and who was part of an online club of men angry that women failed to recognize their value and shunned them for some strange reason.

None stranger, perhaps, than that when news of the gruesome atrocity committed by one of their group reached the ears and eyes of others sharing this man's misogynistic pathology, they cheered his exploit on behalf of their 'cause', taking pleasure in the fact that their emissary had succeeded in killing ten people, mostly women, and severely injuring another fourteen.
"Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161."
"The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys!"
"All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!"
Mass murderer, Alek Minassian

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