April 1, 2016: Shooting at tea shop in southern Thailand

On April 1, 2016 Islamist extremists shot three people in a tea room in southern Thailand, killing two and seriously wounding the third.

YALA, THAILAND – In a better world there would be a tacit agreement to not target some areas for acts of violence.

I have a confession to make. I do NOT drink coffee. I know this makes me a bit of an oddball in Canada. Coffee culture is ubiquitous and it seems (at least to me) that an awful lot of people obsess about coffee: where to buy it, which brand is best, latte vs cappuccino, etc.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s not that I dislike the smell and even taste of coffee (in chocolate or ice cream for example). It’s just that for me there is a huge disconnect between the aroma and the hot liquid pretty well everyone else gulps in massive quantities most days.

As close as I get to a cuppa joe! (Photo: Andrew Forgrave on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

On the other hand I do drink tea – Earl Grey usually. And I know that there is an equally deep culture surrounding the steeping of the leaves of certain plants in hot water, not that different than the roasting of the beans of certain plants when you think about it. I enjoy a nice hot cup as I find the experience relaxing, wherever I choose to imbibe.

What then to make of a terrorist attack on a tea shop?

On this day in 2016

Likely Islamist extremists shot three people in a tea room in the southern Thai city of Yala, killing two and seriously wounding the third. That part of Thailand has been subject to Islamist terrorism for decades (as discussed in more detail in my third book The Lesser Jihads).

They dressed like soldiers and we suspect that it was in an attempt to blame the attack on the authorities and add to distrust and anxieties.

Yala province governor Krisada Boonraj in reference to a similar shooting in Yala five years previously

Is it just me or should everyone be able to savour a cup of tea without having to continually look out the window to see whether a bunch of terrorists is going to conduct a drive-by shooting?

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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