December 12, 1969: Piazza Fontana bombing in Milan

At least 17 people were killed and another 88 killed in a bombing at the Piazza Fontana in Milan in December 1969

MILAN, ITALY – What if a bomb goes off killing and wounding dozens and no one owns up to it?

We like certainty. We like to know what happened and who was behind it and why it happened.

Consequently, we hate uncertainty. Not knowing the details behind an event, especially one of great import, really bugs us. That is why we tune in to news and other sources when something major is transpiring or has just transpired. We simply must KNOW!

When we are convinced that there is more to a story than we are being led to believe, some of us will go down conspiratorial rabbit holes. One need only turn to the Kennedy assassination literature/online ridiculousness to see this in action!

The unfortunate truth is that on occasion something bad happens and we simply never have an opportunity to find out why. Today’s featured attack is a good example.

On this day in 1969 a bomb went off in the Piazza Fontana in Milan, killing 17 people and wounding another 88. No one claimed responsibility. This did not stop the Italian police from arresting 80 people on “flimsy evidence and public conjecture“.

Years later, a far-right organisation called Ordine Nuovo came under suspicion and several of its members were tried in a process that last decades. Eventually two men were sentenced for other, smaller, attacks, but not for Piazza Fontana itself. After another two decades, yet another Ordine Nuovo member was “definitively tied” to the attack.

Perhaps it is time to accept that we will not always “know” why things happen. This is not to suggest that we should stop trying to find out, particularly if an act kills and maims dozens. It’s just that we will not always be able to dot every “i” and cross every “t”.

That is life.

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.

Leave a Reply