MONCTON, NEW BRUNSWICK – All acts of mass violence are not necessarily terrorist in nature: sometimes it is really hard to tell which ones are.
We are living in a very interesting time in the West. After nearly 20 years obsessing about terrorism, especially that of the Islamist variety, many are moving on to a position that may not be well-founded.
I am referring to what I have called a ‘moral panic‘ over what is unhelpfully called ‘right-wing extremism‘. This grab bag of actors includes white nationalists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, conspiracy theorists and even incels (‘involuntary celibates’). It spans a whole range of people and causes and is so nebulous as to be of little use.
There are those who now see any act of violence perpetrated by one of the aforementioned players as an act of ‘right-wing terrorism‘. Not surprisingly, I disagree with this portrayal. It does not adequately account for why these actions are taken on most occasions and twists the definition of terrorism so badly that the term has lost a lot of its true meaning.
We sometimes come across events which are truly violent in nature, up to and including the deaths of people. Many immediately shout ‘terrorism‘ before there is any investigation into why the violent action was committed (recall that an act of terrorism MUST have an underlying ideology).
Today’s featured attack is an excellent example of this conundrum.
On this day in 2014
Justin Bourque killed three Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RMCP) officers and wounded two others in the eastern Canadian city of Moncton in the province of New Brunswick. He pleaded guilty to three first-degree murder charges and to two counts of attempted murder.
He just had this blank stare on his face, just a dead look in his eyes. He was calm as could be. He was just walking at a steady pace. It wasn’t fast. It wasn’t slow. He did not waver, not even to avoid a pothole.Friend and neighbour
Why did Mr. Bourque go on this rampage? There are still more questions than answers seven years later. Acquaintances said he had grown increasingly fixated on faraway wars, the right to bear arms, the “looming apocalypse”, and his desire to “live off the grid.”
To me, this is not an ideology but rather the thoughts of a confused young man. Hence this was not an act of terrorism. It was certainly violent, but terrorist in nature it was not.
Read More Today in Terrorism
On May 31, 1906 a Spanish anarchist threw a bomb hoping to hit King Alfonso XIII, killing 24 and wounding more than 100.
On May 30, 2009 two pamphlet-bombs exploded outside an Ecuadorian TV station and ministry: no victims or significant damage ensued.
On May 29, 2016 35 civilians were wounded in an ISIS attack using rockets containing chlorine gas in Iraq’s Nineveh Province.