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May Today in Terrorism

May 31, 1906: Spanish anarchist bombs royal wedding

On May 31, 1906 a Spanish anarchist threw a bomb hoping to hit King Alfonso XIII, killing 24 and wounding more than 100.

MADRID, SPAIN – Reach for the stars said Casey Kasem: it is nice to see that terrorists have lofty aims as well.

If you want to effect change, real change, you have to aim high. It is one thing to try and alter events and tendencies in the hopes that what you do will reverberate and engender even bigger developments – the so-called ‘butterfly effect’ – but is it not more meaningful (and immediate) to go for it all at once?

One way to achieve instant notoriety is to target a head of state. Doing so gets you several things at the same time: fame (or infamy), a quick response, maybe some more followers and, if you are really lucky, real change.

Or not.

On this day in 1906

A Spanish anarchist named Mateu Morral, trying to spur a revolution, threw a bomb hidden in a floral bouquet from the window of a Madrid hotel, hoping to hit King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenie. While 24 bystanders were killed and over 100 wounded, the royals were unscathed. Morral escaped but was killed by village militiamen two days later.

I venture to say quite plainly: the oppressed and the exploited have a right to rebel, because they have to reclaim their rights until they enjoy their full share in the common patrimony.

Francisco Ferrer, alleged ‘mastermind’ of the plot

Luckily, Morral’s lofty aims were thwarted by his bad aim. Still, 24 dead is nothing to dismiss lightly.

NB This is the last Borealis Today in Terrorism. It has been quite a run over the years. We hope you have enjoyed the series and thank you for your support and feedback.

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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.

One reply on “May 31, 1906: Spanish anarchist bombs royal wedding”

Certainly agree with the merit of aiming high and affecting real change! Any travis bickle types out there who would target a head of state are idiots, but that’s just my opinion 🙂 we live in a very very safe country for a reason, we have good people in our intelligence comminities who work really hard to stop stuff like that from happening.

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