November 4, 2015: ISIS-inspired student stabs four at US university

On November 4, 2015 a college student at the Merced campus of the University of California stabbed four people before he was shot and killed by police.

MERCED, CALIFORNIA – How much warning do we need to call in a terrorist threat?

There is this annoying habit we as humans have to not get ‘involved’. We see something taking place, something not right, and rather than take an active part in trying to remedy the situation or call in someone else who can (say, the police) we just walk on by as if nothing is happening.

This quirk of human behaviour is indeed odd. Do we not want to prevent bad things from transpiring? Do we not have some kind of obligation to help the fellow members of our species?

Note that I am NOT suggesting that we unnecessarily expose ourselves to personal danger. If someone is engaged in a (potential) act of violence against someone else we don’t have to barge in and take a knife in the chest. That is why we have authorities trained in this regard (again, the police).

Hey buddy, can you spare me some ATTENTION? (Photo: Library of Congress, Public Domain)

I have often noticed that when it comes to terrorism many refuse to report suspicious individuals, despite national programs like ‘See Something, Say Something‘ in the US. There are many overt behaviours that warrant at least a cursory glance by security intelligence/law enforcement, as I outlined in my very first book The Threat From Within in 2015.

Failure to do so can result in catastrophic acts of violence.

On this day in 2015

Faisal Mohammad, a college student at the Merced campus of the University of California, stabbed four people before he was shot and killed by police. The attacker entered a classroom at 8 AM carrying a hunting knife with an 8-inch to 10-inch blade and began his violent spree.

Events like this happen elsewhere, but not at UC Merced, which may be still small in student body but large in its sense of community — yet, it has happened. 

Chancellor Dorothy Leland

Here is where it gets interesting. Mohammad had a manifesto in his pocket, detailing his plans to use tape to bind the other students to their desks and report the situation to police, steal a gun from a responding police officer, use it to murder students who had refused to include him in their study group and to behead someone.

Mohammed’s roommate told the FBI he was aware that the assailant was an ‘extreme Muslim’ who told a friend that is someone touched the mat he used for praying he would kill them. The roommate added that “is not a normal reaction for a normal Muslim.” Yet he never said anything to law enforcement.

The terrorist was inspired by Islamic State (ISIS). There were clues he was up to something. Maybe someone should have gotten ‘involved’. Ya think?

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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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