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October Today in Terrorism

October 22, 2015: Sword-wielding terrorist attacks in Sweden

On October 22, 2015 a neo-Nazi armed with a sword killed a pupil and a teacher at a school in the Swedish town of Trollhattan.

TROLLHATTAN, SWEDEN – Isn’t it sad how differences in skin colour can lead to acts of hate?

Do you know why humans come in all different colours? The Bible tells us that the three sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, all went off in their own directions after the flood subsided and that the subsequent separations created the circumstances that accommodated the physical variations of the human family.

This of course is a myth. So what does science tell us? Well, there are clearly overt signs that we are not all the same colour, but this has no basis in genetics. In other words, race is not real even if it is ‘real’. Confused?

I’ll show you my DNA if you show me yours! (Photo: DryHundredFear on flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Alas this lack of significant logical argument has had little to no effect on how the gamut of races has been treated historically. Slavery. Genocide. Social inequality. The list of ways in which one group of humans can justify killing another is depressingly long.

This applies to some terrorist groups as well. Especially right-wing extremists (RWE).

On this day in 2015

A masked man armed with a sword killed a pupil and a teacher at a school in the Swedish town of Trollhattan. He had even posed for a picture with his victims before he lashed out. The 21-year old Trollhattan resident injured two more (another pupil and teacher) before he was shot and killed by police.

A subsequent investigation uncovered social media links to Hitler and Nazi Germany: he appeared to be wearing a black trench coat and a helmet resembling those worn by German troops in WWII. The killer, Anton Lundin Petterson, left behind a ‘suicide note’ in which he outlined his intentions. He had also recently signed up to a campaign by the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats for a referendum to halt refugees coming to Sweden.

You’re scaring the children, you can go.

Said by a teacher before he was stabbed

Immigration is always a controversial topic with legitimate positions on all sides of the issue. Killing people based on their skin tone is not.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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