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October Today in Terrorism

October 23, 2014: Terrorist attacks NYPD with hatchet in New York

On October 23, 2014 a radical Muslim convert attacked four NYPD officers in Queens, injuring two, one critically.

NEW YORK CITY – It is often said that you should not bring a knife to a gun fight. Does that include a hatchet?

One of the more interesting developments in modern terrorism is what I call the ‘Nike version‘. The US shoemaker is known for the slogan ‘Just Do It’ as a way to encourage Americans to get more active (and buy more Nike shoes!). All in all, not a bad suggestion (the exercise, not the footwear!).

Look at our profit curve! (Photo: Public Domain)

Fun fact: the founder of the Wieden + Kennedy ad agency admitted in 2009 that the phrase was actually inspired by the last words of convicted murderer Gary Gilmore, who said “Let’s do it!” to the firing squad before his execution. I’m not sure I would emulate the ultimate statement by a man who killed two people by shooting them in the head, leaving two widows with infants.

Gilmore was not the only killer enamoured with those three words. Islamic State (ISIS) has been putting out propaganda with the same idea in that it tells wannabe terrorists to pick up whatever weapon they have at hand and attack the ‘enemy‘.

And it seems to be working.

On this day in 2014

Zale Thompson attacked four New York Police Department (NYPD) officers on a crowded sidewalk in the Jamaica neighbourhood of Queens, injuring two, one critically. His weapon of choice was a hatchet: as the officers were armed with guns, they shot and killed the terrorist. While not tied to ISIS or any other group Thompson has posted widely in which he railed against government, whites, injustices in American society, oppression abroad, and the Western world in general.

The fact that he was walking around with a hatchet in the backpack makes it clear this individual had some sense of preparation. 

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton

He may not have been ISIS but he acted in their spirit. Unfortunately for the dead violent extremist he did not listen to even better advice: don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.

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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.

2 replies on “October 23, 2014: Terrorist attacks NYPD with hatchet in New York”

Interesting spin on the Nike brand! You would think that when this came out that they would change the slogan. I guess it is difficult to do when the brand is so intrinsically tied to the slogan. It makes money and most the consuming public would not even take notice. It is interpreted according to the user that is speaking the words. In western society it is a positive message to get moving while when spoken from terrorists it is a rallying cry for blood. It is long been reported about NIKE using child labour overseas but that did not appear to change the consumption of their products for very long. Globalization is still directly correlated to colonialism with the use of low paid workers in countries with questionable business and ethical regulation if at all.
Thanks for the education AGAIN! Keep it coming.

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