September 10, 2010: Unsuccessful bombing in Copenhagen

On September 10, 2010 a man set off a small explosion in the Jorgensen Hotel in Copenhagen, injuring only himself.

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK – Luckily for all of us, most terrorists are not the sharpest pencils in the box and end up hurting (or killing) only themselves.

A lot of people see terrorism as a much bigger threat than it really is. As a consequence, some terrorists are accorded far too much importance, which in a sense magnifies their acts and makes them seem like giants.

What is closer to the truth is that the vast, vast majority of terrorists are nothing like the images created about them. Most are hugely incompetent and nowhere near capable of carrying out significant acts of violence. As I always like to say, most violent extremists couldn’t organise a piss-up in a bar. The perpetrators of 9/11 were an obvious exception, but they WERE an exception.

Repeat after me: this is not a typical act of terrorism (Photo: Cyril Attias on flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Today’s featured attack is a good example.

On this day in 2010

A man set off a small explosion in the Jorgensen Hotel in Copenhagen, injuring only himself. The individual was likely trying to target the HQ of Jyllands-Posten’s headquarters in the city of Aarhus (he had circled the building on a map): Jyllands-Posten’s publication in 2005 of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad provoked protests in the Middle East, Africa and Asia in which at least 50 people died.

There are circumstances that point in the direction of an unsuccessful terror attack.

Jakob Scharf, head of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET)

  In this instance the terrorist was anything but successful. Let’s be thankful for that.

Read More Today in Terrorism

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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