September 12, 2018: Angry driver plows into crowded Chinese square

On September 12, 2018 eleven people were killed and 44 injured after a car plowed into a crowded square in southern China

MISHUI, PRC – Sometimes it is devilishly difficult to determine whether something constitutes an act of terrorism or not.

Do you ever wake up with a chip on your shoulder? Do you ever get so angry that you don’t know what to do with that anger? Do you ever think about maybe using violence to assuage that anger?

I sincerely hope the answer to the last question is no.

What then do we make of an attack by an angry man who wants to ‘seek revenge‘ against society? Is that an act of terrorism? Hmmmm…

I’m mad as hell and I don’t think I can take it anymore (Photo: Martha Soukup on flickr, CC BY 2.0)

As I have noted on many occasions terrorism has to be linked to an underlying ideological, political or religious motive. Sometimes that motive is obvious: a guy who claims to be acting in the name of a terrorist group such as Islamic State (ISIS) is clearly tied to all three.

In other cases it is far from obvious.

On this day in 2018

Eleven people were killed and 44 injured after a car plowed into a crowded square in southern China. The driver, who had previous criminal convictions, then left his vehicle and attacked people with a knife and spade. He stated it was an act against ‘society’.

There was a vicious incident that a person drove deliberately into crowds at Mijiang Square.

Government spokesperson

The PRC has long worried about the potential for extremists or separatist groups to carry out similar attacks, perhaps tied to their crackdowns in Xinjiang and Tibet. This event does not appear to be tied to either of those or any other ideological cause and as a consequence it is difficult to label this terrorism.

Sometimes hate is just hate.

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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