Some terrorists need outside urging to take action: some act very quickly in response.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Most people are sheep. There, I said it. The basic fact is that most humans tend to follow others, they do not lead. Hence the allusion to sheep – wait, so which sheep are most of the sheep following? Is there a ‘leader’ among the woolbearers?
The main concern over all this lies in circumstances where the particular individual acting as a leader for the guileless hordes elects to take them down the path of violence or truly reprehensible acts. History is alas full of examples.
Terrorist groups are no different. Most violent extremists are sheep and a few charismatic individuals are leaders. The latter direct, cajole, encourage, explain and convince the former to do something violent. Again, there are lots of examples: Usama bin Laden (Al Qaeda – AQ), Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi (Islamic State ISIS), Abdullah Ocalan (Kurdistan Workers’ Party – PKK), Abubakr Shekau (Boko Haram)….
Then there is ISIS in general. The terrorist group was incredibly successful at putting out propaganda cajoling and urging its ‘followers’ – most of whom were self-styled – to carry out acts of terrorism in its name. The main organ was Dabiq, although there were others.
Not everyone who consumed this material actually did anything about it, comfirming my long-held conviction that there are always way more talkers than walkers. But some did.
On this day in 2014
One such ‘respondent’ was Abdul Numan Haider, an 18-year-old who had allegedly made threats against Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and reportedly waved an ISIS flag at a local mall. Days after ISIS urged random attacks on Australians and other “disbelievers,” he arrived at a police station in the southeastern Melbourne suburb of Endeavour Hills, ostensibly to “assist police with an investigation”.
On is arrival at the station, Haider stabbed a state police officer who had tried to shake his hand, before turning on a federal police officer and stabbing him three or four times in the body and head. Haider was then fatally shot by the first officer. Both officers were rushed to hospital for surgery where they are reported to be in serious but stable condition.
So a wannabe answers the ISIS call and stabs a few officers. He was undoubtedly hailed as a ‘hero’ and a ‘lion of Islam’ by ISIS. Except he wasn’t.
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