Friday, January 8, 2016

Gunman who shot a cop in Philadelphia pledged allegiance to ISIS. Reuters

A surveillance video showing the attack. Reuters/Philadelphia Police photo.

A gunman who shot a police officer in Philadelphia claimed he did it in the name of Islam and had pledged allegiance to ISIS. Reuters. Edward Archer approached officer Jesse Hartnett and fired eleven shots and three of them hit. Despite being injured, Hartnett pursued the suspect and he was arrested by responding officers. There are some doubts if Archer was really a Muslim. CAIR, a Muslim advocacy group listed as a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates, says they could find no evidence that Archer was an observant Muslim. Archer used a stolen gun in his attack and there is no evidence that he had any help from any outside group. He also had a criminal record, and his family reported that he had several head injuries and was hearing voices and talking to himself. 

My Comment:
This case sounds very strange. First things first, I don't believe for a second what CAIR says. Even if they are right and Archer wasn't a devout Muslim, CAIR is not an organization that should be trusted. They lie all the time and have alleged links to Hamas. The UAE has called them a terrorist organization. I think most of this criticism is fair, so I put very little stock in what they have to say. 

As for Edward Archer himself, I wonder if this was really a terrorist attack or if it was the man just going crazy. A history of mental illness and possible brain damage tends to support the mental illness theory. Still, even if he was mentally ill, the fact that he claimed to support ISIS means that this is still probably terrorism. You have to wonder though, if he wasn't a bit mentally disturbed if he would have carried out this attack? I am guessing that he probably wouldn't have, but the other option is that he could have been much more effective in his attack if he hadn't been crazy.

Just like the attack in Paris yesterday, it seems that ISIS really is inspiring lone wolf gunmen. These attackers seem like they are people on the fringes of society. People with mental problems. People with nothing to lose. These people aren't smart or sane enough to pull of a really dangerous terrorist attack, but they can still inflict some damage. It's a minor miracle that officer Hartnett wasn't killed. Had Archer just walked up calmly to the officer and shot him when he got really close he could have killed him. Instead he ran up to him guns blazing like a moron. 

ISIS is a major threat because it can inspire these kinds of attacks. They cost nothing for ISIS and though they tend to have a low impact they still accomplish a major goal for ISIS. They want to spread fear and every cop in America will be thinking of this attack when they are out on patrol tonight. Much like the Paris attack, that accomplished almost nothing, the low damage that this attack did doesn't mitigate the fact that people are going to have an emotional reaction to it. 

The report also said that Archer stole his weapon. Yet again, another case where a terrorist or mass shooter was able to get a weapon despite gun control. It appears that he bought the gun on the street. The gun was stolen from a police officer some time ago and had probably been in circulation for quite some time. Since the gun was on the street anyways, more gun control would have done nothing to stop this attack. 

I also have to say that it doesn't seem to be a very good time to be a police officer right now. ISIS and other terrorist groups are targeting officers directly. And they aren't the only group doing so. Black Lives Matter are also putting rhetoric out there saying that all cops are racist monsters trying to kill innocent people. That simply isn't true in the vast majority of cases, but BLM repeats the lie so often that people believe it now. As a matter of fact I wouldn't be surprised if that narrative didn't at least partially inspire this attack. There were plenty of other targets that Archer could have hit instead, there has to be some reason why he targeted a cop. 

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