Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hero professor in Pakistan uses pistol to defend students against a major Taliban terrorist attack. AFP.

A military helicopter landing at the Bacha Khan University. AFP.

An assistant professor in Pakistan's Bacha Khan University responded to a terrorist attack by the Taliban by using his own firearm, giving students a chance to escape. AFP. The attack by the Taliban killed 21 people. The assistant professor, Syed Hamid Husain, nicknamed "The Protector" even before the attack, pulled out a 9mm pistol as the terrorists began shooting at the students. Husain returned fire with his pistol before he was cut down by the terrorists. Though he did not manage to kill any of the terrorists he did buy time for other students to escape. Husain had spent 3 years in the United Kingdom studying for his PHD, and often carried a pistol on him. Pakistan legalized teachers carrying firearms after 134 people were killed in another Taliban attack on a school in 2014.

Reuters is reporting that the Pakistani branch of the Taliban briefly took credit for the attack but soon after denied involvement. Dozens more were wounded in the attack, and the death toll may rise to as many as 40 dead. All four attackers died as well. The attack shows how strong militants are in Pakistan despite crackdowns against them. The militants were armed with AK-47 type rifles and grenades but were not equipped with suicide vests. 

My Comment:
Yet another horrific attack against education by Islamists. Radical Islam and education do not have a good history with each other. Boko Haram, for example, literally means Western education is sinful/forbidden, and they have killed thousands. And the article mentioned the last attack in Pakistan that killed 134 people, most of them children. I've never really understood what their problem with Western education is. Most of it is probably just wariness of anything perceived as un-Islamic, but killing a bunch of college students seems pointless to me. The attack on Peshwar in 2014 at least made a little sense because it was a military prep school, but this was just a college. Seems needlessly viscous to me, though terrorists aren't exactly known for picking military targets exclusively. 

I have to say I am impressed with the actions of Syed Hamid Husain. By almost any measure, he was a hero, and one that everyone should aspire to be. Though he did not stop the attack himself, he did buy time for others to escape. The time that the terrorists were fighting him was time that they weren't executing people and it allowed more time for Pakistani officials to respond to the attack. A good guy with a gun may not always stop a bad guy, but they can buy time. That's something that gun control advocates always ignore. Even if you fail to stop a mass shooting, if you return fire you may slow down the attack, giving people time. Time to escape, time to hide or time to fight back. Much like the attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I am guessing that the response of an armed person reduced the number of casualties that happened in this attack. And he died an honorable death, laying his life down to help his students and co-workers. I can't think of a better way to go... 

Unfortunately, Husain was only able to save a few lives. Many other people were killed by these terrorists before the Pakistani security forces could respond.  The fact of the matter was that they were better armed then Husain, and unlike many mass shooters in America, they weren't going to take the cowards way out and shoot themselves. They were on a mission and they accomplished it, even if Husain was able to slow them down. They weren't going to give up just because someone fought back. They were going to fight to the death. 

Still, things could have been worse if "The Protector" wasn't there. I think Pakistan made a smart move when they allowed their teachers to be armed. After the attack in Peshwar, it was clear that schools and college campuses were a target. Though armed civilians are far from an ideal way to protect children and students, some protection is better then none. Hopefully other countries will learn from this attack, though I am not holding my breath. I would love it if the only response terrorists got when they try to pull off a mass shooting was incoming fire. 

It seems there is some confusion about who committed this attack. The Taliban took credit at first but then almost immediately backed down. That could be because they are fragmented and split right now after the death of Mullah Omar. But it also possible that someone else did it. I think that ISIS is another suspect. ISIS has a strong history of trying to pull off these kinds of attacks where they send in a few gunmen to cause as much chaos as possible before they die. Much like the attacks in Paris, Chattanooga, San Bernardino and Tunisia, this attack fits a pattern that ISIS has used again and again. Still, I have no evidence that it isn't the Taliban. If it was them, then they have adopted ISIS's strategies, which have proven so effective lately. 

I haven't posted much about Pakistan on this blog. Largely because other events have overtaken it. With Syria, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and Yemen all happening at the same time, Pakistan (and Afghanistan) tends to be lost in all the noise. Which is unfortunate because the country is locked into it's own battle against Islamic extremism. Pakistan isn't the most stable in the country in the world and the situation is complicated by the war in Afghanistan and the ever present threat of war with India. These kinds of attacks by the Taliban aren't going to help the situation at all... 


  1. The major difficulty we have in comprehending these horrible attacks against children is this scum doesn't think like us. If we try to understand them by using our moral codes, we will fail every time. We can't change their minds, modify their behavior, or teach them anything because their brains are hard wired differently from the rest of the world. That leaves killing them. So be it!

  2. Thanks for the comment! I agree.