Friday, July 22, 2016

9 victims killed in a mass shooting in Munich, Germany. Suspect was an 18 year old German-Iranian.

Plain clothes officers at the scene of the attack. Reuters. 

An 18 year old German-Iranian killed 9 people in a mass shooting in Munich, Germany. Reuters. At least 10 others were injured in the attack. The police had the city on lockdown until the body of the attacker was found a distance away from the McDonald's where the attack began. Early reports of multiple shooters were later dismissed. It seems as though the shooter shot himself in the head. No motive has been released, though ISIS supporters have cheered the attack on social media. The attack comes after multiple terror attacks in Europe, including the Nice truck attack and an incident in Germany where a 17 year old attacked people with an ax. 

Here is video from the scene of the attack:

My Comment:
Yet another mass attack in Europe. It is too early to be sure that this was an ISIS terrorist attack, but given the attacker was Iranian and CNN said that he said "Allahu Akbar" makes me think that this was at the very least an Islamist attack. But there are some things that make the think that this might not be related to Islamic terror. 

First, the suspect was Iranian. He had German citizenship but it also sounds like he had Iranian citizenship as well. Most Iranians are Shiite Muslims. Shiites are much less likely to conduct terror attacks then Sunni Muslims and since ISIS is dedicated to eradicating Shiite Muslims, I doubt that if the shooter was Shiite, that he wanted anything to do with ISIS. Still, there are a few Sunni Iranians and the ones that exist have a very good reason to flee the country and could end up in Germany. 

Second, the suspect killed himself. He was found and it appeared that he had shot himself in the head. That rarely seems to happen in these kinds of attacks if they are related to Islamist terrorists. Sure, there are suicide bombings, but when the attacker chooses a different weapon, they tend to go down fighting. Shooting yourself in the head seems like something a "traditional" mass shooter would do, not an Islamist one. 

On the other hand there are a few things that counteract that. For one things "traditional" mass shootings don't seem to happen anymore. All the attacks in recent memory seem to have been primarily motivated by politics. I think the mass shooter meme has moved away from the "angry kid mad for stupid reasons" to "political terrorist". In America at least, all the non-jihadi attacks have been racially motivated. I think that this has been a major change but who knows if that change has made its way to Europe or not. 

Also, it follows a major stream of terror attacks in Europe. I have lost track of how many attacks there have been, but if a person was looking to commit an act of violence in Europe, they would use something like the Paris terror attack as inspiration. I am thinking that if this 18 year old Iranian had to know that if he did this attack he would be seen as a terrorist. So either he didn't care or he wanted people to think that. 

One wonders how this suspect got his guns. Handguns are extremely regulated in Germany and it would be very hard for anyone to get a hold of gun legally. Though an 18 year old can get a handgun in Germany, it requires a massive amount of vetting. It is possible that the shooter was able to get a gun through legal means, my guess is that he bought them on the black market or had them provided to him by a supporter.

This also seems to support the terrorism angle. If this had been a lone shooter not motivated by Jihad, he probably wouldn't have told anyone about this attack and probably wouldn't have had enough connections to the black market to get access to a firearm. Since he was an 18 year old, he might not have had enough money to buy a gun by himself. My guess is someone helped him get a gun. 

This attack will pour fuel on the fire when it comes to the migrant crisis. Though it seems like the suspect was in the country for a long time, it shows how dangerous the 2nd generation of Muslim immigrants can be. Indeed, they can be as dangerous or even more dangerous then the 1st generation. 

I also think that Europe is falling apart. This level of violence is not something that people will tolerate long term. The pace of these attacks have increased from every couple of months to every couple of weeks. Pretty soon, if the rate of attacks continues to rise it will be happening every day. I also think that people are getting numb to the attacks as well, and aren't quite as shocked as they used to be. Still, people are going to be afraid. 

Though the chances of dying in a terror attack is extremely small, the fear these attacks will cause will be disproportionate to the actual damage done. Pretty soon people will lose faith in their government's ability to protect them. I think this is already the case in France, but as the attacks continue to happen, it could happen in other countries as well. 

As for Germany, they had been extremely lucky to avoid Jihadist attacks so far. Until this weeks knife attack, they hadn't really had much in the way of terrorism recently. Though I would consider the Cologne and other New Years attacks to be terrorist attacks, that certainly doesn't fit the normal mold of terrorism. It seems like Germany is starting to see the same kinds of attacks that have happened in France and Belgium... 

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