Monday, May 22, 2017

19 dead in explosion at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Police respond to the attack in Manchester. BBC/Peter Byrne

19 people have died and 50 more have been injured in an apparent terror attack in Manchester, England. BBC. The attack occurred at an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena. The show had just ended when the explosion occurred, hitting people who left the venue early and parents who had went to pick up their kids. It happened outside the arena, near the ticket booths. Doctors have reported shrapnel type injuries. Officals suspect that the attack was an incidence of terrorism and multiple news outlets have reported that it may have been a suicide bombing. 

This is a breaking news story. Live updates can be found below:

My Comment:
Another disgusting terrorist attack. There is no doubt that this is a terror attack at this point and though nobody has taken credit for it as far as I can tell, I would put money on who is responsible for this incident, even though I must note that I don't have any evidence except circumstantial and historical evidence. This is almost certainly an ISIS attack. The other usual suspects would not pull this kind of attack off. The IRA, which has long had a presence in Manchester, would not use suicide bombings or target children. Even al-Qaeda would be unlikely to target an event that was mostly attended by teenage girls. Only ISIS and their affiliates seem likely to attempt to kill children.  

And I have to say that targeting a bunch of children is about as terrible of an act that one can imagine. Not that this attack would have been forgivable if it had targeted adults, but it takes a special kind of evil to attempt to murder a bunch of children. It just goes to show how evil people can be. 

Before I go any further, I have seen some false reports on social media that have been spread wide and far that I want to debunk right away. First, there were reports of an active shooter at an local hospital but those reports were absolutely false. It turned out that the hospital was on lockdown, but only because of the original bombings. Also, there was a controlled detonation by the bomb squad on the scene, but it wasn't a second device and it was a false alarm. They blew up some garbage or clothing laying on the ground out of an abundance of caution. 

This attack seems professional. Though I haven't been able to completely confirm that this was a suicide bombing, I think we can conclude that whoever used this bomb was a professional. This bomb seems to have been well designed and was deployed correctly. Neither of those things are common, so I think that this rules out that this is a lone wolf attack. Expect confirmation that this was a core ISIS operation, or at the very least, the bomber had support from a wider terror cell. The bomb was a little too well made and a little too well placed to be some wannabe terrorist. 

The date of this attack seems fairly significant. Four years ago today, terrorists murdered Lee Rigby, a British soldier. I doubt that is a coincidence. I also don't think it is a coincidence that the attack comes a day after Donald Trump's major speech critical of radical Islam, given in Saudi Arabia itself. Terrorists often pay attention to these kinds of things, and I think that the message is clear. No matter what you do, we are still around and your speeches alone won't stop us.  

I also think that this attack was specifically targeting Ariana Grande. No, this wasn't an attempt to kill her, and all reports say that she is safe, but I do think that the fact that she is an American celebrity was a reason her concert was targeted. Not only is she an American, targeting her event will greatly increase the number of people exposed to this attack. Indeed, I think a lot of her fans will be thinking about terrorism for perhaps the first time in their lives. I also think that this is the largest celebrity attacked by terrorists in recent history. The Eagles of Death Metal in the Paris attacks count, but they had nowhere near the prominence of Ariana Grande. I have long said that ISIS would likely target celebrities and it seems I was right. 

I do expect that the rate of terror attacks will increase. Recently there haven't been as many terror attacks, but as summer comes and Ramadan happens, the rate will likely increase. Historically, core ISIS and their lone wolf supporters have stepped up attacks during the Muslim holy month. Ramadan starts in just 4 days and lasts until the end of June... 

I also don't think this will change all that much. We have become numb to these kinds of terror attacks and I don't think people will really react to it anymore. Children have certainly died in terror attacks before and nothing really changed. Perhaps this time things will be different, but I doubt that anything will happen... 

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