10.25.2014 09:06 AM

Jihadist or lunatic?

The New York Times has a huge piece this morning, with multiple contributors, about the shooter and Ottawa (whose name I still refuse to use).

Was he an Islamic radical, or just a drug addicted loser? Here are the Times’ first few grafs:

OTTAWA — A loner. A drug addict. A criminal. A drifter. And lately, an Islamic radical.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the bearded, 32-year-old gunman who was shot dead Wednesday after killing a soldier and storming Canada’s Parliament, aptly fit each of those descriptions. In the tumultuous wake of what Canada’s prime minister has called a terrorist act, Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau’s radicalism has become the defining one.

But a closer examination of his past draws a somewhat different portrait: one of an increasingly troubled, mentally unstable man who initially may have embraced religion not as a political cause, but as an attempt to scaffold a disintegrating life.

Whatever he was, I take to view the targeting identified groups – in this case, military people – with extreme violence amounts to a hate crime in Canadian law. In prosecution, and in sentencing, these acts should be treated as such.

33 Comments

  1. Pipes says:

    Seems to me this describes all terrorists in general-“one of an increasingly troubled, mentally unstable man who initially may have embraced religion not as a political cause, but as an attempt to scaffold a disintegrating life”.

    • Tom D says:

      Ah, he was downtrodden by our society so he unleashed his anger spontaneously.

      If Zehar-Bibeau had been in the HoCs rotunda 10 minutes earlier, he would have encountered a school childrens tour, and what if he gunned down several children? Would we still be labeling him an “unstable man” or would we be calling him a vicious terrorist inspired by Islamic State?

      And if he had been captured alive, what conclusion could we make, as he declares “Allahu akbar”?

  2. Marc says:

    Refusing to use this man’s name or publish his picture is a good start. Refusing to call him a terrorist is the next step in having a sane and measured discussion about what happened on Wednesday. Calling him a terrorist is an act of aggrandizement and makes his actions take on an importance they don’t deserve.

    Was it a terrifying couple of minutes? Yes. Was it an act of international terrorism? Not so much.

    • Patrick says:

      Well said.

    • sezme says:

      And he’s dead now so we’ll never know for sure. I certainly don’t blame the people who killed him, though killing him 20 times over might have been a little excessive.

      But yes, people need to back off on the accusations of Terrorist and Radicalized and (most ridiculous of all) Islamist. In the end, unless there’s some pretty compelling evidence that this was an organized attack, he was just another homicidal-suicidal maniac with a gun.

    • Just Askin' says:

      Would it have been terrorism if the man had committed murder/suicide by bomb rather than by gun?

  3. Joe says:

    I don’t believe said murderers were terrorists. (Don’t forget we have had two Canadian soldiers killed on Canadian soil in the last week) I believe the murderers were Islamic Jihadists who were acting according to their religion. Yes I know not all Muslims are murderers etc etc etc but to think or even imagine that the Qur’an doesn’t call for actions like the ones we just witnessed is ignorance beyond belief.

    • Marc says:

      The world is full of people who are angry, hungry, downtrodden, abused, ill-educated, hopeless, crazy, greedy, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, etc. All belief systems, religions, ideologies, etc., provide a convenient set of excuses to back up their violent outbursts. Sometimes these outbursts are justified sometimes they are not. The Qu’ran, or any religious book, isn’t making people kill people. To ignore root causes is willful ignorance – the worst kind.

      • Joe says:

        So the child born in privilege, private school, parent well placed in government is ‘downtrodden’? Please tell me more.

        • marc says:

          Uh, no I didn’t say he was downtrodden, your words. I said there are myriad reasons why people kill. I would put him in the angry/crazy/hopeless, corner. That’s not a justification by any means.I just think it’s nonsense to suggest that sane believers follow theQur’an’s call for jihad literally. As Mark says below the Old testament also calls for death, sane Christians generally gloss over that part.

      • Joe says:

        One final thing Mark. No Holy Book MAKES anyone do anything. The Holy Books simply lay out a path for you to follow if you want to be ____. The Christian Holy Book tells us to love our neighbours, take care of the infirm, defend the defenseless etc. If I want to be a ‘good’ Christian then I will do those things. If I don’t want to be a good Christian then I don’t worry about such things. That is my choice. However the Muslim Holy Book calls for Jihad and killing of unbelievers. That is not to say that all Muslims are going to engage in jihadi killing anymore than it means that every Christian is going to give up his day job to run a hospice for ebola victims. However there will be some of each following the Holy Book of their religion.

        • Mark H (not the Mark Joe replied to) says:

          Joe,

          The Judeo-Christian Bible also had plenty of passages about the killing of unbelievers:
          http://www.alternet.org/30-most-violent-exhortations-bible-torah-and-quran

          Virtually all Christians read the bible pretty selectively – which is actually a very good thing, given some of the nasty stuff that’s there.

          Western, “Christian” countries are relatively peaceful because we’ve become democracies – for reasons which have little to do with religion. In the middle east, there are few democracies, and a lot of civil wars. Right now, there are civil wars in both Syria and Iraq, where ISIS came from, and in Afghanistan, where Al Queda came from. Keeping that in mind is crucial to understanding where “Islamic” terrorism comes from.

          • Joe says:

            And for some strange reason when you look for Christian extremists you find…..Cathars? Quakers? Mennonites? Amish? Oh yeah the Christian Bible is just chock a block full of calls for killing unbelievers as is evidenced by its most ardent followers. Mark you are truly clueless and that in this present world is not a good thing to be.

          • MM says:

            Joe says “…when you look for Christian extremists you find…..Cathars? Quakers? Mennonites? Amish?”

            You also find Army of God, Lord’s Resistance Army, Klux Klux Klan …

  4. Sean says:

    My understanding from media reports is that this person saught and did not recieve formal help for several mental health issues. A big part of this story is the road blocks in between an obviously disturbed individual and the professional help that can be afforded to them. Specifically I mean issues which are more serious than would be dealt with in a walk in clinic or a help phone line. I will share an anecdotal example. For the sake of maintaining privacy, I will say that I am aware of a situation where a person was waiting to take part in heroin rehab on a doctor’s referral. Not a street person. A well educated, employed person trying to get help. During the two month wait, this person was charged for cocaine posession. There has got to be a way to make our mental health / recovery systems more efficient. How can we get from “need serious help” to “get serious help that day”.

  5. Liam Young says:

    Hopefully, very soon, we’ll all discover and realize that over reaction is just part of the plan.

  6. Bob T. says:

    The Dispossessed

    Among the crimes committed by Zehaf-Bibeau – crack addict, insane person, ideologically seduced by one of the more radical offcuts of the Nation of Islam – was an attempt to rob a McDonald’s restaurant with a sharpened stick. As someone who spends a lot of time on the street as a surveillant, I can confirm that McDonald’s is a hated organization among the down-and-out. Once, I asked a homeless woman why the animus? “The dark and venal logic. They want to get rid of us.” Could it be that Zehaf-Bibeau is only one of the many bitter fruits of the accelerating liquidation of the social and economic system of Canada?

    Despite record profits, John Betts, CEO of McDonald’s Canada, well summarized the mentality of the wolves of Bay Street after his clownburger cabal was caught out admitting that native-born Canadian workers were being constructively dismissed in favour of temporary foreign workers: “We are a big, bad corporate company you know, bad company. And these poor, maligned employees, are who they are. Yes they are disenfranchised. Some of them don’t work for us anymore. But in the scheme of things it doesn’t matter…And in dealing with government, the smartest move for us was to pre-empt their move in terms of suspending us,” (CBC). Amidst public outcry, incorrigible McDonald’s was caught out again trying to utilize exploitable labour via student visa programs. Some foreign student-workers described slave conditions and having to pay above-market rents to the employer. (The importation of slaves is not a humanitarian exercise despite the tricky gloss of anti-racism rhetoric.) Apparently, nothing less than a total boycott will staunch these jackals.

    McDonald’s is only one of thousands of organizations utilizing TFWs. There are near 400 000 TFW in Canada. Minimum wage workers point out that TFWs are paid 15% less – and are often mandated to work without breaks and work unpaid overtime. There are churches, universities, hospitals, hotels, Indian bands, restaurants, and every other burger and coffee joint, all using TFWs and selling short their own people. Ironically, all-Canadian Tim Horton’s – now owned by Burger King – uses minions. All these organizations enjoy tax exempt status as non-profits or pay the lowest rate of tax.

    There are myriad programs to game the domestic job market. The Royal Bank of Canada was caught out dictating that Canadian workers train the foreign workers who would replace them after they were constructively dismissed. Beside TFWs, 160,000 immigrants arrived under the federal skilled worker program. There is also an estimated 100 000 illegal workers in Canada. Toronto declared itself a “sanctuary city” offering services to all – essentially increasing property tax to fund cheaper labour. Hundreds of thousands will soon be millions. Prime ministerial hopeful Jason Kenney, like his mentor Grover Norquist of the Islamic Free Market Institute, is taking the “open borders” line. All this must also be added into the mix of the burgeoning Canadian Gulag. The race to the bottom and the iron law of wages (just enough calories to keep working) intensifies.

    There are over 2 million unemployed and underemployed Canadians. Many have children, seniors or disabled people to care for – which extrapolates to over ten percent of total population and rising. They live a marginal life, looking for whatever work they can find, trying to scrape by on employment insurance (unavailable to those constructively dismissed) or savings, and when that runs out, welfare or charity. Some end up homeless, broken. This bleak life drains the life and hope out of them and increases the burden on Canadian taxpayers and working families who must fund the welfare or charity. Many millions more are in precarious employment situations. Rates of suicide, substance abuse, depression are many fold higher than that of the general population.

    For the powers-that-be, this is of no concern. Aggressive offshoring continues. Over the last decade, Canada, mirroring America, has lost (by conservative estimates) 270 000 manufacturing-type jobs to China alone. If one includes the multiplier effect – one factory/mill job generates other spinoff jobs (4.6 is a commonly accepted multiplier) – 270k jobs lost to China over just those ten years alone equates to 1.25 million other jobs. Every trip to the Dollar Store or Wal-Mart is a donation to the Chinese Communist Party and the pauperization of Canadian workers.

    Foreign-born workers are significant contributors to international remittance flows; $23.9-billion in remittances flowed from Canada to other countries in 2012 (World Bank). In addition, Canada’s official development assistance in 2012 was $5.6-billion. If one assumes 29.5 billion / $10 per hour / 2000 hour full time job = 1 475 000 jobs – near the aforementioned 2 million unemployed and underemployed Canadians. The top destinations for remittances from Canada were China ($3.9-billion), India ($3.5-billion), and the Philippines ($2-billion). Considering that China is sitting on 4 trillion, repeat, four trillion dollars worth of currency reserves, should Canadian dollars and jobs really be flowing to the world’s greatest hoarder? India has just elected a Prime Minister whose paramilitary cadres are based on the SS and the Hitler youth. Should Canadian dollars really be flowing there? The Philippines is a nightmare of corruption, financial and otherwise. Marcos alone stole up to $10 billion from the Philippines. Should Canadian workers be penalized for other nations’ fiscal mismanagement – the corruption tax – under the Internationalist doctrine of 1% wealth transfer?

    Canada, as all small nations, is drifting towards a perfect storm scenario. Hemorrhaging capital and jobs overseas and liquidating jobs and social services for native-born workers will lead to the implosion, the collapse, the death of the Canadian Nation and smaller nations within. As should be obvious, the Canadian State is merely an organ of the Internationalist Cabal directed by Corporate Commissars. Sadly, many don’t care about the working poor, the unemployed, the lumpen, “white trash,” and native Canadians who aren’t servile or cheap enough to flip burgers or pour over-priced coffee. They should. Once sacrosanct sectors like academic, IT, and legal services can and are being off-shored to India, China and other destinations en masse. Teachers, nurses, skilled trades, police are easily imported as Internationalist pressure groups lobby the Canadian State to accept foreign credentials (an absolutely appalling counterintelligence and counterterrorism scenario.) The two million are a harbinger of what is to come: you are not wanted, you are not needed, you are redundant, slated for liquidation.

    There will be more Zehaf-Bibeaus. People who after a long, degrading process of unemployment, drifting, homelessness, mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction, sickness, weariness, indoctrination by exploitive revolutionary organizations and networks, simply “snap.” Eventually, under the pretext of “security,” the aforementioned powers-that-be will declare martial law – despite the fact they engineered the social conditions that led to the chaos. Then the full liquidation of the Canadian Nation will begin in earnest. Gulags. Killing centers. Concentration camps. “Basic dictatorship.”

    • Windsurfer says:

      Wow, you should be running:

      **for political office
      **for cover
      **for “top post of the week” here at the blog

      Interesting that you used ‘lumpen’ – a term rarely heard outside of Marxist circles. However, you see them everywhere on the streets in Canada in both large city and small borough. Quite dis-possessed, literally ‘hand to mouth’ if you ask them how they support themselves – well past the proletariat stage.

      Anyways, I’m sure someone will come on here and say you’re full of _ _ _ _ but I appreciate the effort.

  7. davie says:

    I dunno, folks…all I have read about the shooter’s background, about his frustrated attempts to get help getting clean, his pie-in-the-sky idea of going to his father’s homeland for help, the assorted versions of what happened from the G&M vid to the RCMP Commish with vids to Aiken’s version, and puzzling over his actions, I see a guy who took too much of something, was in complete despair and got hopped up and just lashed out blindly.

    Meanwhile, bodies of six kids found in a locker in our country, and I don’t see nearly the hand wringing, the search for cause, the leadership on prevention, just now much said about it at all. Everyone too wrapped up in flags, I guess!

  8. John Daly says:

    I’ve thought about these things. Lots. I have concluded that the young man who killed Nathan Cirillo WAS a terrorist, legitimately and ergo his actions constitute a terrorist attack. And that is where my agreement with Harper ends.

    ISIS does not care who subscribes to their fairytale and very cruelly interpreted Islamic ideology. ISIS has, in fact, and in a very public way, called for individuals to attack police officers, soldiers, civilians, women and children (infidels) in the name of Jihad. The two young men involved in separate attacks last week were both troubled, alienated, drug-involved and mentally unstable individuals who had histories of serious and petty crimes.

    I would be willing to bet both of them would fail even the most basic tests of knowledge of Islam, the history of the religion, the meaning of Jihad, the current conflicts in Syria and Iraq or the strict codes of Sharia law. The thugs in ISIS don’t care about that. The fanatics who are currently running around creating fear in the middle east would consider our Canadian misfits to be legitimate combatants. I agree. They qualify.
    I also believe that identifying and preventing “lone wolf” attacks is virtually impossible using current methods of implementing security precautions. This leaves the state with one option: LOOK MORE CLOSELY INTO THE PRIVATE COMMUNICATIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS OF EVERYONE!!

    That’s logical. Twitter has been a main modality of communication for ISIS. So my sense of the thing is this-we have choices to make. We can choose (through our support of political parties and/or our own personal exercise of free speech rights) to come down on one side or the other. We can choose to allow the government more power to look into our “private” lives in hopes (theoretically) of diminishing the risk of acts of organized or disorganized violence.

    Or we can choose to maintain (or even strengthen) our basic civil rights and accept the risk of future lone wolf attacks. I CHOOSE the second option. With fries, not salad

    • Steve T says:

      Very well-stated, and a good overview of the situation. However, I disagree with the final conclusion.

      I am willing to accept a restricted and regulated government agency reviewing my boring phone calls, emails, and Facebook posts – if it means that Canadian lives may be saved. I do not harbor paranoia that this restricted-and-regulated government agency will use my boring items against me in some Orwellian manner. Quite frankly, my biggest concern would be that the government agent would die of boredom, and I would have to live with the guilt of that.

      In all seriousness, I think this is a classic example of individuals not wanting to sacrifice their personal interests for the betterment of society. Yes, we may have to give up a bit of privacy, if we want to deter terrorist activity on our home soil. I am willing to make that tradeoff, and I’m a bit disappointed that others are not – purely based on theoretical worries about theoretical harms that are very unlikely to actually occur.

      • sezme says:

        It’s great that people can at least agree on the terms of the debate.

        The problem with letting the government spy on our private communications, even if they are boring, is that

        A) it does nothing to stop lone-wolf attacks like the ones this week if they don’t tell anyone else what they are planning to do, and even conspiracies would figure out ways to get around surveillance (ever watch The Wire?).
        and
        B) If you think it’s no problem having someone always hovering over your shoulder reading your letters and posts, listening to your conversations, watching you shower because these things are “boring” it’s because you’ve always lived with privacy. Ask someone who grew up in Russia or East Germany or North Korea what it’s like having your “boring” life constantly monitored. It might surprise you to find that it isn’t benign at all.

        • sezme says:

          And by “Russia” of course I meant the Soviet Union which is what “Russia” meant when I was growing up.

          Steve T, in Soviet Union, Internet surfs you!

        • Steve T says:

          No, the difference is that in Russia, East Germany, and North Korea, the government did more with the information than they should have – and it was with the empowerment of the politicians. That is my point – we restrict, by legislation, the usage of the information gathered. Use the judiciary if you have to (similar to search warrants). There are solutions.

    • Tom D says:

      It’s easy to conclude the two “lone wolf” killers were crazies and not connected, and that satisfies our fearful minds that it was a coordinated attack. Consider this; the ISIS command in Canada intentionally convinced these two unstable men who happened to be more Canadian than muslim to attack Canadian people and institutions. Then ISIS could claim that Canadians were killing Canadians as a propaganda ploy. Too farfetched for you? Think again because the ISIS leaders are mastering social media in their jihadi crusade against the West and opposing muslim sects in the Middle East.

      • Tom D says:

        Oops… correction: “It’s easy to conclude the two “lone wolf” killers were crazies and not connected, and that satisfies our fearful minds that it was NOT a coordinated attack.”

  9. lance mclean says:

    A little late to the party but as per the title of the entry, I would argue that “aren’t they the same”. I am using Jihadist is the sense of ISIS. I would say that every one of them (who lead or adhere, listen to ISIS or Al-Qaeda or any terorist group etc) are lunatics.

    Who could think that “Jihadists” are not lunatics, what sane person would believe in beheading, torturing, raping or killing another human because they don’t believe what you believe???

    • Tom D says:

      That begs the question: “Can lunatics, crazies, be rehabilitated?” Or, are they jihadists on a holy mission to bring Islam to the Middle East and the World? They claim to be the “Islamic State”, and they have religious justification in the Koran for their crusade. Perhaps we in the West are not qualified to judge them and their hideous behaviour in the Middle East; in Canada, yes, but not outside of Canada! Besides, they don’t care what we think, they are obsessed with their jihad.

  10. Tom D says:

    Nazism = Hitler + Ethnic Cleansing
    Communism = Socialism + Atheism
    Islamism = Supremacy + Deity

    Where is the world going??

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