News London terror attack 3/22/17

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Gosh!!!!! Just seen the headlines.

At least two people are dead after a terror attacker brought carnage to central London today, mowing down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before attacking police with a knife in the grounds of the Houses of Parliament.

More than 12 people are said to have been hit by a vehicle on the bridge after a 4x4 drove into pedestrians and cyclists before crashing into the gates of Parliament then running through the gates and stabbing the officer. The attacker was shot.
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11823706
http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/90750007/live-london-terror-attack

:(
 
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Four dead, and many with injuries. Very unsettling.
 
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Very obviously this was a suicide attack.
What nobody know yet is if the attacker was politically motivated (a terrorrist), or just an angry loony.
I suspect the latter, a genuine terrorist would have emerged from the crashed car with something more dangerous than a knife.
 
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a genuine terrorist would have emerged from the crashed car with something more dangerous than a knife.
Not necessarily. I did read that such terrorist attacks where they pull only a knife out are harder to predict and thus prevent.

I guess we'll need to wait for more information.
 
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Given the crash into Parliament seems deliberate rather than the result of randomly driving around looking for a crowd, I would say the likelihood it was 'political' is very high. The question in my mind would be whether or not the attacker had ties to Islam. That is going to be the main factor in how everyone spins and interprets it.
 
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Crashing into a gate and killing/injuring random bystanders while doing so, isn't exactly making a political point though is it.
However, that gate being the perimeter of parliament buildings, there would be bound to be armed police immediately nearby.
Since the next thing that happened after the crash was the fatal stabbing of an unarmed policeman, the fact that he was then shot dead on the spot was inevitable.
 
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Crashing into a gate and killing/injuring random bystanders while doing so, isn't exactly making a political point though is it.
Not in my mind, but it might make perfect political sense to someone violent enough to do what this a-hole did.
 
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I am still leaning in the direction of crazed loony.
While terrorists are bad, their attack plans are not usually completely demented.
 

Vanadium 50

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The BBC's report leans away from the "crazed loony" theory:

He has not yet been named. Police say they think they know who he is, and are "working to look at associates". Acting deputy commissioner Mark Rowley, the Met's top anti-terror officer, urged restraint from "proactive investigative journalists" in working out who he was.

Mr Rowley said the working assumption was that the attacker was "inspired by international terrorism" and "Islamist-related terrorism", but would not comment on his nationality or any other details.

He said police were focusing on the suspect's "motivation, preparation and associates".
 
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We will have to see what investigations into the guys background reveal.
It is entirely to possible to be crazy and Muslim at the same time, or be crazy and Christian too, or Zoroastrian and crazy.
We will see what is discovered I guess,
 

StatGuy2000

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Very obviously this was a suicide attack.
What nobody know yet is if the attacker was politically motivated (a terrorrist), or just an angry loony.
I suspect the latter, a genuine terrorist would have emerged from the crashed car with something more dangerous than a knife.
The BBC's report leans away from the "crazed loony" theory:
It's important to keep in mind that we are still in the early period of the investigation, so it is wise to refrain from speculating as to the motive(s) of the attacker until we all hear further evidence.
 

phinds

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Count now up to 5 (dead, that is) and this:

Acting Deputy Commissioner and head of counter terrorism at the Metropolitan Police, Mark Rowley, said they think they know who he is and that he was inspired by international and Islamist-related terrorism, but gave no further details.
 
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Oh my god. Why is this s*** happening? Not too long ago, there was a "crazed" truckdriver in Germany who also went on a killing-spree. Agitating, irritating, INFURIATING, saddening, perplexing ... I just don't ..
 

StatGuy2000

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Assuming for the moment that this was a terrorist attack (which the preliminary evidence is pointing to), I thought it might be interesting to look at the following interview with journalist Graeme Wood -- who had interviewed known members and sympathizers of Islamic State (IS) and wrote a book about this -- on the Agenda with Steve Paikin (a current affairs program broadcast on TV Ontario similar to Charlie Rose, a public broadcasting station funded by the Ontario provincial government in Canada, roughly equivalent to PBS in the US).


Wood's book (which I have not read yet, but intend to in the near future) is called "The Way of the Strangers: Encounter with the Islamic State". It should be available on Amazon.

[Moderators: Am I allowed to provide links to Amazon here at PF?]
 
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russ_watters

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What nobody know yet is if the attacker was politically motivated (a terrorrist), or just an angry loony.
I suspect the latter, a genuine terrorist would have emerged from the crashed car with something more dangerous than a knife.
Knife attacks appear to me to be a popular Islamic terrorist MO. They tend to get less press because they are less deadly, but there have been a bunch.

Edit: in 2016 I count 5 of 9 in the West as stabbings including one exactly the same in the USA (car followed by stabbing):
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Islamist_terrorist_attacks
 
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StatGuy2000

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Knife attacks appear to me to be a popular Islamic terrorist MO. They tend to get less press because they are less deadly, but there have been a bunch.

Edit: in 2016 I count 5 of 9 in the West as stabbings including one exactly the same in the USA (car followed by stabbing):
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Islamist_terrorist_attacks
Perhaps one reason for the popularity of knife attacks by terrorists (not just Islamic ones) as well as violent criminals in general in European countries in particular is because getting a gun in many European countries is more difficult compared to the US due to stricter gun laws (and less prevalence of an underground arms market??). So knives may be the default weapon of choice, despite not being as lethal.
 

russ_watters

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Perhaps one reason for the popularity of knife attacks by terrorists (not just Islamic ones) as well as violent criminals in general in European countries in particular is because getting a gun in many European countries is more difficult compared to the US due to stricter gun laws (and less prevalence of an underground arms market??). So knives may be the default weapon of choice, despite not being as lethal.
I don't think so. It looks to me to be more ritualistic, related to the popular tactic of hacking prisoners' heads off. It is tougher to achieve in public, but decapitation has happened too.

Edit: not sure of that last bit. The incident I was thinking of was mental illnesstate, not terrorism.
 
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russ_watters

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Stabbing trend was noted in Israel last year. It is a near daily occurrence there:
The attacks appear to be spontaneous and opportunistic, poorly planned and badly executed — although some are deadly. Most attackers display little or no training. The most common weapon is a kitchen knife. The second most common is the family car.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/israelis-are-calling-attacks-a-new-kind-of-palestinian-terror/2015/12/24/e162e088-0953-4de5-992e-adb2126f1dcc_story.html?utm_term=.f1f6b21254d3
 

StatGuy2000

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I don't think so. It looks to me to be more ritualistic, related to the popular tactic of hacking prisoners' heads off. It is tougher to achieve in public, but decapitation has happened too.

Edit: not sure of that last bit. The incident I was thinking of was mental illnesstate, not terrorism.
A ritualistic element may play into the motivation to use a knife in these attacks.

But then again, I have seen articles such as these in the British news media about rising violent crime in England and Wales, in particular a rise in both knife and gun crimes.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jan/21/england-wales-homicides-rise-knife-gun-crime

The article specifically cites that the police-recorded crime figures indicate a 9% rise in knife crime (and a much lower increase of 4% in gun crime). Based on my own admittedly limited understanding of crime in the UK, the fact that incidences of knife crime exceed that of gun crime suggests that knives are easier to obtain, and thus are more likely to be used to commit violence.
 

russ_watters

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But then again, I have seen articles such as these in the British news media about rising violent crime in England and Wales, in particular a rise in both knife and gun crimes.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jan/21/england-wales-homicides-rise-knife-gun-crime

The article specifically cites that the police-recorded crime figures indicate a 9% rise in knife crime (and a much lower increase of 4% in gun crime). Based on my own admittedly limited understanding of crime in the UK, the fact that incidences of knife crime exceed that of gun crime suggests that knives are easier to obtain, and thus are more likely to be used to commit violence.
I'm aware that in places like the UK, where guns are harder to get, knifings are more common/preferred. But this clearly was not a bar fight or mugging that escalated into a stabbing!

In any case, this speculation is moot now, as the question has largely been answered:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2017/03/23/europe/khalid-masood-london-attacker-what-we-know/index.html
 
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He had a history of violent behavior and of that being associated with a knife:

In its statement, Scotland Yard confirmed that Masood was known to police because of previous convictions for assaults, public order offenses and possession of offensive weapons. He was last convicted in 2003, for possession of a knife.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/03/23/i-immediately-recognized-him-what-we-know-about-london-attacker-khalid-masood/?utm_term=.841f43e5f698

In the US, similar convictions can easily involve jail time, especially as they accumulate. I would expect someone with that history of convictions to have spent at least 6 months to a year in jail here, depending on the state. I wonder what penalties he got. And, although it says his last conviction was in 2003, was he arrested and released for anything in all those years between?

What were the circumstances of his assaults and 'public order offenses'? Was he just angry, or was he angry and shouting quotes from the Koran? Still many questions.
 
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• He has never been convicted for any terrorism offences, according to police.
• Known to police, Masood had a range of previous convictions for assaults, including grievous bodily harm, possession of offensive weapons and public order offenses.
http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/23/europe/khalid-masood-london-attacker-what-we-know/index.html

"Masood had a range of previous convictions for assaults, including grievous bodily harm..."

If this is what it sounds like, why wasn't he in jail? I suspect it's because it might not be what it sounds like. Contrary to what TV and movies lead you to believe, "assault" isn't actually defined as a 'physical attack' on a person. I know it isn't here in California. I googled the definition of "assault' in the UK, and found it is roughly the same there:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_assault
(caveat: note the Wiki faults the article for too few citations)

"Assault," therefore, is committed when there is a mere immediate and believable threat of physical force made. When the threat is actually carried out, the offense then includes "battery."

So, this may mean the guy never actually committed "grievous bodily harm" in prior situations, only believably threatened to do so.

If this is the case, it would explain why he never, apparently, served any jail sentence.
 

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