Another “lone wolf” goes feral, this time in New York City. Come for the Ebola, stay for the hatchet-wielding jihadis. Don’t even get me started on the C.H.U.D.s in the sewers.
Of course, the authorities are striving mightily to portray 32-year-old Zale Thompson as anything but a jihad enthusiast. ABC News quotes police sources saying he was “just an angry guy” who was not connected to any terrorist organizations:
The attack happened at 2 p.m. Thursday, at the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and 162nd Street in the city???s borough of Queens.
Surveillance video released by police shows the man — later identified as Zale Thompson, 32 — wearing a heavy green jacket, raising the 18 ½ inch hatchet, prepared to strike as he walked down the sidewalk. The man was unprovoked and did not speak before swinging his hatchet, police said.
Officer Kenneth Healey, 25, is listed in critical but stable condition at Jamaica Hospital with a head wound following the attack, police said. Officer Joseph Meeker, 24, is listed in stable condition with an arm injury.
Additionally, a 29-year-old woman located nearby was accidentally struck by a bullet in her lower back and is recovering from surgery, police said.
Police initially wondered if the attack was terrorism-related, but according to the police source, authorities haven???t been able to connect Thompson to any terrorist organization.
???The initial impression is that he???s just an angry guy who???s ranting about the American government and American oppression of foreign people,??? the source said.
But there was no ISIS membership card in his pocket, so quit asking what he was angry about, what other names he might have assumed, what websites he might have frequented, and so forth. None of that has anything to do with why he targeted a group of uniformed police officers and started swinging a hatchet at their heads. And even if he was hot for the Islamic State, it’s important to remember that it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Islam in any way, shape, or form.
Thompson reportedly charged at a group of four police officers who had just been asked by a freelance photographer to pose for a picture. The beginning of the attack was captured by security camera:
CNN’s report of the incident is grimly amusing, because after relating the assurances of the police source that Angry Guy had nothing to do with radical Islam, they begin gingerly laying out the evidence to the contrary:
One sign that raised eyebrows involved postings on a Facebook page bearing Thompson’s name. That page contains the image of warrior in a head and face scarf, armed with spear, sword and rifle. The vintage black and white photo is the profile picture of the user, who lives in Queens.
A Quran quote in classic Arabic calligraphy mentioning judgment against those who have wandered astray serves as the page’s banner.
Some of the user’s Facebook friends posted articles about Thompson’s attack and death, referring to him by name and linking back to the Facebook page.
Thompson has been in trouble with the law before. He had a criminal record in California, a law enforcement official said, and the Navy discharged him for disorderly conduct.
Gee, can’t imagine why anyone’s eyebrows might raise over that. Funny how ISIS puts out a call for true believers to begin attacking soldiers and police across the Western world, and suddenly people are doing exactly that, along with the odd workplace beheading incident inspired by Islamic law. Pure coincidence, no doubt.
The Blaze has been trying to track down social media postings from Thompson, finding one explicit reference to jihad and Zionism in a YouTube video comment that could not be confirmed – perhaps it never existed, or perhaps it has been deleted since it was first spotted – and another railing against white racism. There have also been unconfirmed rumors that Thompson adopted the name “Zaim Farouq Abdul-Malik.”
The proper thing for the authorities and media to do would be to investigate such rumors, either confirming or debunking them, rather than attempting to wave the whole subject off. They should also understand that people have a natural interest in the details of Thompson’s past criminal record, and the circumstances surrounding his discharge from the Navy. That’s not just salacious interest from the public – they want to know the government understands exactly why an incident like this has occurred, and adjust its security posture accordingly. When law enforcement agencies and media organizations with vast resources are slow to provide information they are known to regard as controversial, many people will assume they’re dragging their feet because they don’t think the public can handle the truth. Sometimes those assumptions are correct.
It’s interesting how the media used to obsess over the entire chain of events that led to horrifying acts of violence, stretching all the way back to the disturbed individual’s childhood, including an inventory of every videogame he played, but now we’re just supposed to accept that angry guys blow up sometimes, without worrying about who lit their fuses.
Presumably the case will be made that Thompson’s demons drove him to pursue a number of dangerous ideologies, and unless it turns out that he left a suicide note before taking up his hatchet, we’ll be told it’s pointless to try separating the ingredients in his toxic mental stew. There is still much cause for concern that random lunatics can prove useful to the masters of deliberate evil.
It’s not exactly comforting to say that radical Islam and marching orders from the new “caliphate” might be pushing some deeply disturbed people over the edge. It also makes you wonder what the operatives who are not deeply disturbed might be able to accomplish, with a bit of tactical training. If I were sitting back at Evil HQ and planning an attack on the West, I’d be inclined to send the expendable loosely-affiliated nutjobs in first, study what they were able to achieve, and use that knowledge to plan subsequent actions by my high-value assets. Along those lines, I’d do exactly what ISIS has done: put out a call for all the unhinged wannabes to get busy running people over with cars, shooting up government buildings, and chopping off heads.