The media is running away from the Boulder supermarket shooting after the killer turned out to be a Syrian Muslim immigrant. It keeps trying to refocus on the details of the guns that he used. If the media really believes that guns, not Muslim terrorists, kill people, it should take a look at the weapons that ISIS and Al Qaeda uses, and urge them to adopt gun control.
Meanwhile, the New York Times slipped in an interesting little note in between all that claims that Ahmad Al-Issa was an angry loner.
“The suspect’s identity was previously known to the F.B.I. because he was linked to another individual under investigation by the bureau, according to law enforcement officials.”
That raises all sorts of questions.
The FBI doesn’t investigate shoplifters or build lists of connections to people for petty crimes. That means we’re likely dealing with either terrorism or serious criminal activity.
Al-Issa didn’t have much of a criminal record beyond a violent assault on a classmate over his religion or ethnicity. That makes terrorism far more likely.
The authorities and the media are reluctant to answer the big question.
Some ISIS supporters have celebrated Al-Issa’s attack, treating it as Muslim terrorism, but ISIS does not appear to have even tried to claim credit. This doesn’t mean that Al-Issa wasn’t a Muslim terrorist. But given how much we’ve heard about his paranoia, he may have successfully pulled off an attack by not making the familiar amateur Jihadi mistake of trying to contact ISIS or Al Qaeda.
Finally, while the term ‘lone wolf’ gets thrown around a lot, Al-Issa might be the real thing. A Muslim terrorist who plotted and carried out an attack independently of the usual online Islamic terror infrastructure. He kept it simple and succeeded in killing ten people.
Also, this does not appear to be a suicide attack. Unlike many ISIS Jihadis, Al-Issa wanted to live. He took off his clothes and shouted, “I’m naked”, to make sure the police didn’t shoot him.
Jihadis have been taken alive often enough, but either Al-Issa panicked or he planned all along to be taken alive and had worked out how.
That’s suggestive of a different approach. We may learn in the coming days that Al-Issa followed the familiar playbook, complete with oath and black flag, but it’s possible that he really was a lone wolf who took a different approach, avoiding the copycat failed ISIS plots for something that worked.