Updated below: 10/24/14 3:01PM
Today in New York City a man named Zale Thompson attacked a police officer, fracturing his skull. Another officer shot and killed Thompson after the attack.
Immediately, NYPD commissioner William Bratton told reporters told reporters, “There’s nothing we know at this time that would indicate that (Islamic terrorism) is the case.”
And according to CNN:
A senior law enforcement official told CNN on Friday that investigators do not believe that Thompson, a Muslim convert, was driven by any radical Islamic views.
Yet Rebecca Hamilton, a follow Patheos blogger posted the story with the blog headline: New York Police Officers Wounded in Hatchet Attack. Possible Terrorist Connections.
So the NYPD see no link to terrorism, yet Hamilton feels confident enough to declare there is a possible connection, even continuing on to say:
I wonder which lie we will be told about this latest attack. Will it be labeled the work of a “nut,” and a person who is “mentally unstable?” Based on what I know now, “workplace violence” doesn’t seem to fit.
Her reference to workplace violence is her attempt to claim that the recent attack at an Oklahoma factory in which a Muslim man beheaded a coworker after being fired. Investigators in that case obviously found no terror connection because the act was impulsive and no pre-mediated. The suspect in that case, Alton Nolen had no knowledge that he would be fired that day.
This isn’t good enough for Hamilton however who insists that any act of violence committed by any Muslim must be an act of terror.
When people go on rants about Islamophobia, they are actually discussing people like Hamilton who allow their xenophobia to seep into their online rhetoric.
In the coming days, we could very well learn that Zale Thompson was motivated by religious extremism, but will it matter? Those like Hamilton have made up their minds and Islam is already to blame.
We know Thompson was a Muslim, we know his online profile was full of praise for people like Nolen and calling for gorilla warfare, but he has no known ties to religious groups as of this moment, and while he could be acting under the pretense of Islamic extremism, the facts of this case are simply unknown. This mans ideologies will be an important part of this investigation, but so will what drove him to these ideologies.
So how about we let investigators do their jobs before we start pointing fingers at who is to blame. Is it so unheard of that a man can just go crazy or simply be crazy?
Update: As of this afternoon police believe this was a “lone wolf” act of terror. As reported by NBC New York:
“We at this time believe that he acted alone,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Friday. “We would describe him as self-radicalized. We would describe him as self-directed in his activities.”
Police obtained a warrant to search Thompson’s computer for clues about Thursday’s daytime assault in Queens, which left Officer Kenneth Healy with a critical but stable head injury and Officer Joseph Meeker with a wounded arm.
Thompson’s activity on social media indicated he was a convert to Islam and included rants about injustices in American society and oppression abroad but offered no clear evidence of any direct affiliation with terror groups, police said.
“The common thread going through those conversations are anti-western, anti-government, and in some cases anti-white,” said John Miller, the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counter-terrorism.
I will update more as evidence rolls in.