I was going to write about the failed nail-bomber in Exeter but I didn’t for various reasons. The main reason is that the guy may have been a Muslim convert but there’s no evidence to suggest he was part of an active cell. It may very well have been that the mentally ill convert became more radicalised on his own and went out on a warpath alone.
In that context he is no different to a severely mentally ill person who attacks someone without provocation. I do also want to say most mentally ill don’t do this, so I don’t want to feed into the media narrative that mentally ill people are a menace to society. In most cases they are a danger to themselves.
For example, on Harry’s Place Brett says:
Now we know Islamist terrorists in Iraq use mentally disabled people as suicide bombers, but it would be a quite a wake-up if our local jihadis have now adopted similar tactics.
And this is where I become somewhat suspicious you see. The story of the twin-bombs in Baghdad, detonated apparently by women with Down’s Syndrome (we blogged it too) was never confirmed by medical reports. In fact, I remember watching a video on the NY Times website (which I can’t find now) where an intelligence officer cited that as an example of the US military getting a grip on their public relations (meaning propaganda) and putting out that story before anything had been confirmed.
So, beware received wisdom that mentally ill people are good fodder for suicide bombers. Not that it makes much difference, but my point is that the Exeter bombing incident may have more to it than meets the eye.
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