On CANADA DAY (July 1) we could easily have had a disaster on the lawn in front of the British Columbia legislature in Victoria, with similar effects in terms of injured and maybe deaths as occurred only two months ago at the Boston Marathon.
Canada experienced the dubious “first” in recent times of having the first female involved in a planned bombing. (I remember the left wing Baader-Meinhof terrorist group with the famous couple staging attacks in Germany in the seventies).
This young woman, Amanda, was born in 1983 and is two years older than my daughter who lived also in Victoria until recently. Together with her boyfriend, John, born in 1974, Amanda placed three home made bombs in the crowd that was celebrating Canada Day, a rather friendly and sedate–and typically Canadian–festivity where we enjoy being Canadian and listen to bands performing for free. It was Canada’s 146th birthday.
Canadians paint their faces with little maple leaf flags in red and white. Ethnic foods are offered and readily consumed. More exuberant youth dress in flags and paint part, or their whole bodies red and white. In the evening crowds gather for the fire works while many youth take this opportunity to indulge a little in the alcoholic variety of drink. This takes places all over Canada in small and large towns, and in our big cities. It is a nice day off that offers one day in the year for use to be (guardedly) proud of being Canadian.
Analogue to the home grown terrorists that caused such mayhem at the Boston marathon, these two BC residents placed pressure cookers with nails and other sharp object in the crowd. It would have been an even greater disaster than that unfortunate event that shocked the American people and their neighbouring Canadians. Nobody of the public knew about this operation in progress,were it not that the bombs did not go off.
On July 2 these you radicalized youth were arrested in a city on the mainland close to Vancouver (Abbotsford) on Monday at 2 PM by the RCMP. They were brought before a judge, charged with conspiring to place an explosive device in a public place with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity and being in possession of an explosive device.
It is getting close to home: 2 young people, one of them a musician from the province of BC, the so-called California North, and I wonder why these young people with their whole life before them resort to such a destructive act that surely would bring them a whole lot of attention and notoriety in this otherwise laid back province and equally peaceful nation.
The police are closed mouthed and only informed the public that the Canadian Security Intelligence Services detected the plot early, in February, and that many targets and locations for the assault were discussed since then. The police stated that they made sure that the devices would not be alive and were completely under their control, and presented at no time a threat to the public.
They gave no motive for the attempt and pronounced that no links to international organizations were present. This couple allegedly acted strictly on their own, and no direction from any terrorist group was connected to them, although for some reason the police spokesperson found it necessary to add that the threat was “inspired by al Qaeda ideology”, whatever that might be. The next court date will be in a week.
The pair has been living in basement suite in Surrey, another suburb of Vancouver. No other information was presented.
The newly elected premier of our province, Christy Clark, stated that she was informed of the pending arrest that same morning, shortly before she headed out to celebrate Canada Day in Kelowna–my city! It so coincidentally happened that she is campaigning here. Ms Clark lost her own seat in her riding as member of the BC Legislature in the last election. It is weird fro the premier not to be elected herself, so the caucus arranged for the current member to step down and create a need for the by-election in our region: a traditional area where her party is strong.
I did not watch any TV at all as I was out most of the day on Canada Day, watching performers in concerts and having a few drinks myself. When I heard the news the following day, I was pretty shocked, but pleased that these two young people were stopped in their tracks. I also wondered whether staging attacks with home made bombs is now the new bad boy/bad girl thing to do, when nothing else can hold their attention–or get them attention? I surely hope not.
Many of our young people stay quite sedated and passive, causing nobody grief. I wondered what happened to BC bud (the notoriously strong local weed with high levels of THC) that it did not manage to keep these two placated and passive. Maybe they did not smoke it habitually or not often. I am sure eventually we will hear what happened to these two young people who ruined pretty much the rest of their lives, for the most part. I am glad for us and for them that they did not become killers.
Do you have any thoughts about this event or anything you wanted to comment on? I would love to hear it.
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