July 23rd, 2016

Munich: terrorists targeting children

So, was the Munich gunman an Islamist terrorist, or a crazy guy who wanted to imitate school shootings, or a “German” who hated foreigners (despite his Iranian origins)? It’s pretty clear to me that the German authorities really don’t know yet, if in fact they’ll ever know (the gunman committed suicide). Plus, I wouldn’t necessarily trust them to tell us if they did know.

In fact, right now I’m going to assume that it was some hybrid of at least two of those things, probably Islamic terrorist-inspired crazy person who imitated other shooting sprees. So far they’re saying the shooter, a 18-year old Iranian-German (whatever that means), was named Ali Sonboly, that he had once been treated for depression, that he had read a book about school shootings, that he may have yelled the usual Muslim profession of faith during the shooting spree, and that he may have set up some victims by luring them to MacDonalds with a Facebook post about free food there.

Authorities say they not know his motives, and it also seems very unclear which reports of his behavior are true and which are unsubstantiated rumors. And if Sonboly was a homicidal maniac or psychopathic school shooter a la Adam Lanza at Newtown, for example, why then did he not target a school? Plus, although two of his victims were 13 years old, the rest were older.

German-Iranians can be homicidal maniacs, too, I suppose, without being political. It is also the case that overt ties with Islamist terrorist groups (or other terrorist groups, for that matter) are not necessary for a person to be motivated by admiration for them and unofficial affiliation with them. In the case of Sonboly’s attack, the police are analyzing “a video in which the gunman is seen and heard exchanging racial slurs and profanities with another man. ‘We are trying to determine who said what,’ a police spokesman said.” One thing you can say about the ubiquity of cell phones these days—they certainly offer a lot of forensic evidence to analyze.

In case Sonboly really did purposely target young people, either as an Islamic terrorist or anti-foreign terrorist or as a rampage murderer, or as some combination of several, I’m going to repeat a portion of a post I wrote on the occasion of the Newtown shootings, on the subject of the targeting of children:

As for the question of, “why did the Newtown shooter [Lanza] choose very young children as his targets?”, my answer would be that in many such cases it’s in order to maximize the evil and the resultant horror and revulsion…

As time goes on and more information is revealed, I may change my mind about this, but until then my leading theory is what I’ve come to think of as the Pied Piper Impulse…[I]f a person is filled with inchoate rage at almost everything and everyone in the town around him, what better way to exact revenge then to kill the town’s youngest, sweetest, cutest, most beloved, and most vulnerable residents—its…children? And what better way to impress on the world what a cold-blooded and to-be-feared killer he is/(was)?

Child-killers, even serial child-killers, usually operate from very different motives than a mass killer such as Lanza. They are often pedophilic kidnapper-rapists who then murder their victims. Other single or multiple child-killers are harshly punitive parents and/or parents gone mad. But mass murderers of children often have a political agenda which we define as terrorist (for example, the Beslan horror, in which terrorists caused the death of over 300 people, many of them children of similar age as the victims in Newtown; and the shootings in Norway in which Breivik killed 77 people, most of them teenagers). Terrorists seem to operate under the Pied Piper Impulse of “get them where it hurts” in order to maximize both their leverage and the fear and grief their acts engender.

13 Responses to “Munich: terrorists targeting children”

  1. Lizzy Says:

    After hearing that the shooter was targeting children I got a sick feeling: time to brace ourselves for another Beslan.

  2. blert Says:

    The buzz is now that he launched a meme on Facebook informing teens and others that McDonald’s was going to be proffering free food that day.

    We’ll see if this buzz holds up.

  3. Esther Says:

    Iran is said to mean, “land of the Aryans.” Can a screwy identity narrative be confabulated about that?

  4. J.J. Says:

    Targeting children is a way to inflict maximum psychic pain. As a parent who has lost a child I can agree with that. However, my child died in an accident. I was left with bottomless grief not outrage.

    He who murders a child gains a lifelong enemy. Anyone who saw Pat Smith speak at the Republican convention can sense that she is on a lifelong quest to see justice done for the murder of her son, Sean.

    When a jihadi targets children, will that finally bring a sense of outrage to our President and our national conscience? I don’t see it happening. That, in itself, is outrageous.

  5. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “When a jihadi targets children, will that finally bring a sense of outrage to our President and our national conscience?”

    If it doesn’t, the consequence is clear; a society that won’t protect its children has no future.

    I’m doubtful too, as many Americans have already expressed strong support for sacrificing children to political correctness.

    Two demonstrations serve as proof; two gay men or two lesbians cannot by definition provide a parental role model of the opposite sex from themselves to a child and, allowing men into women’s facilities provides pedophiles unfettered access to the young.

  6. parker Says:


    Tagging onto GB’s comment, I would add that diseases are being brought into the country unchecked and unscreened, and thus into our schools. Criminal illegal aliens are coming across our borders repeatedly and causing death and mayhem, and Ryan pushes to fund sanctuary cities where repeat criminal offenders are coddled and given social services at our expense.

    It will take many deaths before a serious push back arises.

  7. expat Says:

    Joe Joffe is publisher of Die Zeit weekly newspaper in Germany He was also one of the people involved in establishing The American Interest. He is at Hoover Institute, and he knows more about real America than any other person in Germany. I thought you might like to read what he has to say about Munich.


  8. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Said it before: Let’s a presume a Beslan goes down here, possibly in the ‘burbs or the country.
    The site will be surrounded by scores, possibly hundreds of grim, armed citizens, held back by the police.
    After all is over, these people; frustrated, grieving, incandescently angry at their inability to stop the thing, without the release of combat…..
    If you have Muslim friends, encourage them to keep their car gassed up and a bugout bag handy.

  9. expat Says:

    Here is a WaPo piece on teenage shooters.

    Also, the latest reports from Germany say that this was in the planning for a year. They found cellphone photos of the shooter casing the area. Also they think he got the gun from a dark site on the internet where criminals frequently get guns.

    they are still people on the web saying this was connected to Islamic terrorism and that the gun probably came from a mosque. Isn’t it amazing how many mind readers we have in this country? I can barely read comments on most sites anymore.

  10. Richard Aubrey Says:

    expat. Thing is, if he weren’t in Germany, he couldn’t have done this in Germany. Most countries have enough troubles of their own without importing more.

  11. Ymarsakar Says:

    Sounds, so far, like a combination of “second generation” migrant “German” combined with certain crazy “let’s shoot up kindergarten” thinking like the Democrats have in the USA.

  12. Ymarsakar Says:

    I don’t see it happening. That, in itself, is outrageous.

    I feel that is normal. I’ve seen evil like that all the time. Even as Americans said in 2008, that everything was A Okay, that elections would save the nation and even the world.

    As if that could ever happen.

  13. miklos000rosza Says:

    I have atrocity fatigue. I’m unmoved by these incidents happening one after another with neither governments nor news media trustworthy reporters of exact facts. Backlash is overdue, however much it will be madly deplored when it arrives.

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