The international media is noting the response of Canadian authorities after a Canadian man driving a van struck and killed several people on a sidewalk in Toronto on Monday.
In a scene similar to what we’ve seen unfold in several countries — France, Germany, and the United States, to name a few — Alek Minassian, 25, killed 10 people and injured 15 after he drove onto a crowded sidewalk.
The Canadian media has been measured in trying to determine the Minassian’s motives, avoiding any speculation that could link Minassian to a terrorist group, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau immediately released a statement saying that there was no national security component to the attack:
“We have no reason to suspect that there is any national security element to this attack,” Canadian PM Justin Trudeau says after a white van rammed pedestrians in Toronto. https://t.co/W8Qe9ehLaU pic.twitter.com/AQzhbRpZY6
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) April 24, 2018
Footage shot by a witness shows Minassian waving an object at a police officer, saying he has a gun, and asking the officer to kill him. The office calmly replies, “I don’t care. Get down.” He is taken down and handcuffed without any apparent injuries.
Minassian appeared in court on Tuesday and is facing 10 counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.
Canadians aren’t surprised that police did not kill Minassian:
I’m surprised at how many journos are surprised that Toronto police didn’t shoot the van murder suspect. You know that police are specifically not supposed to act as judge, jury and executioner, right? We need to normalize non-violent police intervention.
— Nora Loreto (@NoLore) April 23, 2018
In America Innocent people say “Don’t shoot” and are shot.In Canada an evidently guilty person says “Kill me. I have a gun” and is spared their life to face justiceToronto hasn’t become less safe. It has exemplified what it means to be Canadian. #TorontoStrong #TorontoAttack
— Sasha Jacob (@Sasha_Jacob) April 24, 2018
But many outlets — such as the BBC — are in shock that Toronto police managed to take Minassian in alive, with zero gunshot wounds.
The BBC quotes an expert as saying that “Research has shown that Canadian police are reluctant users of deadly force.” BBC screenshot.
San Jose’s Mercury News went with a similar headline:
Though that has not stopped anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim groups and individuals from using their usual talking points in discussing the attack online, even though Minassian’s religion has not been reported and his ethnic background seems entirely irrelevant:
From last year. Toronto’s Muslim population is 8% and will soon be more than 10%. https://t.co/ChTK2COpK3
— Gavin McInnes (@Gavin_McInnes) April 23, 2018
There’s also a video posted on YouTube calling Minassian a “Muslim terrorist” and linking to a piece from the Daily Mail, a largely anti-immigrant British news outlet.
A video on YouTube refers to Minassian as a “Muslim terrorist.” (Screenshot, YouTube)
The linked article mentions that urging followers to drive into crowds is a tactic employed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS, and a former columnist for the paper (whose contract was not renewed after she falsely accused a British Muslim family of having terrorist links) wasted no time in not only linking Minassian to terrorism, but to Prime Minister Trudeau as well:
Ten dead Trudeau. Ten. No one needs your thoughts. Do not say you carry on as normal. That you ‘stand united’. Those dead men, women and children do not. Their families do not. You brought this. You are complicit in it. Politicians like you are terrorist shills. #TorontoAttack pic.twitter.com/Eil8hFWZ5a
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) April 24, 2018