I need to write this story to keep as a reference to something that was said to me on my 45 minute call with Winnipeg Police Representative Rob Carver. At one point in our conversation he was explaining how hard it can be to get terrorism charges in Canada, and said that “experts,” had agreed that Alek Minassian had committed a “Van of Peace,” attack, murdering 9 in Toronto because he was an incel. Well, I looked that claim up.

Borealis Threat and Risk:

That very thing occurred on April 23, 2018 when a van careened down Yonge Street, a major north-south thoroughfare in Toronto, striking pedestrians randomly: ten were killed and 16 injured, the victims ranging in age from 22 to 94. The driver, 25-year old Alek Minassian, later stopped and tried to effect what is commonly called ‘suicide by cop’: i.e.. get shot by a police officer while posing a threat. He failed in what was an extraordinary action by a Toronto officer who assessed he was in no immediate danger and took the suspect alive.

Prior to his rampage, Minassian posted on FaceBook “Private (Recruit) [Doe] Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please.C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger.” He was referring to ‘involuntary celibates‘ and Elliot Rodger, an American who in May 2014 killed six people and injured fourteen others in California before killing himself. Rodger had left a rambling 141-page ‘manifesto’ blaming ‘Chads’ and ‘Staceys’ (men and women who get all the sex) for his inability to have a meaningful sexual relationship.

Alek Minassian

I dunno. Sounds kind of like an open and shut case of an Incel Terrorist attack.

In the hours and days following Minassian’s despicable acts, ‘experts’ proclaimed with the utmost confidence that he was a violent incel, that this was an act of terrorism, that Canada’s security services should drop everything and focus on this form of violent extremism and that this was the new ‘wave’ of terrorism.

And on every single count the ‘instant experts’ were wrong.

In her judgment Justice Anne Molloy dispelled most of these foregone conclusions. Minassian, she wrote, was not an incel but used this trope to justify his act: he had long fantasised about mass murder and wanted to ‘set a record’ for the most kills. This was an act of mass murder, not terrorism. Another crime of this magnitude has not been replicated anywhere, let alone in Canada, since (never say never, but one can maintain that for all kinds of phenomena).

In other words, Alek Minassian was a run of the mill psychotic nut, who fantasized about committing mass murder for years. But for some reason, he wanted an excuse for his actions, so he pretended to be some sort of Incel Rebellion whatever. I have a sneaking suspicion that, with a name like Minassian, there may have been some ISIS involvement, but we do know that there are crazy psychotic people like that out there.

More egregiously, after this attack the Liberal government in Canada revised how our security services looked at terrorism and crafted a document in which the neologism Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremism (IMVE) (what was wrong with terrorism, which we have used for decades?) was invented and a new category – gender-driven violence – which has little to do with terrorism was added. This form of violence is better seen as misogyny or a hate crime, not terrorism (although terrorist groups often have misogyny and hate built into their ideologies and actions). This was a purely political move.

Sort of weird eh? One of the reasons I hate conspiracy theories so much is that they are completely unnecessary. Having said that, I have to wonder what Alek Minassian thought he was going to gain from pretending to be an incel doing terrorism. 

In a rush to label this violent act we lost sight of the need to have data, solid data, on which to base our analysis. Minassian’s one Facebook message – one! – posted just prior to his crime was taken as incontrovertible evidence that he was an incel and that this was the cusp of a horrific campaign of misogynistic terrorism. And yet Justice Molloy found that Minassian had lied about his ‘ties’ to incels, made up alleged conversations with Rodger and Chris Mercer (another incel killer), and simply used this fictitious link to embellish his image. Basing a theory on one data point is lousy work.

That makes sense. He wanted to murder a ton of people, and he wanted people talking about it as much as possible. In a different article the judge makes clear that numerous experts agreed that notoriety was his primary motivation. 

I hope that sets the record straight if you ever hear anyone bring this up pretending that getting terrorism charges is this really hard thing. The only reason they didn’t get him on terrorism charges, is because he wasn’t committing mass murder for political gain, he was doing it because he was completely fucked in the head.

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