Should a man who believes he’s being chased by the devil, shape pubic policy and guide international relations?
Dave Bathurst was a friend of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau — the gunman whose brief shooting rampage yesterday led to the Canadian capital city, Ottowa, getting locked down for several hours.
The Globe and Mail reports:
Mr. Bathurst said he met Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau in a Burnaby, B.C., mosque about three years ago. He said his friend did not at first appear to have extremist views or inclinations toward violence – but at times exhibited a disturbing side.
“We were having a conversation in a kitchen, and I don’t know how he worded it: He said the devil is after him,” Mr. Bathurst said in an interview. He said his friend frequently talked about the presence of Shaytan in the world – an Arabic term for devils and demons. “I think he must have been mentally ill.”
Nevertheless, Mike Morell, CBS News senior security contributor and former CIA deputy director, seems to believe that Zehaf-Bibeau represents a threat to the United States:
I'm much more concerned about the Canada border than the Mexican border. — Mike Morell
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) October 23, 2014
Unlike Morrell, I’m much more concerned about what his own reaction reveals about thinking inside the CIA than what Zehaf-Bibeau reveals about Canada.
In 2012 there were seven murders in Ottawa (population close to a million), 2013 nine murders, and so far in 2014 there have been five (including yesterday’s).
The overwhelming majority of the crazy men running round shooting innocent people are on this side of the border. What makes them dangerous is much less the ideas in their heads than the ease with which they can lay their hands on a gun.
It’s often hard to be clear about what should be described as terrorism. What’s much easier to discern is hysteria.