Holiday shoppers and revelers in Stockholm, Sweden, tarrying throughout the popular shopping district on a leisurely weekend afternoon, were suddenly exposed to the violent and chaotic whims of Islamic fundamentalism. Within moments of each other, a car bomb exploded near a group of people in the area of Drottninggatan, while only yards away a suspected suicide bomber lay prostrate on the ground, bleeding from the abdomen and the apparent lone recipient of an explosion intended for many.
Minutes before the explosions occurred, Sweden’s security service (SAPO) and media outlets received an email warning of the impending attacks.
Through sheer luck was the only death on the streets of Stockholm that of the suicide bomber himself. Two others suffered injuries from the car blast. Many more could have been killed.
Although the Swedish government acknowledged the underlying terrorist nature of the dual attacks, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt lamentably denied the obvious. “Three things occurred in a close space of time yesterday: A car exploded in Olof Palmes Gata, a man blew himself at Bryggargatan, and a news agency and SAPO received a warning message. We cannot confirm that the events are linked, although it obviously raises questions.”
Raises questions? Perhaps. But not to the simultaneity and fused nature of each event. The car blast, suicide bombing, and email threats were not mutually exclusive. They represented a coordinated, brazen, and deadly glimpse at the evolving terror threat which is increasingly penetrating Western society.
The public does not benefit from a denial of the obvious. Rather, the public will more fully benefit from a government committed to a frank discussion on the contemporary terrorist threat.
Whether the act of a lone jihadi or the coordinated efforts of a pan-Islamic organization, a more informed public stands a greater chance of providing the law enforcement and intelligence communities with the key information necessary to preventing the culmination of future terrorist attacks.
Scott Erickson has worked in the field of law enforcement for the past decade and holds both his B.S. and M.S. in Criminal Justice Studies. He is a contributor to The Daily Caller and writes on myriad political, national security, and counterterrorism issues. His blog can be found at www.scottgerickson.com