What makes a terrorist? Is it several factors that influence an individual to perform heinous acts or is one born with a predisposition to evil?
When it comes to the recent attack in London, we must still ponder about the terrorist’s reasoning. As reported by BBC, on Wednesday afternoon of March 22, Khalid Masood sent five people to their deaths and injured at least another 50 people.
Masood drove his car over the Westminster Bridge near Houses of Parliament and drove into several pedestrians who expected nothing more than a normal day.
Once he entered the bridge, he reportedly sped up to 76 mph. Although the attack lasted only 82 seconds, lives were destroyed forever in those brief moments. The two people who were instantly killed from being hit by the car were Aysha Frade, a British citizen, and American Kurt Cochran who was on a vacation with his wife. The American couple from Utah was celebrating their 25th anniversary and although Mrs. Cochran was injured as well, she is reported to be improving.
Several other people were injured in the car attack as well, with one woman falling into the River Thames. Including both citizens and visitors, the origins of those injured ranged from 12 countries. Children were amongst those injured and an elderly man eventually passed away from his injuries. Masood’s car crashed into the railings shortly after hitting the pedestrians.
However, the attack wasn’t over yet. Masood exited his car and sprinted towards Parliament. A police officer, Keith Palmer, was stabbed multiple times and passed away nearly immediately. Masood was then shot dead by police officers.
Masood, 52, was born Adrian Russell Elms in Kent. After teaching English as a second language in Saudi Arabia, Masood converted to Islam and changed his name. He later came back home to the UK in 2010.
Although he held a criminal past, it was Masood’s first terrorist act. He had been to jail two years prior for slashing a man’s cheek in a pub fight. After returning back to everyday life, Masood left the village the crime was committed in, where his former partner and three children stayed for a few years.
People Masood had encountered in the past came forth and reported more of his history of violent outbursts and threats, as well as an alleged cocaine addiction. He is believed to have been investigated earlier for violent extremism. After intensive investigation, there is no evidence at this time the attack is related to Al-Qaeda.
London will remember this horrible attack. Groups of women have already assembled on Westminster Bridge to honor the victims and stand up for terrorism.
They formed a long line against the bridge’s railings and held hands for several minutes. Many women were decorated with head scarves in blue colors to send a message of hope. It was a brief but powerful gesture.
One woman, Sarah Waseem, said that Islam “totally condemns violence of any sort.” It’s important to remember this was an attack carried out by a delusional man and it does not represent Islam and Masood does not subscribe to true Islam, despite his claims.
Police believe Masood carried out the attack by himself and that no additional future attacks have been planned. However, the terror threat level in the UK is at severe and the country is keeping an eye open for possible further attacks.
However, the question why Masood carried this out still lingers on in the minds of the police and victims. The investigation will continue, but we may never know why Masood decided to rent a car and act as a grim reaper, taking away innocent lives on a quiet Wednesday afternoon.