At least 13 people were killed Thursday in Barcelona in what authorities are calling a terrorist act, and the case once again demonstrates that terrorists – or other people determined to commit mayhem – don’t require firearms to pile up a body count.
The perpetrators used a rented van to mow down scores of people in a shopping district, according to various published reports. Two men have reportedly been arrested according to an account in The Sun.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reported that one man was fatally shot after speeding through a roadblock and opening fire on police. One suspect has been identified as a “Spanish national of North African descent.”
This sort of attack seems to be gaining in popularity, according to a report from CNN. In recent memory, there was the massive truck ramming event in Nice, France last year. Another ramming incident occurred in Berlin, yet another in Stockholm and in London and Jerusalem.
Vehicles have become the weapon du jour among terrorists or even would-be terrorists. There was that incident at Ohio State University last November in which a man plowed his car into a group of students before leaping out and stabbing several people. He was shot dead by a university police officer. He was identified as a Somali refugee, Abdul Razak Ali Artan.
In Charlottesville, Virginia last Saturday, anti-gunners were appalled by the appearance of several people apparently linked to some militia organization openly carrying firearms. Everytown for Gun Safety has been trying to capitalize on that, linking open carry and gun ownership to the white supremacist movement. The one fatality, however, came because a man drove his car into a crowd of people. The suspect in that case is now in custody facing criminal charges.
According to Reuters, the terrorist group ISIS has claimed responsibility for Thursday’s Barcelona attack. At least 80 people were injured, and that’s based on preliminary reports.
So, what are gun prohibitionists to do? Nobody is going to demand background checks for vehicles because if they did, there would be an argument that such checks would not prevent this kind of violence. Bad guys would just use stolen vehicles.
Sounds familiar, right?
Terrorists have discovered that cars, vans and trucks are rolling bludgeons. One can speed into a crowded market in Europe or maybe a crowded open air place like Seattle’s Westlake Plaza on a nice day and mow down people like blades of grass.
One might wonder how gun prohibitionists will try to exploit such an incident to further their agenda. Don’t worry, they will find a way.