By Ben Johnson Published on December 8, 2019
Some events come to represent whole eras of history. They embody the spirit of the times and prophesy the shape of things to come. John F. Kennedy’s promise to “send a man to the moon in this decade,” Jimmy Carter hopelessly overpowered by a killer jackrabbit.
The West just witnessed another epoch-defining event: The London Bridge terror attack over Thanksgiving weekend, when a knife-wielding Islamic terrorist was subdued by men armed only with fire extinguishers and a narwhal tusk. Unfortunately, what marks this episode is not its heroism. It is its helplessness.
The Wrath of Khan
The assailant, 28-year-old Usman Khan, was the UK-born son of Pakistani immigrants. He had already been convicted for terrorism with eight other members of a terror cell inspired by al-Qaeda. But he soon learned how to work within the system. Just months after his conviction, he wrote the authorities that he was now “much more mature and want to live my life as a good Muslim and also a good citizen of Britain.” An appeals judge ruled Khan exaggerated his plans as a way of “bigging up” his terrorist credentials. He commuted Khan’s “indeterminate” sentence to 16 years, which made Khan eligible for automatic release, without a parole board hearing, last December.
Khan completed two programs to deradicalize Islamist terrorists. He was attending a conference for the prisoner rehabilitation when he threatened to blow up Fishmongers’ Hall.
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Khan murdered two of the conference organizers — 25-year-old James Merritt and 23-year-old Saskia Jones. A Polish chef, Lukasz Koczocik, heard the racket and grabbed a long stick off a nearby wall. Although Khan slashed him five times, he held Khan at bay while another bystander grabbed a narwhal tusk and a third sprayed Khan with a fire extinguisher. After they drove him onto London Bridge, a plainclothes policeman grabbed Khan’s knife. Two passing tour guides entered the fray. Eventually, London police arrived and shot the terrorist.
Observers outside the UK obsessed over the makeshift weapons. The blue-checkmark brigade found the “narwhal tusk” hilarious. “All I want for Christmas is a narwhal tusk and a fire extinguisher,” cracked CNN’s house “Republican” Ana Navarro-Cárdenas. NARAL President Ilyse Hogue even found hope that “when a society is not armed to the teeth, terrorists can be stopped with a narwhal tusk and a couple fire extinguishers.”
It’s nice to see NARAL oppose a man threatening innocent people with sharp instruments for once. But Hogue’s take stands reality on its head. The sight of besieged civilians fighting off a native-born Islamic terrorist with a tusk could be the face of the West’s future.
To give everyone a clear mental picture, here is video footage of the scene: