Such details as are available for the Las Vegas killer (causing 59 deaths and 527 injuries) do not suggest he was directly influenced by ISIS, although that body claims responsibility (it obviously suits it to claim responsibility for deaths in the US). However, the killer (Paddock, white) may have been indirectly influenced by that body’s jihadist policy of killing those perceived to be opposed to Islam. For details of Paddock’s life, see Vegas Killer’s Background.
Coinciding with the US killings are two reports of terrorist action in France and Canada (2 deaths and 5 injured) and a report that “Last week Islamic State released a new recording, supposedly of leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — whom the Russians believed dead — exhorting followers to strike at the West” (see IS Attacks in France & Canada). Australia is of course subject to a possible attack.
Interestingly, while last evening’s 6.30 TV news on SBS reported Las Vegas and these other two incidents, the 7.00 ABC TV news reported only on Las Vegas and failed to mention either the French or Canadian incidents or the report of a Baghdadi statement. Nor did it mention them on ABC Radio News this morning. But it did not forget to discuss the gun control issue in the US.
An important development here (presumably prompted by Las Vegas) is today’s report that the recently appointed (30 March) NSW Police Commissioner Fuller is claiming that his establishment of a “fixated persons unit” of 17 in the NSW police force has, in the last six months, resulted in 6 people having been charged and 32 investigated in regard to terrorist activity or threats (see NSW Policy on Combating Terrorism).It appears that (sensibly) this unit is responsible for preventing attacks by terrorists and by those who become obsessed with other extreme views about perceived threats from sources other than religious ones. This has led to the establishment of a close relationship between NSW police and health officials, including the Chief Psychiatrist. The latter is reported as saying that they only share health information when they are convinced there is potential for serious harm.
It may be that the 15 year old, charged last week with two counts of attempted murder for allegedly driving a car strait at individuals in Swanston St, is a fixated person. Contrary to initial reports, however, it is now being said that he does not have a mental health problem (see Melbourne Attacker Not Mentally Ill).
In his response, Turnbull has been fast off the mark in announcing that State and territory leaders will meet on Thursday for a special national security summit. “We must constantly improve our laws and our techniques to stay ahead of those who seek to do us harm” (see extracts Aus Meeting of PM & States on National Security). It is to be hoped that Turnbull will tell the meeting that, while Islamic Extremism is the most serious source of terrorism facing Australia, counter-terrorist policies should be extended to counter this not only through intelligence agencies but also through police action of the type adopted by the NSW establishment of a fixated persons unit.
Gas Policy Went Missing
Last week Turnbull said that the agreement on additional domestic gas supplies would be concluded today and would be legally binding. So far, however, there has been no indication of what has happened or will happen to this in the period ahead. Parliament resumes in two weeks time.