Yeah, I’m a little worried.
A 15 year old boy was arrested for seeking to kill Pope Francis. His plot seemed to be simple and not really all that well formed. We’re told not to worry.
FBI Special Agent Jeff Lanza told Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT:
“You have a minor who, it sounds like, they’ve been inspired by ISIS through social media. People at that age are very easily swayed in their opinions and swayed to take action. This was probably not anything that would’ve resulted in harm to the Pope given the security level, given this kid’s a 15-year-old and hardly would’ve been able to do what he was trying to do. So, I think that’s why the police are downplaying it. But security issues involving any person, especially such a high profiled person like the Pope are always going to be a concern.”
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says the threat against Pope Francis reported was being blown way out of proportion. He called the plot, in which the 15-year-old is accused of viewing ISIS propaganda on the Internet, making overseas contacts online, and receiving information on building explosives, more “aspirational” than imminent.
Until it’s imminent. I understand Philly doesn’t want to make this a big issue because the city wants people to feel safe heading into the city. But here’s the thing, you don’t need to be a genius to kill someone. And you don’t need to be 18 years old.
You can be disorganized and cowardly and still succeed in doing evil. Look at the members of the Black Hand who succeeded in executing Archduke Franz Ferdinand:
The Water’s Edge tells it this way:
The assassins had a distinct advantage in carrying out their attack: the archduke’s plans to visit Sarajevo had been public since March, and his motorcade route had been published in the local newspaper. On the morning of June 28, they took up their positions along the planned route. The first two would-be assassins lost their nerve and allowed the car to pass. The third threw a bomb at the archduke’s car. The device bounced off the back of the car before exploding. Several Austrian officers in the next car were wounded, but the archduke and his wife were unharmed.
Franz Ferdinand reacted calmly to the attack. Apparently convinced that calling off the day’s activities would be seen as evidence of Austrian weakness, he said, “The fellow is insane. Gentlemen, let us proceed with the program.” The motorcade drove to the town hall. There the town’s mayor greeted the archduke with a prepared speech that declared that “All of the citizens of the capital city of Sarajevo find that their souls are filled with happiness, and they most enthusiastically greet Your Highness’s most illustrious visit with the most cordial of welcomes.” The Archduke erupted in anger: “One comes here to visit and is received with bombs. Mr. Mayor, what do you say? It’s outrageous!” Sophie intervened and calmed Franz Ferdinand down. The mayor resumed his speech. The archduke gave one of his own, reading from a paper speckled with the blood of one of the Austrian officers wounded in the morning’s attack.
With the speeches concluded, the talk turned to what to do next. Franz Ferdinand dismissed a suggestion that he cut his day short. He instead decided to visit the wounded officers. Sophie, who had been scheduled to leave her husband at the town hall, insisted on going with him to the hospital.
The royal motorcade left the town hall and retraced its steps through Sarajevo. No one, however, had thought to tell the driver of the change in plans. He followed the original route. When he turned onto a side street—oddly enough named Franz Josef Strasse—his passengers shouted that he had gone the wrong way. The driver stopped. The car, which had no reverse gear, was slowly pushed back onto the main street.
It was a fateful mistake. Standing across the street was nineteen year-old Gavrilo Princip, one of the assassins. He had taken up a position there in the event that the motorcade stuck to its original route. He did what his co-conspirators failed to do. He walked up to the archduke’s car and fired his gun twice from point-blank range. The bullets struck Franz Ferdinand in the neck and Sophie in the abdomen. She cried out to her husband: “For God’s sake! What has happened to you?” and then slumped into his lap. The archduke cried out in anguish: “Sophie, Sophie! Don’t die! Live for our children!” He then too collapsed, muttering over and over “It is nothing.” Within minutes both the archduke and his beloved Sophie were dead. It was just after 11:00 a.m.
His mission accomplished, Princip attempted to kill himself, first by ingesting cyanide and then by shooting himself. The cyanide only made him retch, and bystanders knocked the gun from his hand. He was dragged away from the scene by police. He would eventually be tried and convicted for killing Franz Ferdinand and Sophie. He was spared the death penalty because he was under the age of twenty. He died in prison in 1918 of tuberculosis. Three of his co-conspirators were hanged.
No geniuses there. And under the age of twenty too.
I guess it’s partly human nature to downplay things that didn’t happen. But if it did, people would be yelling how didn’t we take that threat seriously?
And just because the kid is 15 doesn’t make this a childish prank. Dylan Klebold was 17 when he entered Columbine High School with murderous intent. His age didn’t prevent him from performing monstrous evil.
If someone said they wanted to kill you and were downloading information on how to build a bomb, wouldn’t you consider that threat pretty real?