Halifax expert says Edmonton terror attack, Las Vegas shooting “extremely rare” events
Within 24 hours, both a suspected terrorist attack in Edmonton and a deadly shooting in Las Vegas took place.
Although it’s nearly impossible to whether something like that could happen elsewhere, a Halifax security expert says these cases are extremely rare.
“You’re at much greater risk being hit by a car than you are being shot by a terrorist,” said Kevin Quigley, director of the MacEachen Institute for Public Policy & Governance at Dalhousie University.
“When you send your kids off to school this morning, you shouldn’t necessarily warn them to be extra vigilant about terrorism but you should tell them to be mindful about the cars because they’re much more likely to be hurt by a car than they will be by a terrorist. The issue around terrorism, it’s approaching zero a statistician would say. It’s extremely rare but it does happen.”
It’s believed at this time the suspects in both the Edmonton terrorism incident and the deadly Las Vegas shooting acted alone – or as lone wolves.
“From a security standpoint, it’s extremely difficult to manage the risks associated with lone actors,” said Quigley.
“When we talk about lone wolves we talk about somebody who actually isn’t necessarily on the radar of security services, they’re not part of a network and it’s just a surprise. The person has acted individually and it’s not always clear what their motives are and they’re very difficult to guard against because if you’re not operating in some network, it’s harder for intelligence to pick up signals.”
WATCH: Las Vegas Massacre: Eyewitness
Quigley says when something like the Las Vegas mass shooting occurs, there is a spike in media coverage, which differs from how other topics, such as natural disasters, are handled.
“People are fascinated by the drama of it,” said Quigley.
“What we tend to see with acts of terror like this, high volume coverage immediately. It’s very dramatic, it’s very emotionally engaging and obviously there’s massive demand for it.”
“If you look at what happened in Las Vegas yesterday, everybody with their handheld devices, there’s all this video available so it’s very easy to pick those videos up and amplify them.”
Quigley says Las Vegas was hit hard during the 2007-2008 financial crisis and believes the city now being home to the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history could have a lasting impact for the economy.
“Another aspect to this story I suppose is the consequences economically for the city, when you have this large scale broadcast of a horrific event that will be in circulation for quite some time,” he said.
Quigley doesn’t believe that incidents like what happened this weekend should have an impact on our day-to-day life.
“When you put it in perspective, think of how many people went to a football game this weekend in the United States, how many people went to hockey games across North America, how many people went to football matches in Europe. Hundreds of thousands and millions of people went to these games and they were undisturbed,” he said.
“When you put it in perspective, these are extraordinarily rare events and they really shouldn’t have any kind of impact on our behaviour at this point.”
For their part, Nova Scotia RCMP say citizens may see an increased police presence following the events in Edmonton and Las Vegas, as they continue to exercise increased vigilance.
“We’re not aware of any threats or any concerns to the public right now here in our area,” said Cpl. Dal Hutchinson.
Anyone with information about possible criminal threats to national security is encouraged to immediately call the RCMP’s National Security Information Network at 1-800-420-5805.
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