Never in Sweden! A Nation in Shock
"It swerved from side to side. It didn't look out of control, it was trying to hit people."
"It hit people, it was terrible. It hit a pram with a kid in it, demolished it."
Glen Foran, Australian tourist in Stockholm
"I heard the noise, I heard the screams, I saw the people."
"Just outside the store there was a dead dog, the owner screaming."
"There was a lady lying with a severed foot. There was blood everywhere."
"There were bodies on the ground everywhere, and a sense of panic, people standing by their loved ones, but also people running away."
Annevi Petersson, Stockholm photographer
"We have a working hypothesis this is an act of terror."
Stefan Hector, National police spokesman
|Four people were killed in the attack with reports of many more wounded Rex Features|
President Donald Trump's propensity to spontaneity has led time and again to responses on social media and the media alike mocking his irrepressible urge to say or tweet incautious and often seemingly deranged statements. But he had it mostly right when he spoke off the cuff, dimly recalling something he'd heard on Fox News about Sweden's welcoming openness to Muslim migrants leaving it in a severely compromised security position.
Which hadn't stopped the former prime minister of Sweden, Carl Bildt, responding tartly and rather undiplomatically with the rhetorical question: "What has he been smoking?" What Mr. Trump had obviously mentioned so casually is a situation lodged in the back of anyone's mind who has witnessed the unravelling of European culture, heritage and stability; utterly compromised.
The impulse to welcome an entirely alien in every sense of the word, culture, religion and ideology has rent the fabric of European society beyond redemption.
Sweden's comfort with its choices reflecting its conceit of welcoming generosity come one come all, no question asked nor backgrounds checked has come up finally against a hard truth: invite strangers without adequately vetting their backgrounds and intentions to your home at your peril. The most serious kind of insult is not the criticism of the evening's menu, nor the breaking of crockery, but the malevolent intent in bludgeoning the host with the cudgel of sanctimony.
The man who commandeered a beer-hauling transport truck had the deliberate intention of driving it onto a pedestrian mall where ample unaware pedestrians were available to be mowed down like bowling pins. "There is nothing to suggest that we have the wrong person. On the contrary, our suspicions have been strengthened as the investigation has progressed", advised Dan Aliasson, head of Sweden's National Police, of the 39-year-old Uzbek native with legitimate Swedish credentials.
And as though to emphasize just how thoroughly professional Swedish investigators are, Anders Thornberg, head of the Swedish security service Sapo, mentioned that the suspect now in custody had been on the authorities’ radar. Since there had been no indication that he was in any way linked to extremist organisations, he was never considered a danger, evidently.
Just incidentally what could conceivably be some kind of home-made bomb was also discovered at the scene, still in the truck and obviously undetonated. The man managed without the aid of an explosive device, using another type of mechanized, motorized invention much approved of by Islamic State, Hamas and others of that ilk known as terrorists, to outright kill four hapless people, and send to hospital an additional fifteen, nine in serious condition.
People strolling about a pedestrian mall make very soft targets, vulnerable to being crushed on impact with a destructively hard, swift-moving contraption. But Sweden being Sweden, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven stated that though "the country is in a state of shock", it will prevail because "the aim of terrorism is to undermine democracy. But such a goal will never be achieved in Sweden".
This stock phrase used throughout Europe as a defiant aversion to terrorism cuts no ice with jihadists.
The suspect had been seen and taken into custody by a police patrol in a suburb close by Stockholm's international airport, not far from where the truck was crashed in downtown Stockholm. He had, in fact, been highlighted in a police alert released as a warning to be aware of the presence of this man who had aroused suspicion as the possible attacker.
So, good work, Sweden! What's next?
This nation of ten million people that so prides itself on its humanitarian impulses and generous social welfare system, has more refugees per capita than most other western nations. In 2015 alone 163,000 asylum seekers were welcomed. Necessitating a reduction in public services due to the strain. Which also led to border controls and a shrinking number of arrivals being 'welcomed'.
And horror of horrors, the rise of an anti-immigration party.