Clueless in St. Cloud [updated]

One of the many chilling moments in the terrorism trial in Minneapolis this past May was the presentation of a piece of evidence that passed in a flash without comment. The evidence was a photograph of one of the defendants dressed in the uniform he wore when he worked as a security guard (pretty much whenever he wanted) in the Twin Cities.

I think the photograph must have had the same effect on the jury as it did on me. It made me reflect on the the Alice-in-Terrorland world we have in Minnesota.

In the news today are the apparently jihadist stabbing attacks committed by a security guard in the Crossroads Center shopping mall in St. Cloud last night. (The afternoon the Star Tribune raised the possibility that the assaults were perpetrated against Muslims rather than by a Muslim. ISIS has claimed the perpetrator was “a soldier of the Islamic State.”)

The security guard was killed inside the mall by an off-duty police officer. The Star Tribune reports the story here. Eight people were taken to the hospital after the attacks (one more took himself). This morning, according to the AP, as many as three remain hospitalized.

The security guard seems to have declared the motivation for his attack by shouting “Allah” and trying to spare Muslims from his rampage. St. Cloud Chief of Police William Blair Anderson nevertheless refrained from hazarding a conclusion about the perpetrator’s motivation:

Anderson declined to call the stabbing a terrorist attack, saying the motive for the attacks isn’t known yet. “We will be diligent and get to the bottom of this,” Anderson said, adding that St. Cloud Police had prior contact with the suspect, but only related to traffic stops.

You can understand why Chief Anderson preferred not to say more. It was in St. Cloud last year when Governor Dayton warned Minnesotans concerned about our ever growing Somali population to pack up and move on. Dayton weirdly instructed “white, B-plus, Minnesota-born citizens” to suppress their qualms about immigrant resettlement in Minnesota. If they can’t, they should “find another state,” he added. Chief Anderson wants to stay put.

UPDATE: The St. Cloud Times has just posted this detailed story on the stabbing rampage.

A St. Cloud attorney closely following these events writes to express his disagreement with my assessment of Chief Anderson: “I got the impression from the Chief that he wanted everyone to know the identity of the perpetrator and confirm that there was an Islam-based motivation. I do not think it was unreasonable or cowardly to then allow the public to deduce from his statement of the facts the motivation for the attacks. I also thought it was reasonable to wait until the investigation was complete before he expressed his view of the motivation. He easily could have omitted the reference to the attacker’s reported comments about Allah; he included them.” Having observed him up close, he adds that Chief Anderson “has always come across as a straight shooter. He is very outgoing and is very visible.”

And then we have this: