Ottawa Gunman’s Radicalism Deepened as Life Crumbled

25 October 2014OpinionReading

Michael Wines and William Yardley, reporting for The New York Times:

A loner. A drug addict. A criminal. A drifter. And lately, an Islamic radical.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the bearded, 32-year-old gunman who was shot dead Wednesday after killing a soldier and storming Canada’s Parliament, aptly fit each of those descriptions. In the tumultuous wake of what Canada’s prime minister has called a terrorist act, Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau’s radicalism has become the defining one.

But a closer examination of his past draws a somewhat different portrait: one of an increasingly troubled, mentally unstable man who initially may have embraced religion not as a political cause, but as an attempt to scaffold a disintegrating life.

As more details are reported on this terrible event, there are parallels to the Tsarnaev brothers, the suspected Boston Marathon bombers. Back in January, I linked to a Boston Globe article detailing their tumultuous lives leading up to that tragedy, and I commented:

Based on this reporting, the tragedy surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing began long before anyone was killed or injured.

Unfortunately, it looks like the exact same could be said for the recent events in Ottawa.