Monday, April 03, 2006

Double Double Trouble.

A man blew himself up in the bathroom of a Tim Horton's at Yonge and Bloor today. Or something like that. We're not sure exactly what happened, but the police have ruled out a terrorist attack:
"He's not a strap-on al-Qaeda bomber guy," [Staff Sgt. Don] Cole said. "It sounds to me like a guy who either wanted to do a torch job or commit suicide."
Strap-on Al-Qaeda... Now there's an image.

Of course, all afternoon, Torontonians were wondering if a terrorist blew himself up in the Tim's bathroom, which I suppose is how folks think in this day and age. There were "rumours" that the man had been seen going into the bathroom with wires and explosives strapped to his chest; journalists helpfully passed these along. A blog I read and respect was referring to "the bomber" before we had any idea if there was a bomber. My friend and I hypothesized over coffee that, if it was indeed terrorism-related, someone would immediately blame it on Stephen Harper for inflaming the Muslim world or, failing that, Ezra Levant.

The whole jinxed java jihad scenario reminded me of the Brigade d'autodéfense du français, an FLQ offshoot that planted bombs in three Second Cup franchises in Montreal in 2000 and killed, uh, no one. (Though Rhéal Mathieu, who was eventually sentenced to a whole month in jail for the Second Cup attacks, did succesfully kill a receptionist at the Lagrenade shoe factory in the 1960s; he spent less than four years in jail for that murder.)

Which is to say that there is a grand tradition of botched bombings of coffee houses in Canada -- the conclusions jumped to were not completely ridiculous. But still, a sign of the times. If a man exploded in a Tim's bathroom, oh, a decade ago, I think it still would have been the talk of the town, but wild speculation about the cause of the explosion would have likely had a darkly humorous tone to it, I suspect...

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