A Preventive Execution

On Wednesday, August 10, 2016, police sharpshooters shot and killed Aaron Driver as he entered a taxi. In an official statement, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (R.C.M.P.) claimed to have received credible information that Mr. Driver was about to commit a terrorist attack. He was “engaged” by the police once he entered the taxi, and was then said to have detonated an explosive device injuring the cab driver. He was then further “engaged” (i.e. shot) prior to detonating a second device. In a press conference, a R.C.M.P. spokeswoman referred to the intervention as “amazing” and “exceptional”.


The police have the power to detain an individual where there are sufficient grounds to believe a terrorist act will be committed. They would also then have the power to conduct a search of the suspect. They did neither. Rather, they allowed him to enter the taxi, thereby exposing the driver to a dangerous situation, before intervening. That said, this all presupposes that they did indeed have “credible information”, that Mr. Driver did indeed have and detonate an explosive device, and that the taxi driver was injured as a result.


When a member of the public dies outside of a medical institution, a coroner’s inquiry is undertaken. This process allows public scrutiny of all events that may have precipitated the death. In this case, we have no notion as to what the specific “credible information” was although Mr. Driver did broadcast a threatening video showing him to be a committed ISIS sympathizer. We have no evidence as to the contents of the knapsack he was carrying and which allegedly contained the explosives. Further, when questioned by journalists, the taxi driver answered that the police had told him “not to talk to the media”. It was then reported that he had no visible injuries at all.


It is unlikely that a credible and independent investigation will ensue. Our collective apathy and willingness to drink the anti-terrorist tonic will ensure that we not only accept preventive arrests, but that we now accept preventive executions as well.