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The terror attack on my street

Edmonton Credit: Dave Sutherland/Flickr/Creative Commons

On Saturday night I had trouble sleeping because of the flickering lights. Red meant police with no sirens, and no color was the helicopter searching for someone. I wasn’t concerned, but I stayed inside.

I learned later that a man, possibly police, was digging in a garbage bin nearby, and shining a light on passing cars. The morning news said something about a driver who hit a police officer, and a small truck that flipped over, both close to my home.

I drove to church on Sunday and saw a police car parked near our home. At church, I couldn’t get in because of a big celebration that filled the parking lot, so I went to another place. In the new church, the preacher kept telling us that God was going to do great things; we only had to trust. I didn’t disagree, but I didn’t see anything big.

In the afternoon I went for a walk and many police officers were searching my neighbourhood. A news crew tried to get a man-in-the-street interview from me, but I didn’t have anything to say and I turned them down.

As all this happened, people contacted me, and I read the news, and I learned that my neighbor was now a terrorist. Special investigators came to our place and I helped them contact the neighbors and check security cameras.

They showed me a picture and I learned the name later. A man named Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, a refugee claimant from Somalia had allegedly attacked a police officer who was directing traffic near a football game. Police allege he hit the officer with his car and stabbed him with a knife, and then ran away.

He left an ISIS flag in his car.

The police found Mr Sharif later driving a U Haul truck, and they chased him. As Mr Sharif drove away, he tried to kill pedestrians, and police allege he hit four with his truck. No one died, and Mr Sharif was arrested when the truck flipped.

This was world news for a day, until someone shot hundreds of people in Las Vegas. Our terror wasn’t as interesting as theirs.

There are a few things I know:

It was mostly boring. There is not much drama for ordinary people in a terror incident. A movie camera follows the action, but in reality, small things happen and they are easy to miss. There was no big picture for me.

We really were in danger. Mr Sharif was driving to familiar places, and I live half a block away from his apartment. His truck flipped about ten blocks away but I know that in a car chase the runner tends to go to familiar streets near home. That’s why the police were in my neighborhood at night. He was coming our way, and the guns were loaded.

The preacher was right. God does great things on His schedule. We don’t need to see, we need to believe. God has made promises to us: “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you.’” (Judges 2:1) I should give the preacher credit;

This was all about God. Mr Sharif somehow believed that he was doing the work of God when he tried to murder his neighbors. I am sure that God never told anyone to do that.

This terror incident came from an idea an a man’s head, and an idea can travel around the world easily, and grow in a person’s mind, and then come out when it is ready. Attacks like this could happen anywhere.

We are only safe when God protects us. Change a few details in the story and I could be in a hospital right now. I am not trying to create drama here, we all pass near danger in our lives. If you live long enough you will become the result of what didn’t happen; but almost did. Like maybe the time you didn’t step in front of that speeding car.

The truth never gets old:

Send help, Lord, for mercy has come to an end; there is no more faith among the children of men. Everyone says false words to his neighbour: their tongues are smooth in their talk, and their hearts are full of deceit. The smooth lips and the tongue of pride will be cut off by the Lord. They have said, With our tongues will we overcome; our lips are ours: who is lord over us? Because of the crushing of the poor and the weeping of those in need, now will I come to his help, says the Lord; I will give him the salvation which he is desiring. The words of the Lord are true words: like silver tested by fire and burned clean seven times. You will keep them, O Lord, you will keep them safe from this generation for ever. The sinners are walking on every side, and evil is honoured among the children of men. (Psalm 12)

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