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Four years ago, a terrorist attack struck Copenhagen and shook Denmark to the core. A couple of days ago, we had a guest lecturer in my Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism class who was at the first attack. Let me give you some background:

  • The attack involved two shootings, one at Krudttønden and one outside of a synagogue.
  • At Krudttønden, Lars Vilks (a Swedish activist and artist) was in attendance as a speaker at an event called “Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression”.
  • Our guest lecturer, a man named Dennis, was at this event as a spectator.

During the lecture, Dennis gave us a play-by-play of the event and played us an audio recording that captured the first shots. It was very uncomfortable, as it forced all of us to understand the realities of terrorism and step into his shoes as much as we could.

Although it was scary hearing the shots and the panic of the people in attendance, it did enrich our learning in the class as a whole, because it gave us knowledge on the perspective of the victims, versus just that of the terrorist.

Lars Vilks is considered to have been the target of the attack, which wasn’t necessarily new to him. He has been under attack multiple times and now lives “underground” to protect his life.

What seemed to have begun this sudden hatred towards the Swedish artist was a drawing that depicted Muhammad in an offensive way. He claimed that it was satirical, but this satire hasn’t played to his advantage so far.

After the lecture, I spoke to my roommate, Lina, about the attacks to get her perspective, as she was raised in Denmark and felt the attack just like many others did. She said that the whole country went into national mourning, which struck something in me.

Let me give you some perspective.

Copenhagen Shooting deaths 2
El Paso, Texas Shooting deaths 22

In Copenhagen, the whole country fell into a state of shock and grief at the death of two of their people.

In El Paso, the shooting seemed to have been forgotten about even days after the occurrence, even though there were many more lives lost.

Deaths from a shooting have not been normalized here in Copenhagen, and that was really portrayed to me when I was listening to both Dennis’ and Lina’s takes on the event.

In my opinion, no death should ever be shoved under a rug in the way that many are in the States. Living in Copenhagen, I am refreshed by the care that this country has for its people and am excited to learn about terrorism and counter-terrorism with this perspective in mind.

Just some food for thought!


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