On the Terrorist Attack in Barcelona

[Content Note: Terrorism; injury; death.]

Today in a highly-trafficked tourist area of Barcelona, another terrorist drove a vehicle into a crowd, killing at least 13 people and injuring dozens more.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place on Thursday afternoon when a large white Fiat van veered off the road at the top of La Rambla into a crowd of unsuspecting people. Within an hour, Spanish police confirmed they were treating it as a terrorist attack.

Later on Thursday evening, police said two suspected attackers had been arrested. The van driver was captured after he ran into two policeman at a checkpoint.

One of the suspects has been named as Driss Oukabir, an individual believed to be from north Africa, who is alleged to have rented the van used in the attack.

...A second van — presumed to be a getaway vehicle — had been hired at the same time as the Fiat from the Telefurgo rental company in Sabadell, near Barcelona, was found 80km away in Vic an hour and a half later.
The Guardian notes: "The use of weapons as a vehicle is now a well-established tactic and has been used in attacks in France, Germany, Sweden, and the UK in the past 13 months." And, of course, in Charlottesville just days ago, although the driver of that vehicle was a white supremacist terrorist.

The last decent president we had, Barack Obama, tweeted his solidarity with Spain in this terrible moment:

In contrast, Donald Trump tweeted his support, followed immediately by one of the most disgusting things he's ever tweeted, which is really saying something:

This apocryphal tale about WWI-era General John J. Pershing, is one Trump told on the campaign trail: "He took fifty bullets, and he dipped them in pig's blood. And he had his men load his rifles and he lined up the fifty people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the fiftieth person he said 'You go back to your people and you tell them what happened.' And for 25 years there wasn't a problem, okay?"

The story, which is a hoax spread via email forwards, has been widely and repeatedly debunked as historically inaccurate.

At NBC News, Benjy Sarlin notes: "In addition to celebrating what would be tantamount to a war crime, Trump's claim that such tactics ended terrorism is also inaccurate. The unrest he cited continued long afterwards and was rooted in conflict over colonial rule."

It is appalling that Trump would use this moment to revive this gross falsehood. He is so embarrassing, and just such a terrible person.

My condolences to the people who lost friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues in this terrible attack. My thoughts are also with the injured, and those who survived without physical injury, but may have to process lingering trauma. I'm so sorry.

The Guardian has live updates here. Please note that you may encounter images of the attack and its aftermath at that link.

As always, please keep this an image-free comments thread. Thank you.

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