Spreading terror: How the Toronto attack echoes recent trends in extremist violence

On April 23, Alek Minassian, a 25-year-old man from Ontario, drove a rented white van through Yonge Street in Toronto, killing 10 and wounding over a dozen more. Although Canadian authorities have downplayed any link to terrorism, the killings “definitely looked deliberate,” as Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders noted.

Yet the fact that Minassian appears to lack ties to established terror groups is largely beside the point. Minassian’s attack—and its coverage on social media—nonetheless echoes three of the most distressing trends in global terrorism of late.