Lars opened the front door, and the man, whom Lars judged to be about 30, handed him a package. As Lars took it, the man pulled out a gun and fired at Lars' head. Lars sensed the bullet passing over his right ear. After Lars threw a punch at the man's face, the man dropped the gun and the two men scuffled, Lars trying to shut the front door against his assailant. The man inserted his foot inside the door, got hold of his gun again and fired at Lars once (click -- the gun jammed), then twice (click -- jammed again). Then the gunman fled the scene. Not one but two men wearing ski masks were soon seen hopping over the wall into the zoo, near where the hippopotamuses live. Police arrived. Lars disappeared, enveloped by state security.
Why did someone try to kill Lars Hedegaard? I take the question personally, because Lars is a dear friend and a colleague. In 2009, I joined him and others to form the International Free Press Society as a sister group to the very successful Danish Free Press Society, which he founded in 2004. The goal was to support free speech, long imperiled by the application of the Marxist-derived speech codes we know as "political correctness," and more recently constrained by the influence of Islamic law in Western society. Lars' most recent venture is the new weekly newspaper called Dispatch International, which he co-edits with Swedish journalist Ingrid Carlqvist. I am Washington correspondent.
Police do not yet have a suspect in custody, but European media instantly seized on the veteran journalist's unflinching reporting and editorializing about the impact of Islam on Europe as being the possible motive for attack. This is logical given the suspect's description, which indicates he is likely Muslim, and the frequency with which Muslims resort to violence in Europe and elsewhere to silence those who oppose the erosion of Western culture under the increasing application, officially and informally, of Islamic law in Europe and the wider West.
Still, that's nothing new for Lars. So why the attempt to kill him now? The feeling at both Dispatch International and the Danish Free Press Society is that the trigger was the advent of the new newspaper, which last month began regular publication and, in its Swedish edition, delivery. (It is available online in Danish and Swedish, and in English here.) Covering all manner of issues that mainstream media ignore -- much of it (not all) regarding the effects of Islamic law and immigration on indigenous European peoples -- the newspaper clearly hit multiple nerves, even coming under a sustained cyberattack in December, which police are still investigating.
This is why it is equal parts laughable and shameful to read the widely published Associated Press report of the incident -- the primary source in the U.S. for news of the attack. Noting the attempted killing of Hedegaard, whom it describes as "a Danish writer and prominent critic of Islam," the AP goes on to say: "Hedegaard heads the International Free Press Society, a group that claims press freedom is under threat from Islam."
What does it take to prove it -- a more effective assassin?