In praise of the milk-crate heroes

These men in Sydney have shown us all how to respond to terrorism.


Topics World

Much remains murky about the Sydney stabbing today. Including whether the knifeman was an actual Islamic extremist. Some believe he shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (badly, apparently) to add some extra menace to his deranged stabbing spree.

But one thing is certain: many ordinary people ran towards the screaming, bloodied knifeman in order to disarm and apprehend him.

Aussies and Brits – including some young men from Manchester – chased the stabber through the streets of Sydney’s CBD. The footage is stirring: they surround him and follow him, determined to prevent him from stabbing any more people.

Eventually they caught him and, armed with little more than a wicker chair and a crate, they pinned him to the ground, in a makeshift mini-prison, until the cops came.

These people are heroes. They took great personal risks in the name of protecting the people of Sydney.

In their minds, this was a terrorist. His words suggested as much. His knife-waving gave further evidence to his extremist fervour.

And yet they didn’t do what people are advised to do in a terror attack: ‘run and hide’. They did the opposite: ran towards the terrorist, as he will have seemed to them, in order to overpower and neutralise him.

Naturally, they’re being celebrated. ‘MILK CRATE HEROES’, says the front page of tomorrow’s Melbourne Herald Sun. Memes of crates proliferate online. ‘Make Australia Crate Again’, proud Aussies are tweeting.

Whatever transpires about the knifeman’s terroristic intent, his accosters have shown the rest of us how to respond to terrorism: with collective resolve.

They follow in the footsteps of the bakers armed with brooms who stood with the cops against the London Bridge Islamist attackers. And the Spanish skateboard hero who likewise stood up to those terrorists (who tragically lost his life). And the 65-year-old Muslim man who overpowered the racist who tried to shoot up a Mosque in Norway on Saturday. And the Muslim worshipper who confronted the Christchurch killer and helped to prevent many deaths. And everyone else who has responded to terror attacks not by running, but by staying, fighting, helping, and refusing to be terrorised.

Terrorists thrive on inducing terror. The Sydney heroes turned that script entirely on its head – they instilled terror in the knifeman. You can see it in his eyes through the weapon these brave men used to pin him down: the milk crate.

Picture by: Getty.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


Hana Jinks

13th August 2019 at 6:48 pm

That muslim guy in Norway is an absolute hero, and their was a great surge of delight in me when l heard what he did. But these guys should NOT be in the west in the first place. We’ve been dictated to for decades about the benefits of the importation of the third-world, and we receive staganant wages, social unrest, creaking infrastructure and a group that are ideologically opposed to our culture. They breed amongst themselves, actually marrying their cousins, and then run out into our streets raping our daughter’s, blowing us up, and stabbing us.

Winston Stanley

13th August 2019 at 5:20 pm

Hardly comparable to say the London Bridge/ Borough Market assault. A history of mental illness, lone bloke waving a knife around and shouting slogans, climbed on top of a car and shouted “shoot me in the head.” The narrative is realistically more like “pedestrians take down some sad out of control bloke likely with some serious health issues” than “pedestrians face down serious terror attackers”. The TV news loves to keep showing today’s events as if they are comparable but it is a bit sad to dwell on an ill bloke like that. “British Heroes”. Nearly everyone ran at Borough Market, one bloke mouthed off back, and likely the official advice remains the same.

James McCrudden

16th August 2019 at 9:42 pm

Listen up, he had just murdered a woman by stabbing her, he attempted to murder another and wounded her, it was not known if he had a gun. It was not known if he had support. He was running at people with his knife. The shoot me line came AFTER he was being cornered.
Now, you would have let him alone because as a psychiatrist you would have detected signs of insanity, and I respect that, but not everyone has your fine powers of analysis.
In sudden danger there is no time for analysis.

Jerry Owen

13th August 2019 at 4:22 pm

Unfortunately over here if you carry out an act of pure bravery like that you are yourself put on an extremist list to be watched.
I’ll drink a Castlemaine 4x to the Aussies on this one.

Danny Rees

13th August 2019 at 5:37 pm

Really? Can you provide evidence of this?

Neil John

13th August 2019 at 9:18 pm

I’d be more concerned at being identified and targeted by true believers in the ROP.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to comment. Log in or Register now.