Did Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel act alone? Steeped in ideology or simply one disaffected man seeking to find everlasting resurrection of their being?
Perhaps one of the most singularly vexing questions along with why Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel led a Bastille Day assault on the city of Nice is whether he had any accomplices and if so whom?
In the hours following the attack, no terrorist group has stepped up to claim responsibility, despite common (unsubstantiated claims) that Islamic terrorist group ISIS was in all likelihood behind yet once again another terrorist attack in the region.
While the temptation to immediately associate the recalcitrant character of Mohamed Bouhlel with that of a jihadi terrorist, a regard of the working class man’s day to day life revealed anything but a devout Muslim man mandating a strict observance of Sharia law.
According to those who knew the delivery truck driver, Bouhlel made little effort to obey or adhere to perfunctory Muslim doctrine.
Until yesterday there was little that indicated that Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel was on a dire collision course between Western sensibilities and that of a militant Jihadi doctrine.
If anything, Bouhlel betrayed the hallmarks of a disenchanted individual, prone to anti social behavior, lacking discipline, with a history of domestic violence (against his estranged wife), who had recently gotten himself involved in a January pub brawl and fired after sleeping on the job and causing a four car pile up.
So mundane and riddled with self defeating behavior were the man’s day to day affairs, French surveillance groups had thought little to put what could at best be described the petty criminal on its watch list.
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Augmenting the view that Boulel was a loner who heeded little to custom or cared much about religion, dogma or any political strain, except the pursuit of vices, were comments made by those who knew him, who if anything regarded the man as a social leper.
Told the man’s cousin, Walid Hamou via the dailymail: ‘Bouhlel was not religious. He did not go to the mosque, he did not pray, he did not observe Ramadan.
‘He drank alcohol, ate pork and took drugs. This is all forbidden under Islam. He was not a Muslim, he was a s***. He beat his wife, my cousin, he was a nasty piece of work.’
Offered another neighbor: ‘Bouhlel used to live in this block of flats with his wife and family. I lived next door to him.
‘He was not a fanatical muslim. He drank alcohol, he chased girls, he went to nightclubs. He did not go to the mosque. He was not religious at all.
In a testament to the man’s ongoing problems, one after the other, a neighbor of Tunisian heritage, told of Bouhlel’s ongoing heavy state of mind in recent months and Bouhlel’s increasing sense of powerlessness and insignificance.
Told the neighbor: ‘On the Thursday night he was drinking with a colleague and they argued. His pal said you’re worth nothing and he replied: ‘One day, you’ll hear about me.’
Could those comments have hinted at what was to come and how Bouhlel planned to at last levitate himself beyond the anti-climatic and at last leave some kind of resonance?
Whether in the end Bouhlel’s actions were that of a man severely unhinged, taking umbrage at his failure to live the national dream, a more common reality amongst disaffected Muslim younger men, questions still existed how Bouhlel could single handedly pull such a feat off on his own?
How did the lorry trucker know where to acquire his weapons, actual guns and fake guns later found in the truck along with dud grenades? Which is to wonder who may have supplied those arms to him and why? Or did Bouhlel hatch a plan and methodically went out on his own to facilitate such action?
Or as some have wondered, did Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel at some point come within the eyesight of a radical group who sought to capitalize on the man’s feelings of low self worth and install in him that his life in fact did have meaning, and ever lasting resonance? Even if it meant taking away the lives of 84 innocent persons who moments before could never have envisaged how one malcontent individual sought redemption by usurping the existence of others….