Australia: Two Police Officers Survive Deadly Shooting

In Australia, the Queensland Police has stated that Constable Keely Brough was discharged from hospital on Tuesday and Constable Randall Kirk was expected to be released on Wednesday — a "miracle" conclusion to a shooting in remote Wieambilla.

Australia: Two Police Officers Survive Deadly Shooting
Image credit: 7 News [via The Guardian]

Facts

  • In Australia, the Queensland Police has stated that Constable Keely Brough was discharged from hospital on Tuesday and Constable Randall Kirk was expected to be released on Wednesday — a "miracle" conclusion to a shooting in remote Wieambilla.
  • Brough and Kirk were dispatched on Monday to Wieambilla along with two police constables — Matthew Arnold and Rachel McCrow — as part of the search for missing man Nathaniel Train, who allegedly then staged a deadly ambush with the help of his brother Gareth and his sister-in-law Stacey.
  • Queensland Police Union's Ian Leavers told Australia's ABC that officers faced a "hail of gunshots" immediately after they jumped the fence, with Arnold and McCrow being shot dead. Wieambilla neighbor Alan Dare was also killed as he went to investigate the grass fire started by the suspects.
  • A 16-person Special Operations extraction team deployed to the scene to retrieve the deceased and to rescue Brough from the burning bushes and killed the Trains.
  • On Tuesday, the Daily Mail Australia claimed that Gareth Train regularly shared conspiracy theories about major world events, including claims that the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre in Tasmania was a "psyop" to disarm the population and that the death of Princess Diana and 9/11 were part of an "occult blood sacrifice."
  • Ronald Train, the father of Gareth and Nathaniel, revealed in an interview on Wednesday that he knew his sons were obsessed with guns but he was surprised to learn that they were licensed to have firearms.

Sources: BBC News, Guardian, New York Times, NZherald, Daily Mail, and 9now.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Sydney Morning Herald. The Queensland shooting is very likely to reveal a worrisome link between extremist violence and fringe conspiracy theories — one of the alleged offenders was even active in so-called "sovereign citizen" forums. Mainstream media and politicians must take action to balance a thin line to prevent anti-establishment violence and curb deranged theories while allowing for safe and legitimate discussions.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Conversation. Though this deadly ambush was a devastating incident, it's inappropriate to collapse the lens of this tragedy into a simplistic blame game of "conspiracy theories." Often there is a nugget of truth in these theories and complex situations, and silencing diverging opinions only ultimately benefits the powerful. We must stay nuanced and objective when mentally processing how crimes like this can happen.