The man who drove his truck through the gates of Rideau Hall—where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lives with his family—and had an armed standoff with police was sentenced to six years today.
Corey Hurren, a 46-year-old Canadian Armed Forces reservist, posted conspiracy content on social media shortly before ramming the gates. He pleaded guilty to seven firearms charges in February and mischief. When he was arrested, he was armed with three long guns, including a semi-automatic rifle, and had said that he was prepared to die during the standoff with police. Hurren said he was hoping to “speak” to Trudeau when he stormed the property. The prime minister nor his family were at Rideau Hall during the time of his attack.
On social media, Hurren shared several posts that indicated his beliefs in conspiracies surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and one post that showed he harboured an interest in QAnon. Hurren seemed particularly interested in a conspiracy about Event 201, which attempts to prove the pandemic is the work of a group of elites for nefarious purposes. These conspiracies, paired with gun control legislation brought about by the Liberals, pushed Hurren to take action.
The National Post, who gained access to a 13-page psychiatric report on Hurren, reports Hurren had both his private and personal life upended in the recent years and turned to conspiracies. Hurren ran a sausage-making business and volunteered with the Canadian Rangers—a group within the armed forces that provide services to isolated communities. Both were taken away by COVID-19 as the pandemic hurt his fledgling business and he wasn’t able to volunteer with the Rangers. His wife said that he would spend most of each day “laying on the couch or in bed on his phone browsing the internet.” The National Post reports the psychiatrist, who evaluated Hurren at the behest of his lawyer, diagnosed the man with “major depression.”
According to the Post, Hurren said conspiracies “indirectly aggravated” his attack as he believed the pandemic was man-made and therefore “all the misery it unleashed in his life didn’t have to happen.” Hurren expected to die during his raid and hoped his death would be a wake-up call for the masses.
Hurren, a father of two, was talked into lowering his weapons by a security guard who told him he “needed to be around for (his) kids.
He wrote a note that he left in his car during his attack that directly referenced Event 201.
“With the firearms ban and seeing more of our rights being taken away, on top of bankrupting the country, I could no longer sit back and watch this happen,” reads a portion the note. “I hope this is a wake-up call and a turning point.”
There has been a massive increase in conspiratorial thought during the pandemic with belief in QAnon, in particular, exploding. Experts told VICE World News at the start of the pandemic that during times of strife conspiracies allow people to make sense of an unfair and confusing situation.
“It's a frightening situation,” said Dr. Stephen Lewandowsky, the chair of cognitive psychology at the University of Bristol. “People feel that they've lost control and the moment that happens some people turn to conspiracy theories. It provides psychological comfort to think that there's this cabal of bad people out there who are responsible for this.”
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