On Monday, in what was the most damaging terrorist attack to take place on British soil since 2005, a suicide bomber detonated himself, killed 22 people, and injured 119 more. The incident has since become the most-discussed subject on the internet, and a number of Stephen King fans have pointed out that the bombing is the third huge crime story in the past few weeks to closely resemble events from the detective trilogy by Stephen King that began with 2014’s Mr. Mercedes.
King’s Mr. Mercedes focuses on a murderous psychopath named Brady Hartsfield and the detective, Bill Hodges, who pursues him. The book’s pages follow Hartsfield in a cat-and-mouse game he plays with Hodges. At the story’s climax, Hartsfield constructs a nail bomb, straps it to himself, and goes to a concert filled with young girls there to watch a popular boy band to detonate the device.
The tragic events at the concert played out in much the same way. The bomber was single and male. He used a self-constructed nail bomb he had fastened to his body. He managed to slip into the arena with the bomb due to overly-lax security, like in Mr. Mercedes.
Most notably, the vast majority of the concert-goers (and, consequently, the victims) in both cases were young girls — The Telegraph notes that more than a few of them were young children.
Slate even says the Manchester Concert bombing seems like it was an “attack on girls and girlhood, a massive act of gender-based violence.”
“An artist whose global brand is one of blissful, unsubdued feminine sexuality.”
Similarly to the lunatic who terrorized Manchester on Monday, Hartsfield chose to target a concert full of females because of his feelings of resentment towards women.
Obviously, there are a few significant differences between the bombings apart from the fact that one is fictional and the other is all too real.
First, the reason the perpetrator resented women in the first place is different. In the case of Mr. Mercedes, Hartsfield had a disgustingly muddied relationship with his mother. In the case of the Manchester concert bombing, the act seems to have been driven by religious extremism — the New York Times reports the act was committed on behalf of “Muslim” extremist group ISIS. It should be noted that both men were clearly insane and misguided, however, as a healthy individual would never be driven to do something like this no matter how much he resented women.
Second, the ease with which the attacker infiltrated the concert with the bomb differs; surprisingly, it was more difficult in the book. In Mr. Mercedes, Hartsfield has to pretend he was confined to a wheelchair in order to disguise the bomb, and he still only makes it in thanks to sheer luck. According to The Daily Mail, the real-life concert bomber got through initial security without much of a problem by identifying a “security soft spot” and was easily able to detonate the bomb in the arena’s foyer.
Third, the Manchester concert bomber did not manage to make his way into the actual seating area of the concert like Brady Hartsfield did. Thankfully, writes The Daily Beast, he was unable to make it past the foyer because of a diligent security guard.
Stephen King himself took to Twitter shortly after the Manchester concert bombing to shine a light on the one silver lining of the catastrophe.
ISIS: A rogue cult that has substituted superstition and murder for spirituality. Every bombing hastens the day when they will be no more.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) May 23, 2017
Well put, Mr. King.
This is not the first time in the past few weeks with an eerily close similarity to King’s recent work.
For example, Mr. Mercedes begins with someone driving a large car into a crowd of civilians on the sidewalk. It is very much like an incident CNN reported that occurred last Thursday in NYC’s Times Square.
And then there’s the story about the Blue Whale Challenge app, which lures users in and blackmails them into committing acts of self-harm or even suicide. Inquisitr observed last week that the app is uncomfortably like the main plot thread in End of Watch, the third book in the trilogy that Mr. Mercedes begins.
“Are terrorists reading Stephen King?” asks Reddit user Ivy_Tamwood on the social media site’s dedicated Stephen King forum.
Probably not, but it is positively creepy how uncannily King’s works can mirror future events.
[Image by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]