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Published:May 3rd, 2010 11:55 EST
times square

Times Square Car Bomb: New York City Dodges A Bullet

By Robert Paul Reyes

 

"A crude car bomb of propane, gasoline and fireworks was discovered in a smoking Nissan Pathfinder in the heart of Times Square on Saturday evening, prompting the evacuation of thousands of tourists and theatergoers on a warm and busy night. Although the device had apparently started to detonate, there was no explosion, and early on Sunday the authorities were still seeking a suspect and motive.

times squareA T-shirt vendor on the sidewalk saw smoke coming out of vents near the back seat of the S.U.V., which was now parked awkwardly at the curb with its engine running and its hazard lights on. The vendor called to a mounted police officer." The New York Times

A disaster was averted due to luck, an alert citizen and the amateurish quality of the bomb.

Most of the talking heads on the cable news networks believe the bomb was the work of a nut or a homegrown terrorist, and not al-Qaeda or another Islamic terrorist organization.

We don`t have the luxury of uttering a quick prayer of thanks that a tragedy was avoided, and going about our daily business. We must consider the lessons we can learn from this incident.

Perhaps the most important lesson is that citizens must notify the police whenever they see anything strange or out of the ordinary. We all have busy lives, but if we take a couple of minutes to notify the authorities when we see something suspicious we may prevent the death of hundreds. The T-Shirt vendor could have ignored the smoke coming out of the back seat of the vehicle, and focused on selling his merchandize. Thank goodness he did the right thing, and summoned a cop.

Another crucial lessoned to be learned is that we can`t afford to be complacent, we are still the number one target of Islamic terrorists. There hasn`t been a terrorist attack on our soil since 9/11, but there have been several plots that have been foiled by the FBI. If any of these plots had succeeded they would have resulted in massive casualties.

We shouldn`t assume that the failed plot was the work of al Qaeda or a lone wolf homegrown Jihadist, we can`t rule out a Christian militia or a tea bagger gone wild as suspects. The divisive and hateful rhetoric of the leaders of the Tea Party Movement is inciting a lot of fear an anxiety, and it could have set off the unhinged mind of a Tea Party follower.

This time we were lucky, but in spite of the alertness of citizens and the professionalism and dedication of law enforcement officials it`s only a matter of time before there`s a successful attack. In this post 9-11 world, not only big cities like New York, but small towns must also have a disaster plan already in place.
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