Times Square: Where Tourists are the Terrorists’ Choice

Our oldest daughter, Edie, is heading to New York City in a few weeks to take in a show and see the sights. Times Square is on her must see and experience list, so when I learned about the failed car bombing of the area this last weekend, I immediately went into worry mode.

A blogger friend, and longtime New Yorker who writes about the city, described Times Square in the typical early evening.

“I’ve been through that area at that hour and it is choked with beautiful, happy tourists. Those wonderful people who come to New York and help to feed, and feed off of, its greatness.”

Hundreds of people could have been caught in the explosion. People like Edie, and I know that Doug Stanhope’s theory flies in the face of my worries, but it’s when you assume that you will be one of the people who glide through life sans the Chinese curse of “interesting” that you become a freak statistic.

The car bomb was discovered around 6:30 P.M. on Saturday, May 1st by a T-shirt street vendor who spotted smoke wafting from Nissan Pathfinder parked at 45th and Broadway.  He alerted a mounted police officer who noticed the smell of gunpowder. The area was evacuated. A bomb squad discovered the SUV was loaded with propane tanks, gasoline and firecrackers.

Thirty-year-old Pakistani-U.S. citizen named Faisal Shahzad was arrested by the FBI as he attempted to flee the country for Dubai. His plane was taxiing from the gate at Kennedy airport when it was stopped and Shahzad was taken into custody.

Although officials say that Shahzad has claimed he acted alone, officials in Pakistan have detained several others in connection with Saturday’s failed attempt.

Vigilance on the part of an ordinary citizen and the swift action of the New York City police averted a tragedy. An equally on the ball FBI appears to have the perpetrator in custody. Although the latter, and the fact that Homeland Security actually made good use of the no-fly list for a change, should be a given rather than something to  marvel at in my opinion.

So why am I not breathing a bit easier about Edie heading off to the Big Apple?

And why, as Matthew Yglesias asks at Think Progress, is this terrorist bombing attempt not provoking the same over the top response that the Christmas Undie Bomber did?

Perhaps spending the last couple of evenings listening to and/or watching Zeitgeist has stirred up my inner Mulder, but I find that “terrorist” incidents like this have a distinctly non-random, distraction factor going on.

Homeland Security got its man? Sherlock Holmes is spinning in his grave with pride.

I have been an American too long to not be a tad cynical and suspicious.

Photo by UB of The Unbearable Banishment

4 responses to “Times Square: Where Tourists are the Terrorists’ Choice

  1. I’m no more worried than I was before, but I really don’t like the wrassle em up n wash yer hands of it, Cowboy attitude that the govt/media will have us believe.

  2. in any profession, or with any given activity, the bell curve tells us that most will be average, a few will excel, and some will be pretty lousy. i truly believe this guy was just a hack… high school kids with access to the internet could have probably done a better job.

    as for the ‘worry’? i find it so much easier to be cavalier about such things when it’s me traveling to far away places. for me? i know i’m going to die, and dying in an interesting manner may not be the worst way to go out.

    but when it’s one of my spawn? night and day. there is no logic, and i suspect the sutras don’t help much, for letting go of that kind of worry…

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