Home > Personal, Politics > A Failed Bomb is Not a Failed Attack

A Failed Bomb is Not a Failed Attack

Unfortunately that is the reality that us New Yorkers and Americans face in the wake of the failed car-bombing in Manhattan. Irregardless of the failure of this attack, us New Yorkers must face a new reality.  Since 9/11 there have been several scares, one of which resulted in the imprisonment of several Al-Qaeda members after a failed attempt to bring bombs into the New York City Subway system.  Despite all these past events, something is different now.  All of the other problems were either false alarms or still very much in the planning phase and far from execution.  Today we now know that there was in fact a bomb in Times Square and had it not been for the shoddy construct of the bomb itself, we very much could have woken up to the news that something ugly and catastrophic happened in New York.  This is a scary reality.

With this failed bombing, we learned that the “show of force” does little to actually curtail a determined actor.  Times Square is the part of the city most abundant with police officers and an area in which we see the city’s show of force on a regular basis.  The premise behind this tactic is that in “showing force” the city can deter potential violent actors.  I always questioned the logic behind these tactics and believed it to be part of a broader governmental initiative during the Bush Administration to instill a sense of fear in Americans in order to pursue a political agenda.  After the Moscow attacks I laughed about the reactionary “show of force” in New York.  Did an incident in Moscow really shift the odds of an attack on New York in that given day?  Would hordes of soldiers carrying M-16s while wearing bulletproof vests really do anything to stop a determined attacker?  These are scary things to think about, but ultimately things we must contemplate.  Especially in the wake of the first real threat post-9/11.

Moreover, my fear is far larger than the “global terror threat.”  We tend to focus on international terrorists; however, as we all should know by now, homegrown terrorists are perhaps even more dangerous.  Just a few weeks ago, an American flew a plane into a Texas IRS building.  With the rhetoric from the Teabaggers, it’s frighteningly hard to know where the line will ultimately be drawn on which tactics are OK and which are not.  Some of the undertones of the Teabagger movement are eerily similar to Timothy McVeigh’s ideological underpinnings and the new Arizona immigration law highlights some alarming undercurrents of growing intolerance, anger and frustration with the American Dream today. The entire politics behind pitching a “Real America” against some imminent and lurking threat freaks me out for its potential to become a much larger hate-based ideology in which both the protagonists and antagonists are further radicalized (Sarah Palin=a ticking time bomb).

I live just one avenue and fifteen blocks and Emily works a mere two blocks from the failed bomb.  For the past few months I have been thinking about living outside the confines of NYC (primarily in terms of the economic and quality of life factors) and now I have yet another reason to do so.  Although I know that there were no injuries in this failed attack, it awakens the reality as to just how easy a target my city and its abundance of people and places are for both international and domestic terrorists.  Terrorism is defined as “violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a lone attack), and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (civilians).”  This attack fits the bill on all accounts and success with regard to something like this is not measured by the function of the bomb itself, but rather by the impact and aftermath.

Unfortunately, I as a New Yorker feel less safe today than I did yesterday and seeing the SWAT team on the subway everyday will do nothing to change that feeling.  Lucky for BP, this close-to-home scare has pushed my angry rant off for another day and even luckier, it has pushed the oil spill headlines to Page 2 of our nation’s papers.  The spill is equally as scary in its own right for the downright disregard for safety and the environment exhibited by some of the companies involved.

  1. May 2, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Even crazier considering Friday’s rumors??

  1. May 2, 2010 at 1:43 pm

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