From what I understand somebody drove a 1993 Nissan Pathfinder into Times Square packed with gasoline, fireworks, a hundred pounds of fertilizer, and three propane tanks. It was parked where it could have done considerable damage to prime tourist destinations such as Broadway venues that host shows like La Cage aux Folles and Phantom of the Opera. The explosives were connected to a timer. But instead of the vehicle exploding into a ball of flame, the car simply started smoldering. A street vendor saw the vehicle parked with its engine running, its hazard lights flashing off and on, and smoke beginning to imamate from it. The authorities were called and Time Square was evacuated for the public’s safety.
Police investigating the failed car bomb may have managed to find a video recording of a suspect changing his clothing in a nearby alley and putting it in a bag. Authorities were on the way to a Pennsylvania town to talk to a tourist who might have recorded the suspect on his personal video camera. It was rumored that the video showed a white man in his forties taking off one shirt and revealing another underneath. Initially it appeared that this latest act of terrorism within our borders was not the work of illegal aliens from Arizona or Islamic fundamentalist hell bent on attacking our freedoms. This act of terrorism appears to be the home grown kind cultivated in our own backyard. But that was only for a moment.
Just two days, five hours, and twenty minutes, or around there about, after the vehicle was discovered smoking on Broadway the authorities had their primary suspect in custody. Authorities apprehended Faisal Shahzad after he had managed to board an airliner headed for Dubai from JFK. In fact, his getaway was almost complete! The passengers were loaded and the plane had pulled away from the gate and started taxiing to the runway when the pilot got word from the control tower to abort takeoff. The authorities entered the plane and made a high profile arrest and made Mr. Shahzad do his perp walk down the aisle and off the plane.
I have to admit to more than just a little disappointment. Had the perpetrator of the Broadway bomb attempt been the home grown variety commonly referred to as domestic terrorism these days then it would have put a totally different slant on national events. But now that it’s been confirmed that this explosive happy homey is from Pakistan it gives people with ambitions of closing the nation’s borders more fuel for the rhetoric fire. Had the bomber been another Timothy McVeigh then nobody would care if to crack down on all the white people that might take a trip to the Big Apple. But now that we know that the bomber is a naturalized Pakistani citizen, some people can’t wait to add him to their examples of why we have to crack down on letting foreigners, legal as well as all the hostile illegal variety, into our national midst.
Mr. Shahzad is helping to fuck things up for Pakistanis, as well as the people who might look like they could be from Pakistan. That’s a racially vulgar way of putting things. Nobody should be able to condemn an entire group of people because of the actions of just one. But if what’s happening in Arizona is any indication, there is no doubt that there are some rather close minded people chomping at the bit to use this poor excuse of someone welcomed into our country as a reason why we should pass a law requiring law enforcers to stop and question anybody who looks like they could be from Pakistan.
But now we have a first class illustration of the danger of people from nefarious places. Mr. Shahzad is a racial stereotype on a silver platter. It is reported that he had had ties with militants while in Pakistan. It is written that he has admitted to receiving bomb training in Waziristan. And with Mr. Shahzad in custody and supposedly singing like a jailbird, despite even more rhetoric that these people don’t have the right to remain silent, a basic principle of the United States justice system that used to mean something, officials in Pakistani claim that there have been a number of arrests in Karachi of people suspected of having a connection to this latest act of terrorism.
Instead of striking a blow to America’s sense of safety in our homeland, Mr. Shahzad simply reinforced the reasoning behind the argument of why we need to tighten the thumb screws on people from places like Pakistan. Despite all the Predator drones that have killed so many militants in remote corners of the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, there are people out there ready to fill the void, to do their best to open a can of whip-ass and bring some retribution to America’s soil. And we have to do everything in our power to keep that from happening, even if it means trashing everything that American freedom is supposed to stand for.