Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Failed Terrorist Attacks on Times Square

As the international community observed Labor Day on 1 May, New York City, the city that suffered massive terrorist attacks on 11 September nine years ago, nearly let the terrorists succeed in launching another terrorist assault again। This time, on 1 May at about 1830 or so, the terrorists targeted the famous New York City landmark --the Times Square. The timely discovery of a vacant Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) with smoke coming out from its back seat has prevented another round of tragedy that could happen to the people in New York. This was because after the bomb disposal squad confirmed that there were explosives inside the vacant vehicle, they have taken prompt action to dismantle the explosives, thus avoided a horrible disaster.

Fear Factor and Panic
From the available details of news that have been released over this attempted bomb explosion in downtown New York City, it was clear that the main purpose of the terrorists was to create a fear factor and panic in the society through killing innocent people in crowded area। Inside the SUV with smoke coming out from the back seat, the bomb disposal squads have found three tins filled with propane, fireworks, and two cans filled with 19 liters of petrol, two alarm clocks loaded with battery, wires, and other accessories. According to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, if the attack succeeded, the explosives might trigger big fire and considerable impact from the explosions.

Planning and Setting
Some experts pointed out that this case of failed terrorist attack in New York City on 1 May and the failed terrorist car bomb attack that happened on 29 June 2007 in a downtown entertainment district in London have many similarities। For the failed car bomb explosion in London, the police also found two cars loaded with propane and other explosives. The time was also in the evening crowded hour period after office hours. The purpose of terrorists was also meant to create massive bomb casualties in crowded place in order to create panicky and social insecurity.

Moreover, what is even more worried to the society is that these two terrorist attacks failed because apparently these were done by nonprofessional terrorists। The terrorists who masterminded these two attacks could be those without any prior experience in planning and setting bomb explosion and that their background might just be isolated terrorists with no connection with other terrorist organizations in other countries; or that they could just be some local spontaneous terrorist 'cell group.'

Although this type of terrorists may increase the difficulty of the authorities to trace the culprits, it also illustrates that in the present day advanced modern society, the community can still nurture this type of terrorists with an extreme religious ideology। These religious extremists advocate the use of violence and the establishment of the medieval fundamentalist among their own group or community.

Ascetic and Dogmatic Precepts
As compared with security-tight government institutions, military establishments and other 'hard target,' the public transport system and the crowd places have naturally become the ideal 'soft targets' marked by the terrorists for attacks। The plots of the failed terrorist attacks in New York City and London have also reflected the reality that city subways that serve as a modern city's transport artery, the public bus transportation system, and the downtown entertainment and leisure places that people like to go to relax and enjoy have gradually become the ideal 'soft targets' for terrorists to launch their attacks.

The religious extremists or terrorists who usually believe in ascetic and dogmatic precepts will naturally view modern living and normal entertaining with a kind of pathological hostility. To them, killing innocent people in crowded bars, restaurants, theaters, shopping malls in downtown crowded city in order to create social unrest is but achieving dual purpose for them.

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