Busy weekend for terrorism. Nine people stabbed in a shopping mall in Minnesota
(meh), and the big one in New Jersey/New York.
It was there Afghan American Ahmad Rahami made up a bunch of pipe bombs and
pressure cooker IEDs, distributed them in four separate locations, and set off
two explosions. The one detonation in New York’s Chelsea area injured
What We’re Told Happened
In the 15 years since 9/11, the United States has spent trillions of dollars
on security, created a new cabinet agency that memorialized an odd term of reference
to America, the Department of Homeland Security, and convinced far too many
Americans that they had to choose between security or freedom, safety or privacy.
Along the way our air travel experience is now a form of bondage play.
And we are watched.
For example, the city of New York boasts it has more than 8,000
cameras pointed at Manhattan streets. The NYPD calls it the city’s
“Ring of Steel.”
Images from those cameras feed into the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination
Center. Officers there also keep track of biological, chemical, radiation, and
shot-spotter sensors (which detect gunfire), throughout the city.
Data from the cameras and the detectors, as well as 911 calls, license plate
readers, and crime databases is fed into a map-based Domain Awareness System,
which analyzes information. The NYPD also has a “Dashboard” system
that receives alerts on unattended packages, stolen vehicles crossing tunnels
and bridges, and suspicious odors of hazardous materials.
In addition, the Lower Manhattan Center maintains a “vehicle of interest”
listing to track vehicles utilizing license plate readers, and can go back 30
days to find suspect vehicles. More than 200 license plate readers within the
city triangulate information with GPS systems.
That is a helluva lot of watching, all keeping us safe. Except it didn’t.
What Really Happened
What really happened is a guy built multiple explosive devices, and deployed
them in public areas, without being detected. All that stuff above, plus the
NSA, FBI, DHS, CIA, et al, missed him.
No one got killed and no one was seriously injured only because of two factors:
an inept terrorist and America’s homeless.
Ahmad Rahami had a string of pipe bombs lined up along a marathon run route.
One went off early (the start of the race was delayed) and the others failed
to explode. If Rahami had used a command detonator triggered by the runners
or himself, not a timer, and/or if all of the bombs had exploded when people
were around, it would have been carnage.
One of Rahami’s Manhattan bombs failed to go off, even after two passersby
shook it out of the suitcase Rahami had hid it in. His other bomb was set on
a timer and randomly no one happened to be in its kill zone went it went off.
One is reminded of America’s other…