Sunday, September 18, 2016

Bombing in New York wounds 29 people. 2nd device found.

A bombing in New York has wounded 29 people as police find a 2nd device. NBC News.  New York City's mayor describes the bombing as an "intentional act" but has not yet disclosed any links to terrorism. A second device was found three hours after the bombing and looked to be a pressure cooker with wires sticking out of it. There is some confusion as to where the bomb was places, with some witnesses saying it was in a dumpster while the police maintain it was on the street. Though 29 people were wounded in the attack, one seriously, nobody has died and nobody is expected to die. There is also no suspected link to a pipe bomb explosion that occurred on the route of a Marine charity run in New Jersey.

My Comment:
This is a very odd terrorist attack to be sure. Though almost 30 people were hurt, I have to wonder why they chose a random street in New York to attack. I checked the area out on Google maps and though the area seems busy to my suburban eyes, you would have to think that there would be more obvious places in New York City to attack. Perhaps not any of the major landmarks with all the heightened security, but there had to be places with more people around right? I'm thinking there were dozens of bars, nightclubs and other soft targets that could have been hit instead and done a lot more damage.

I also find the reports that the bomb was placed in a dumpster or garbage bin remarkable and confusing as well, which makes me think the police are right. After all, what kind of terrorist puts a bomb in a metal garbage can.? I guess if the bomb was powerful enough it could make some shrapnel that way, but it would be much more efficient to leave the bomb on the ground. Putting it in a dumpster makes very little sense.

After all, even though this was a powerful bomb, if it was contained in a metal dumpster, the dumpster would absorb a lot of the force. And if the bomb was loaded with some kind of shrapnel, like nails, screws or BB's, it would be deflected by the dumpster. It's almost like the bomber was trying to limit the casualties.

I guess it is possible that the bomb was placed on top of the dumpster. This would be a wise idea since one of the reasons why the Boston Marathon bombing was ineffective in terms of deaths was because the bombers left the bomb on the ground at leg height. Though the bomb managed to main, cripple and even traumatically amputate a lot of legs, it only killed 3 people. If it had been placed at chest or head level, such as placing it on top of a dumpster, it could have killed a lot of people. Perhaps this bomber learned from that attack and decided to try a different tactic. Maybe this time he put the bomb too high though? Who knows?

It's also possible that the bomber in this case panicked. Picture this scenario: The bomber is on his way to his target. It's not on West 23rd Street but somewhere else. Somehow he gets spooked. Maybe he sees a cop, or notices a camera he wasn't expecting. Freaking out he dumps his bomb in a dumpster and it goes off. His second bomb gets left somewhere else for unknown reasons. Is this scenario likely? I am not sure, but nothing about this case makes sense right now.

Who could be responsible for this attack? Well, the 2nd device, which appeared to be a pressure cooker bomb, points to a Jihadist. The Boston Bombers used a pressure cooker bomb and al-Qaeda's magazine, Inspire, has long recommended pressure cooker bombs as an ideal terror weapon. Of course anyone could look at those plan and use the same weapon, but I think it is circumstantial evidence of possible ISIS or al-Qaeda involvement.

That being said, the, to be blunt, half-assed execution of this attack leads me to think that whoever this was wasn't connected to any real terror group. I would expect that it was a lone wolf or a small group of people without much support from the outside world. They may end up pledging allegiance to ISIS, but given the slapdash nature of the attack and inexplicable target they chose, I can't see this being anyone professional, even if they are skilled at making bombs.

It's possible that this attack had some other motivation. It could be a right wing fanatic. It could be a black lives matter allied person trying to kill cops. Or it could just be some random nutjob. Someone smart enough to build a bomb but dumb enough to completely botch the attack. We might find out more later today but for now it's just speculation.

I do have to say that no matter what the motivation, the outcome was about as good as we could expect. I would rather have a few people injured and nobody killed over a more effective attack any day. One of our great advantages against terrorism is that many terrorists aren't good at their job. We should be thankful that this bomber failed in this attack.

Of course, with no suspect in custody or even an idea of who might be responsible, it's possible that more bombings could occur. It's very early into the investigation, but nobody is taking credit for the attack and the police found multiple devices. If we are unlucky, the bomber may be looking for new targets, assuming he isn't trying to get the hell out of dodge. Perhaps this was even a dry run in preparation for the real attack... Let's hope they find this guy or group before that happens.

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