Monday, September 19, 2016

Suspect in New York and New Jersey bombings, Ahmad Rahami, arrested, charged with attempted murder.

Ahmad Rahami getting medical treatment after being shot by the police. NBC/

The main suspect in the bombings in New York and New Jersey, Ahmad Rahami, has been arrested and charged with attempted murder. NBC News. Rahami was apprehended after he was discovered sleeping in a doorway of a bar. When cops confronted him, he pulled out a gun and shot an officer in the stomach, which was absorbed by the bullet proof vest the officer was wearing. Another officer was shot in the hand. Cops returned fire and then arrested him after inflicting non-life threatening injuries. Rahami has been charged for the attempted murder of the police officers. Rahami is the prime suspect in the bombing in Chelsea that wounded 29 people and failed bombings in New Jersey and New York. Rahami was a naturalized citizen from Afghanistan. Officials aren't sure if there is a link between any terrorist organization like ISIS or if Rahami was part of a larger cell. 

My Comment:
An extremely dangerous man has been taken off the street. It is a minor miracle that Rahami didn't manage to kill anyone in his bombing and shooting rampage. Indeed, it seemed as though the world was conspiring against Rahami when he planned his attacks. Most of his bombs failed to explode and the ones that did didn't kill anyone. And even his attempts to murder police officers failed. 

Some of that was poor planning. I said yesterday that I thought that Rahami was an idiot for where he placed his bomb. Though the street Rahami chose was a fairly busy one at night, there were better targets he could have chosen in New York. Places like a bar, nightclub or even a movie theater would have been a better choice than a semi-busy street. 

He also placed his bomb in a garbage can or toolbox which probably deflected some of the blast. Had he just left it out in the open it might have actually killed some people. Even with his incompetence he still wounded almost 30 people. 

Rahami was very unlucky as well. Many of his bombs didn't work or were discovered before they could detonate. Some of his bombs did succeed in wrecking a couple of police robots but most of his bombs accomplished nothing. It was extremely lucky for us that his plot against the Marine charity run failed as well. Of all his attacks, that one had the most potential to cause harm. But due to problems with registration, the race didn't start on time and Rahami's bomb exploded harmlessly. That kind of unforeseen development completely derailed his attack there, and that's not something we can rely on in the future. 

I also wonder what Rahami's plan was after the bombings. He probably knew that he was being targeted for arrest but he didn't have a safehouse set up. Most terrorists would have gotten the hell out of dodge or gone underground, but Rahami's plan seemed to be "find a random place to sleep". Doing that in a bar's doorway was how he was caught, so it was a poor plan. Hell, it's almost like he wanted to be caught.

Rahami seems to be, quite frankly, an idiot. He was semi competent on making bombs and if he had deployed them a bit better he could have killed dozens or even hundreds of people. But he didn't seem to understand how to deploy his weapons. He also didn't understand how to flee correctly. Almost any place would have been a better place to hide.

Rahami's capture shows how dangerous being a police officer can be. The cops in this case presumably thought they were just going to have to rouse a drunk or vagrant and at worst take him to the station to dry out. Instead they got shot at. It's amazing to me that none of them were killed. Taking a shot to the guts is never a good thing, even if you are wearing a vest. And even a wound to the hand could potentially kill someone. 

It's also fairly amazing that Rahami was captured alive. It looks like he was shot in the upper thigh and possibly a couple of other places. An upper thigh wound can be deadly if it hits a vein or artery, but I guess in this case it wasn't. I doubt the cops were trying to hit him in the thigh, since he was on the ground it was an awkward angle to shoot at, but in the end it's probably a good thing. Now Rahami can be interrogated. 

The big question now is if he has any links to ISIS or any other terrorist organization. My guess is that at the very least he read Jihadist propaganda online. The pressure cooker bombs he used are probably the same ones that were used in the Boston Marathon bombings. The plans for those bombs are easily available on the internet via al-Qaeda's magazine, Inspire. Other sources have posted those bomb plans as well, so I am guessing that Rahami didn't have to look to hard to find these bomb plans. 

It's unclear though if Rahami had any help from ISIS or another terror group. My guess, given how amateurish and ineffective his bombing campaign was, he didn't have much help. He was likely a lone wolf attacker, sympathetic to calls to attack western targets, acting by himself. He's one step above the kind of attacker, like the one that slashed up a mall in Minnesota the same day as the bombing, that just grabs the closest weapon and starts attacking, but his level of planning was not impressive. Had he had help he probably would have been more effective in choosing targets. 

The media and government response to this attack was pretty embarrassing. The mayor of New York embarrassed himself  by saying that he wasn't sure if this was a terror attack. Barack Obama waited until today to say anything about the attack. And Hillary Clinton and the media spent more time bashing Donald Trump for calling the bombing a bombing. At least the local and federal law enforcement officials did their job correctly. 

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