It happened again. A car bomb parked at the heart of the busy city on the busiest day of the week went off but failed to produce the intended blast. It was pure luck. Many lives were spared, potential property damage and long-term psychological harm were averted. It went down as a warning shot, a learning experience, a prelude to what’s coming next when Mother Luck is out to lunch.
Have we learned the lesson? Have we implemented the logical steps required to ward off a looming terrorists-triggered disaster?
My answer is—only partially. There are still plenty of cracks requiring solid wrappings before we can feel safe and secure. Americans, at times, seem like a bunch of kids whose inference is bounded by the exact replica of what they’ve experienced. We must start thinking outside the box. We must employ more imagination. If a terrorist used his shoes to hide a bomb, then it does not mean that shoes are the only hiding place for a body bomb. Why didn’t we think of underwear until it cropped up? Are we always one step behind the terrorists?
The next terrorist attempt may not be in the form of a Nisan SUV car bomb. It could be a different car, a suicide bomber inside a bus, a theater, a shopping mall or a school. It may take place on a subway car, in a tunnel, on a bridge, inside a stadium, inairport lobbies ahead of the security checks, or any place where crowds are gathering. The fact that it has not happened yet, is not proof that it won’t. It could be executed in a much more professional fashion. It may even involve poison gas (like the one in my book--72 Virgins). The terrorists do not lack imagination; they learn from their mistakes; they improve. Their second attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11 is the best indication of their learning ability and developed imagination.
In my book, 72 Virgins—Countdown to a Terror Attack, I described the terrorists’ mindset. I demonstrated how they work, how they think, how they talk, how they pick their targets and why. Although it’s fiction, it borrows from the real world we live in. I do hope that those responsible for our security as well as the public at large, read the story, learn and implement preventive measures.
America should learn from the Israeli experience. That particular theater operates on several dimensions.
***The first one is education. The Israeli public is naturally alert and suspicious. Any package left unattended in a public place is immediately reported to the authorities who treat it like a potential bomb. Schoolchildren learn to practice this form of conduct starting at pre-school.
***The second one is profiling. When you watch an Arab looking person wearing a coat on a hot summer day, walking nervously, looking for some undefined spot, chances are he or she hide an explosives-filled suicide belt under their coat.
***The third one is security checkpoints. Those are not limited to government buildings. They are spread around wherever there is a potential opportunity for a terrorist to blow up on his way to heaven. These checkpoints are part of the scene on the way to the airport, at the entrance to high profile restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, and other gathering places. They operate on the assumption that Mother Luck is out on her Lunch Break.
New York City is a great place and therefore a great target for a terrorist attack. It’s not the only one. A small town in the Midwest may not possess the aura of Manhattan, nevertheless it’s an easy target, and therefore, a potential for a terrorists’ attack.
We will not be safe until we understand that we are not safe. We will not be safe until we expand our field of vision to include potential scenarios that have not yet materialized. We will not be safe until we educate the greater public, including our schoolchildren, to be on the watch for potential attacks. And if we implement caution and stronger preventive measure, chances are that luck will not be the only reason why we have not yet experienced the devastating catastrophe that is so normal all throughout the Muslim world of today.