Tragedies strike often enough nowadays, prompting the question, “how can the public go out and feel safe if there is always a risk?” Unfortunately, the answer is becoming increasingly unclear as the threats of terrorism are getting progressively worse. On Saturday, September 17th, two bombs were detonated: one in New Jersey, and the other in New York, New York.
In Seaside, New Jersey, a Marine Corps charity 5k was about to begin. Delayed due to registration issues, participants were preparing themselves far from the designated tracks when they heard an ear-popping explosion. Thankfully, no one was near the bomb site due to the delays and therefore no one was injured. Needless to say, the event was cancelled as police began to investigate. It was later revealed that a pipe-bomb was hidden inside a garbage can. As police continued to enquire, the community remained shaken. Little did they know that this was just the beginning.
Later that night, at around 8:30pm, a blast erupted from a dumpster, inducing panic into the crowd of New Yorkers living and walking down bustling 131 W. 23d Street. Unlike the incident in New Jersey, the explosion was caused by a pressure cooker bomb that was packed with shrapnel to inflict maximum damage. This design, in fact, is incredulously similar to the instruments of destruction used by the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombers. After police shut down several blocks and evacuated nearby buildings, another device was found about three hours later. Fortunately, the perpetrator was an amateur in bomb-building, so it did not detonate or pose any threats.
On Monday, police found and arrested their prime suspect after a chase and wild gunfight that resulted in him getting shot in the shoulder. Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, was suspected of planting the bombs in New Jersey and New York after being seen on security cameras. His family members and friends reportedly told authorities that he experienced strange and radicalized behavior after his trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan, as his own father voiced his own concerns to the police not long after. He also previously spent 3 months in jail on weapons and aggravated assault in connection with stabbing his own brother in 2014. Currently, Rahami is being charged with five counts of attempted murder of police officers, use of weapons of mass destruction, bombing a place of public use, destruction of public property, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
Initially, Bill de Blasio refused to even suggest this was an act of terrorism. In a conference on Monday, he retracted his statement and said, “we have every reason to believe this was an act of terror.”