What we can learn from an "amateurish" bombing attempt

    Greece is receiving an economic bailout. Oil is leaking across the Gulf of Mexico. Three Wildcats were drafted into the NFL. But what has proven to top the charts — or at least make the top headlines — in this rather newsy weekend was the foiled bombing in Times Square on Saturday.

    Since then, authorities in New York City have been trying to figure out who left a rigged SUV parked in Times Square early Saturday evening — and why they opted to pack it with a bomb made of two, five-gallon gasoline tanks, three barbeque-type propane tanks, consumer-grade firecrackers, some wires and an alarm clock, according to an article by the New York Times. Also included in the vehicle was a 55-inch tall gun locker filled with over 200 pounds of non-explosive fertilizer.

    A local vendor initially tipped off the police, causing an investigation of the vehicle. Upon their investigation, the vendor told the Associated Press that smoke started coming out of the vehicle, along with the “pop-pop-pop” noise of firecrackers detonating.

    The event, naturally, caused evacuations in and around Times Square. But according to a brief blog post published Sunday by the Wall Street Journal, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano have both described the bombing attempt as being “amateurish” — considering the extensive surveillance activity already in place in the area.

    But however “amateur” the bomb’s construction and placement is perceived to have been, it was (and is) still cause for concern to those present in Times Square (and elsewhere, for that matter) this weekend. The lesson to Northwestern students? Not much different than that to anyone else following this piece of news — while it’s important to immerse ourselves in all aspects of university life, it’s equally important to stay in-tune to what’s going on outside of the relatively sheltered walls of academia. After all, we live in close proximity to a major city, in a country that’s come to know that it’s not immune to threats from within or from the outside.


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