A Personal Perspective
By MARCIA MOXAM COMRIE
We have not had a suicide terrorist attack in New York since the crashing of planes into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. We have not had a suicide bomber in recent memory, until this past week when Akayed Ullah, an immigrant from Bangladesh, strapped a “crude pipe bomb” to his torso and headed out for the Port Authority Terminal.
The bomb detonated early, injuring but not killing the misguided 27-year-old suspect as well as two people within close proximity of him.
The former taxi driver has since allegedly told investigators that he did this in the name of terrorist group ISIS and to “avenge the death of Muslims around the world.”
He also reportedly said that he was upset about Christmas displays. The irony is rich. He’s upset about Muslims killed around the world and wants to blow himself—a Muslim—up to avenge the death of other Muslims.
As for the matter of Christian symbolism, he’s in a majority Christian city, so those things are inevitable. If he didn’t like it, he should have gone home to his birthplace, where he would have been less likely to see such over-the-top displays.
But lest anyone think that all Muslims or people from Bangladesh are angry for these two reasons, think again. This guy radicalized himself online and appears to have acted on his own crazy behalf. People from Bangladesh and Muslims, in general, are appalled by him.
His actions could have caused untold damage. Just imagine if the guy was adept at making a bomb and it had gone off the way it was intended to. There could have been catastrophic consequences.
The incident, of course, has us all worried. Not everyone takes the train, but enough of us do to make us really worried. And who’s to say that another person won’t try it on a bus? There are no sacred cows in our city.
Trains are the fastest and most convenient mode of transportation across our complex urban landscape. But we are potentially sitting ducks for incidents such as this. Give credit where it’s due, however—the NYPD has been vigilant in keeping us safe.
But you never know when some bad actor will slip through and do harm. There was a time following 9/11 when officers would randomly check riders’ backpacks and other bulky carry-on bags as they prepared to enter the turnstile. It may be time to start checking again, and not just bags, but torsos as well.
New York is, perhaps, the most fun place to live and, certainly, a great place to work, raise a family and get a high-quality education. We just have to be ever mindful of the potential threats from people bent on causing harm.
Reports noted that more than 3,000 police officers patrol the subway system on a daily basis. That is indeed reassuring. Each of us has a responsibility to help ourselves and others by being aware of our surroundings.
Too many commuters are constantly on their electronic devices or catching up on their sleep. We should never be that comfortable that we are not observing our environment. We help the police by being on the lookout for danger.
The saying, “If you see something, say something,” is relevant. Let’s all endeavor to keep an eye out.