Let’s just get it out of the way and say it: Saturday, September 17th, 2016 was a bad day. While nobody in the media seems to want to jump in and “hastily” talk about terrorism, there were a few too many coincidences yesterday to be ignored in terms of public acts of violence. The big headline, of course, was the Saturday night bombing in the Chlesea neighborhood of New York City.
A “deafening’’ explosion rocked Chelsea Saturday night, injuring 29 people, blowing out scores of windows and forcing the evacuation of at least two buildings.
The blast went off in a 4-by-4-by-3-foot construction Dumpster outside the Townhouse Inn of Chelsea at 131 W. 23d St.
Mayor de Blasio called the explosion an “intentional act,’’ but not believed to be connected to terrorism.
Of course the Mayor quickly tried to say it wasn’t terrorism, but when a second bomb made out of a pressure cooker was found nearby, that explanation didn’t seem to sit well with the public. Thankfully nobody was killed, but more than two dozen were injured.
That attack came only hours after pipe bombs were employed in New Jersey.
An explosion that went off in a garbage can Saturday morning in a New Jersey beach town likely was timed to disrupt a Marine Corps charity run, authorities said.
Three pipe-bomb-type devices wired together were found near the boardwalk in Seaside Park. No injuries were reported and a four-block area was evacuated for most of the day, authorities said.
One bomb was in a dumpster in New York and the other was in a trash can just south of there in the Garden State. And while the method was quite different, there was a maniac with a knife stabbing people in Minnesota and yelling about Allah.
A knife-wielding suspect who was dressed in a private security uniform and made references to Allah while attacking at least eight people during a mass stabbing incident at a Minnesota shopping mall was shot dead by an off-duty police officer, authorities said.
St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson said during a news conference that eight people were taken to St. Cloud Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries following the attack first reported about 8:15 p.m. Saturday at the Crossroads Center. One person was admitted. No further details were released.
The knife wielding man was mentally disturbed. One local reporter in New Jersey speculated that the pipe bombs could have been assembled by someone with a grudge against the Marines. And in New York City, we wouldn’t want to rush to any judgement (according to the Mayor) even though the second device recovered by authorities looks suspiciously like the ones used in the Boston Marathon attacks.
None of these stories taken by themselves are going to generate the sort of headlines that a major terror attack produces, primarily because we got lucky and nobody died. But if we examine the pattern and put it in the context of the times we live in, it’s not exactly a stretch to imagine that there’s a connecting thread. That’s not to say that everyone involved in each incident was coordinating their efforts. In fact, that seems highly unlikely. But if the word was put out on the terror gossip lines that this would be a good weekend to kill some Americans, it doesn’t take all that much for someone to grab a knife or load up some steel pipes with gunpowder and head on out.
But what was the message the media wanted to take from all of this? When Donald Trump was kicking off a planned rally he used the phrase “a bomb went off” at the beginning of his remarks and reporters went ballistic over how he was rushing to judgement. For the record, I was also holding out for the possibility that it might have been a gas line or steam pipe explosion in New York last night, but was it really such a crazy idea to suspect it was a bomb? Particularly when it turned out to be a bomb?