Readings on this nation’s terror thermometer surged over the weekend as a series of frightening incidents played out in the New York City metro area and in Minnesota.
Fortunately, this time our nation can count its blessings in that none of them produced fatalities. Twenty-nine people were treated and quickly released from the hospital in a Manhattan pipe bombing, and an additional 10 people suffered stab wounds in an attack in a Saint Cloud, Minn., shopping mall Saturday.
More importantly, the rapid-fire chain of attacks, would-be attacks and resolution of them illustrated the growing efficiency, sophistication and success of this country’s terror-response network on the state, local and federal levels.
They also clearly underscore America’s maturing resolve never to let terrorists win the day.
HOW THE TERROR UNFOLDED
The string of incidents began about 9:30 Saturday, when a pipe bomb exploded in a trash can in Seaside Park, N.J.. Fortunately, late registration for a charity race past the explosion site delayed its start and prevented mass casualties.
Later Saturday afternoon, Dahir Adan began stabbing patrons inside the Crossroads Center shopping mall in Minnesota, injuring about 10 people, before he was killed by an off-duty police officer. The Islamic State terrorist group took responsibility for that attack.
On Saturday evening, a homemade pressure-cooker bomb exploded in the artsy Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, injuring nearly 30 bystanders.
Authorities then promptly discovered a second pressure-cooker bomb four blocks away and deactivated it.
Then on Sunday, two homeless men found a backpack containing several pipe bombs, near and similar to the one that exploded in Seaside Park and disabled them from detonation.
Finally, on Monday, the suspected perpetrator of the New York attacks, Ahmad Khan Rahami, was captured in Linden, N.J., after a shootout with police forces that left three officers and Rahami wounded. Rahami continued his recovery in a hospital Tuesday.
This mesmerizing string of suspected terror incidents reminded our nation that it and its citizens continue to be bull’s-eye targets for many demented extremists and supporters of radical Islam.
But more vividly than ever, it proved that cooperation, coordination, diligence, hard work, and steely resolve work effectively to minimize dangers and bring suspects to justice expeditiously.
President Barack Obama rightly labeled the indefatigable efforts of first responders to the attacks in New York and Minnesota as “heroic.”
“It’s just one more reminder of the skill and sacrifice and what they put on the line every single day to make sure we’re safe,” Obama said.
Our chief executive also highlighted the importance among all Americans to stay tough and vow never to succumb to fear.
That kind of toughness and resoluteness as well as a recognition that neither individuals nor organizations like IS can undermine our way of life are the most effective tools in our anti-terror arsenal, the president added.
Despite the successes in quickly quelling the incidents, Americans must keep their guard up. In the age of lone-wolf terrorists who have managed to stay off the radar of national security agencies, that need is true now more than ever.
DON’T POLITICIZE ATTACKS
The disturbing volley of bombings, stabbings and thwarted attacks, however, must not be used by candidates in a seedy attempt to score political points.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump proved once again how low he is willing to go when he issued self-congratulatory remarks that labeled the Chelsea incident a bombing Saturday night, thereby upstaging trusted authorities on the scene and fanning the flames of fear.
To be sure, the weekend incidents prove that Americans must continue to let resilience triumph over fear. The professionalism, coordination and quick arrest in metro New York also provide a case study for first responders to lone-wolf or coordinated attacks. Those qualities also serve as a forceful warning to other would-be thugs hell-bent on terrorizing the American way of life.