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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombing is Among a Cluster - We're Missing Warning Signs

Boston Marathon's bombing on April 15th was an unanticipated assault on innocent people that raises alert signals for potential future heinous incidents. Perhaps knowing this potential reality is why former President George W. Bush was so concerned about the Boston attack.

“I was deeply concerned that this could have been another highly organized attack on the country and it still may be,” Bush said of the Boston Marathon bombing. “Again, I don’t know the facts, but I do know it’s really hard to protect the homeland. Those who want to do harm only have to be right one time, and we have to be right 100 percent of the time.”  

Three people were killed and more than 200 were injured in the Boston bombings on Patriot's Day.  Police arrested Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a 19-year-old college student, following an intense manhunt last Friday. His brother and alleged coconspirator, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a shootout with police earlier that day.

The day before the Tsarnaev brothers were captured, a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, exploded after a fire, killing at least 14 people and leaving hundreds more injured. In his interview with ABC News, Bush said that the twin tragedies reminded him of his time in the White House.

“It did hearken back to days where you become comforter-in-chief, you try to help heal souls that are hurting,” Bush said.

Moreover, the assumption of a potential coordinated attack was supported by a cluster of incidents that may be unrelated but sure are coincidental.

1.  April 15 - Boston Marathon attack on the city's Boylston Street.
2.  April - Ricin poison laced envelops sent to Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker and President Barack Obama - Charges were dropped in the case against Paul Kevin Curtis.  Everett Dutschke has since been arrested.
3.  April 22 - Canadian Broadcasting (CBC) reports of a thwarted bombing plot in Montreal, an Al Qaeda terror attempt targeting a US bound train. (Police say they arrested two men accused of conspiring to carry out an "al-Qaeda supported" attack targeting a Via passenger train in the Greater Toronto Area, following a cross-border investigation that involved Canadian and American law enforcement.)
4. April 14 -horrific West Texas fertilizer explosion kills first responders who rushed in to help victims. At least 14 people were killed, 200 injured and dozens of buildings were damaged in the blast. Investigators have not determined what started the blast or whether it was intentional. At least two lawsuits have been filed against Adair Grain Inc., which operated the West Fertilizer plant.
5.  April 22 - Man escapes by boat after trying to enter a Tennessee nuclear power plant as described in this Associated Press release:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An East Tennessee nuclear power plant has added security patrols after a weekend incident in which an officer exchanged gunfire with a man who then fled on a boat.

The FBI and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are investigating the shooting that occurred around 2 a.m. Sunday at Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) Watts Bar nuclear power plant near Spring City, Tenn., about 60 miles southwest of Knoxville.

Officials say no recent threats were made against the plant or its staff, but TVA spokesman Jim Hopson said security at the plant remains heightened and more security patrols are being performed there.

The incident began when a security officer was driving a routine patrol around the grounds and spotted a person on the bank of the Tennessee River, which lies on the eastern border of the facility.

Hopson said the man was on the perimeter of the TVA property and several hundred yards from the site's protected area where the reactor and power production facilities are. The plant has two nuclear units, but one is operating and the other is currently under construction.

Boaters are allowed in the river near the facility, but are not allowed on the banks, Hopson explained. He said the officer was by his vehicle up above the bank and was talking with the man to determine why he was there when the man shot at the officer multiple times.

The above incidents are a cluster of seemingly unrelated incidents. Nevertheless, they are connected to one another because of their correlation to real or perceived terrorism.

Tragically, no country on earth is immune from terrorist attacks, but the cluster of incidents is concerning. Diligence is essential because the occurrences, reported only a few days apart, in our homeland or targeted to America, are ominous harbingers of more lurking dangers.  

It's not only Al Qaeda we should be terrified about, either.  

Farah Stockman reports in the Boston Globe how we must be diligent about home grown terrorism. She reports about  Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist who once worked for the CIA, who made a bold prediction: Al Qaeda’s glory days were over. The greatest threat now was not a plot hatched and paid for by a mastermind in Afghanistan, but rather the ideas of countless “homegrown wannabes” in Europe and the United States.  “The threat is no longer ‘foreign fanatics,’ but people who grew up in the West,” he wrote in his book “Leaderless Jihad.”

Frankly, the future of terrorism and the mayhem it intentionally distributes like poisonous dust, is with us now.  It's not an organized enemy.

But the cluster of events President Bush reacted to by his concern is a well timed warning.  We must study the nature of terrorism and figure out how to eradicate its root causes, before more cluster incidents turn out to eventually become a repeat of the terror of September 11, 2001.

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