Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 6:11 PM

‘New Normal’ Comes to New York City: Using Trucks for Acts of Terror

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Eight people were killed [and 11 were injured] when a man drove 20 blocks down a bike path beside the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon before he crashed his pickup truck, jumped out with fake guns and was shot by police officer, the authorities said.

Federal authorities were treating the incident as a terrorist attack and were taking the lead in the investigation, a senior law enforcement official said. Two law enforcement officials said that after the attacker got out of the truck, he was heard yelling, ‘Allahu Akbar,’ Arabic for ‘God is great.’

(New York Times, October 31, 2017)

Most Americans wouldn’t know it, but this new normal reached a tipping point over a year ago. That’s when a terrorist used a truck to run over pedestrians in Nice, France, killing 86 people.

On that occasion, I wrote “Carnage in Nice: France Attacked … Again,” July 15, 2016. I ended it by noting that the Groundhog-Day spectre of these attacks is such that I can do no better than to reprise this commentary for all future attacks.



With all due respect to the victims of this latest terrorist attack, the operative word in my title is “Again.”

After all, whether here in the United States or over in Europe, Asia, Africa, or the Middle East, terrorist attacks have become a fact of life … the new normal.

In any event, I presaged these attacks in “World Beware: French Riots Affect Us All,” November 8, 2005. In it, I highlighted the disaffection, disillusionment, and discrimination (racial and religious) that make young Muslim men so susceptible to radicalization. Never mind the chickens-coming-home-to-roost factor stemming from the invasion of Iraq, which spawned the “one thousand Bin Ladens” former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak warned about.

For a little perspective, it might be helpful to think of the so-called War on Terror like the War on Drugs, and to appreciate that we can be no more successful waging the former than we’ve been waging the latter. Nothing demonstrates this quite like the way terrorism has forced us to change our way of life – with our liberal democracies becoming more like barricaded police states every day. We all know about the Chicken-Little security measures at airports. But have you noticed that municipalities are reinforcing streets with 10 unsightly bollards for every 1 street lamp?

Yet, if it seems like we are helpless in the face of such terrorist attacks, it’s because we are. I’ve been bemoaning this for over a decade:

It must be understood that no matter their collective resolve, there’s absolutely nothing our governments can do to prevent such attacks. That Americans reacted yesterday as if those explosions went off in Washington or New York should compel Westerners to focus on calming our collective nerves, instead of fretting about (or worse, trying to figure out) the motivation for and timing of terrorist attacks by Islamic fanatics.

(“7/7 Terror Attacks in London,” The iPINIONS Journal, July 8, 2005)

Many criticized President Obama for years for ordering American troops to do too little to “defeat the terrorists.” By contrast, they hailed President Putin last September for ordering Russian troops to “bomb the hell out of them.”

russia-620958Except that 100-plus attacks in Western cities just this year (mostly by radicalized lone-wolf terrorists) make patently clear that this bombing is doing nothing to defeat them. In fact, all Putin has to show for nine months of bombing, from the air and sea, is such indiscriminate death and wanton destruction, terrorist leaders can fairly assert that he is responsible for killing more innocent men, women, and children than they.

Sadly, it did not take long for me to decry that “Bombing ISIS Smacks of Masturbatory Violence,” November 18, 2015.

Mind you, I’m not saying we should just lie back and take their attacks. To the contrary, I’m on record advocating targeted drone strikes, aggressive surveillance, and enhanced interrogation to keep terrorists at bay as much as humanly possible.

Notwithstanding the misguided backlash Snowden’s NSA disclosures have wrought, [Western countries] must allow their respective intelligence services to use all means necessary to surveil and apprehend the would-be terrorists amongst us before they act out their jihadist fantasies. Otherwise, we will terrorize ourselves to death if we keep reacting to every [terrorist attack] as if it were another 9/11.

(“Gunman Terrorizes Canada. Keep Calm and Carry On,” The iPINIONS Journal, October 23, 2014)

But don’t get me started on xenophobic and racist policies like banning or profiling Muslims. After all, the record of terrorist attacks in this country is such that we clearly have far more to fear from born-and-bred American terrorists than from any Muslim braving the two-year vetting process to sneak in and launch attacks.

On the other hand, the media could help if they stop providing wall-to-wall coverage of the fallout from such attacks. After all, such coverage to a terrorist is like a binge to an addict. And, notwithstanding all of the experts rehashing their anti-terror talking points, it does absolutely nothing to help prevent, or protect us from, future attacks.

I don’t know why the media always reward these psychopaths by giving them the fame they covet; that is, by plastering their pathetic mugs all over television and reporting pop psychology about why and how they did their dastardly deeds.

You’d think … we would have figured out by now that the best way to discourage them is by focusing our attention on the victims and limiting what we say about the [terrorists] to: May God have mercy on your soul as you all burn in Hell!

(“Massacre in Omaha,” The iPINIONS Journal, December 7, 2007)

Of course, media barons know this all too well. It’s just that they would rather exploit macabre, rubbernecking interests for ratings (their repetitious brain-dumbing, emotion-numbing content notwithstanding) than deny terrorists their incentivizing fix.

Therefore, the only thing we can do to help save ourselves is turn off the TV and pay respects to victims with a prayer, making sure to note that:

There but for the grace of God (go I).

But nothing would affirm and embolden national spirits quite like those of us not directly affected getting on with life in the face of these attacks. This includes the police processing the scene and municipal workers cleaning it up post-haste.

Incidentally, it would also help if politicians would stop using every terrorist attack to burnish their leadership bona fides; you know, the way Mayor Rudy Giuliani used 9/11.

All else, including posting sympathy hashtags on social media and projecting national flags on landmarks, is folly.

NOTE: There is now a Groundhog-Day spectre to these attacks and reaction to them. Which is why they have become no more worthy of comment than another drive-by shooting in ‘Chiraq.’ Therefore, I shall suffice henceforth to reprise this commentary, taking care of course to acknowledge the targets and victims of future attacks.


With that, I fear it’s only a matter of time before (Muslim) terrorists using cars to kill becomes as commonplace as (white) terrorists using guns (as was the case in Las Vegas just weeks ago). And, as the attack in Nice demonstrated with foreboding terror, cars can easily rival guns and bombs when it comes to wreaking carnage.

All the same, the following points of annoyance bears repeating:

  • Media should stop treating every attack like another 9/11. Nothing is more annoying in this respect than their wall-to-wall coverage, featuring reporters pouncing on terrorized eyewitnesses like hyenas on stranded gazelles.
  • Police should stop holding news conferences to do little more than pat themselves on the back. Nothing is more annoying in this respect than them touting their Potemkin-like “show of force,” which their robocops always perform after these attacks.
  • Politicians should stop treating terrorist attacks as opportunities to demonstrate legacy-sealing leadership. Nothing is more annoying in this respect than the way they propagate the fallacy that mass killings by whites are just horrific crimes, but mass killings by Muslims are “acts of terror.”
  • President Trump should stop publishing his chest-thumping, knuckle-dragging, brain-dumbing tweets of defiance. Nothing is more annoying in this respect than knowing that he actually thinks terrorists are more afraid of his tweets than they are of the police. LAME IDIOT!

Ultimately, though, the best thing any public official can say after these attacks is:

Related commentaries:
World beware
Brussels Paris San Bernadino et al
Masturbatory violence
Las Vegas

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