St. Patrick’s Day Comes Early

Weekend of near-misses in the U.S.


By now we are all aware of the long weekend of lucky near-miss terrorist incidents that have struck the U.S. The proceedings started with a pipe bomb at a New Jersey fun-run, which was followed by a mass stabbing attack by some nameless perpetrator in St. Cloud Minnesota, then a dumpster bomb in Manhattan which injured dozens out on a Saturday night (but luckily killed nobody) and a companion bomb a few blocks from the first which failed to detonate, and concluded (seemingly) with a set of pipe bombs in a trash can in an Elizabeth, NJ, train station which apparently obliterated a bomb-disposal robot but hurt nobody else.

I pause, first, to express my sympathy for the victims of these attacks, and wish them all complete and speedy recoveries. The bystanders, too, who escaped immediate injury deserve their own measure of sympathy and support. Let me speak from experience: Many years ago I found myself in the vicinity of a Palestinian suicide bombing, while on a trip to the Holy Land, and the scenes of pandemonium in the immediate aftermath remain imprinted in my memory. Also firmly imprinted in my memory were the celebratory fireworks set off that night by the Arabs of East Jerusalem — but that is a discussion for another time.

As usual, we must allow Crimestop to kick-in and we must provisionally assign blame to the Irish, as to think that any other group might be responsible for some or all of these attacks would be Racist if not Islamophobic. Since stabbing attacks are so personal, and the press has been so reluctant to publish the name or any other identifying details concerning the knifeman in Minnesota, I’ve decided to dub him Haven Monahan. I mean, Somalis are in the distinct minority in the great frozen North, so it is nigh unthinkable to offer a $10 bet that the perpetrator will turn out to be from that community; that is, a bet under which this author will donate $10 to the Donald Trump political campaign if the perpetrator turns out to be from such community, and will donate $10 to the Hillary Clinton political campaign / legal defense fund if it turns out that he is not. Unthinkable. Just saying.

Regarding the bomb attacks, well, I’m not so sure. Home-made pressure cooker bombs containing commonly available explosives planted in public waste bins were famously used by the Chechen Bomb Brothers in the Boston Marathon attack, but they could have been assembled by virtually anyone. A high-casualty suicide attack using explosive mixtures other than the ones allegedly used in New York and New Jersey would be the hallmark of the more militant adherents of the Religion of Peace, but the press is reporting black powder and Tannerite, which are particularly popular with the “let’s blow up old stuff in a disused quarry” Real-‘Murican set. And the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan, where the dumpster bomb went off, is ground-zero for the kind of Sodom-and-Gommorah iniquity that makes most normal Americans queasy, and is home to the sorts of folks who’d pay money to hear Hillary Clinton call a quarter of all Americans ‘deplorable.’ So it’s almost conceivable that a ‘deplorable’ set these bombs, in some kind of attempt to get back at those people who would smear him, or perhaps (hoping to escape undetected) to make the Irish look bad.

Almost. I’m sure that’s what Hillary Clinton supporters are secretly wishing, just as the ‘deporables’ must be ignoring their sensitivity training and hoping that it was some kind of Irishman.

It doesn’t entirely add up, of course. The technical issue being that Tannerite is a very stable mixture that only detonates when struck with a high-powered rifle round — which is why its main sporting application is as a reactive target substance. That is, rather than walk 500 yards to see if you won the bet over whether you could hit the beer can with a shot from your hunting rifle at that distance, you just stick a few ounces of Tannerite in it and look out for the great big ball of smoke. Conventional detonation techniques don’t work with it; even certain kinds of lower-powered firearms ammunition won’t work. Was the Tannerite modified in some fashion to make it more sensitive (this is possible)? Was a unique detonation method devised to simulate (or incorporate) a high-powered rifle round? There are important details which the press has omitted and which they probably don’t even know enough to pursue.

Yet the social issue is bigger: It’s been over twenty years since a disaffected ‘deplorable’ pulled off a mass-casualty bombing. It’s been, what, a few hours since the last time an Irishman attempted the same thing somewhere on this planet? More targeted attacks are the current hallmark of the ‘deplorables’ — assassinating a Bible study group at a Black church, or gunfire at an abortion clinic — and even these kinds of attacks are uncommon relative to the population of ‘deplorables’ at large. The Peaceful Irish, on the other hand, are a much smaller part of the population in either the U.S. or Western Europe, but have been far more stabby/shooty/bomby/truck-run-overy in recent years/decades.

But never mind that. Our benevolent President just last week announced plans to increase the number of “refugees” we admit to the U.S. from just the sorts of places where mass casualty bombings are commonplace. Because it’s [Present Year]. Because taking sensible measures to reduce unnecessary risks is Not Who We Are. Because Reasons.

Even if these particular bombs were planted by militant Mennonites, is it not possible to ponder deeply the general trends of the world and reach some necessary — if politically incorrect — conclusions about it? Or are we innumerate and insensible, buying the argument that since we’re exposed to a certain amount of danger from some source already, there is no reason to try to reduce the amount of that or other dangers? Such an attitude is idiotic, but sadly not unprecedented among people who really should know better.

I leave all that as an exercise to my reader. My parting advice is to enjoy yourself this St. Patrick’s Day weekend, but try to stay safe.

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