Times Square Terror Scare From Fire Bomb Inside Vehicle

Times Square had a bomb scare this evening, causing police to evacuate the area. A fire started in a parked car, and after breaking through the car windows, an incendiary device was found inside.

All reports indicate the vehicle contained gasoline, propane and possibly gun powder. Incindiary devices are not explosive devices, but are lethal.

Officers proceeded to dismantle the device on the scene.

This does not sound terror-related to me, particularly since it was an incendiary but not explosive device, but the story is developing, so stay tuned.

One evacuated tourist was apparently not concerned. ""We can't get to our show," was her comment.

Update: Police don't suspect terrorism.

< Saturday Morning Open Thread | U.S. Lets $101 Million Verdict Stand Over FBI Frame in Mob Slaying Case >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    I think that you are underplaying this event. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Sat May 01, 2010 at 11:50:36 PM EST
    First I think the "non terrorism call" that was made was premature and it may have been recalled.

    Second though as a rule I personally don't describe or detail bomb making techniques I would not dismiss the device "as described" as only incendiary and not explosive and further I would not say that even if the intent was to be only incendiary that that would mean it was not a effort at terrorism.

    Third I wonder why the effort to downplay this event.  I take it very seriously.  You should too.

    It's silly or dishonest to refuse.. (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by szielinski on Sun May 02, 2010 at 04:12:38 PM EST
    ...to label this incident a terrorist attack or a likely terrorist attack. If it was not a terrorist attack that would only be possible if the bombers lacked an intended political effect of their attack. A non-political attack is possible. Yet how often do we see sociopaths without ideology create truck bombs to terrorize and kill hundreds or thousands of randomly selected individuals?

    I agree with this (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Spamlet on Sun May 02, 2010 at 05:23:10 PM EST
    It's silly or dishonest to refuse to label this incident a terrorist attack or a likely terrorist attack.

    It's unnecessary and unhelpful to reach (as the psychologists say) premature cognitive closure.

    Apparently some people cannot tolerate dissent or ambiguity, so great is their fear of being controlled by someone else who disagrees with them. (In the lexicon of this particular paranoiac manifestation, the uncooperative other is labeled a "bedwetter," since insults apparently keep the panic at bay.)

    But does anyone actually think that catering to intolerance of ambiguity would be a good reason for cutting short, blacking out, or whitewashing an investigation that may or may not reveal (Oh my God! Look under the bed!) an attempted act of terrorism?


    Check Under Your Bed (none / 0) (#21)
    by squeaky on Sun May 02, 2010 at 09:39:13 AM EST
    Good thing the street vendor (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Peter G on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:46:21 PM EST
    who noticed the smoking car and flagged down a passing cop was an unemployed Vietnam Vet and not an immigrant of dubious status, and that the incident occurred in New York rather than in Phoenix, or the guy might have been rather reluctant to have that disaster-averting "encounter" with the authorities.

    So you posit that (none / 0) (#31)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 02, 2010 at 02:41:28 PM EST
    a consequence would have been the vehicle not being spotted. Maybe, maybe not.

    But we do know for certain the crimes committed by some undocumented workers... rapes, murders, robberies and other violent crimes....would not have been committed had the person not been here.

    "What if" is a game that can be played by everyone. Usually to no one's advantage.


    totally fallacious comment, Jim (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Peter G on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:41:21 PM EST
    Non-citizens without lawful status commit proportionally fewer crimes, not more, than others in the U.S.  Makes perfect sense, since keeping a low profile and minimizing encounters with The Man is a survival technique for them.  You could as well say that any crime would not have occurred if the criminal were not present.  And on that self-evident basis you could justify any lawless preventive policy.

    Umm, I think you are on the wrong thread! (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Upstart Crow on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:49:18 PM EST
    I didn't say they did. (none / 0) (#34)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 02, 2010 at 04:10:49 PM EST
    My comment had nothing to do with the crime rate.

    I'm just pointing out that if you claim that if the crime had been in AZ it might not have been reported because the first person on the scene was an undocumented worker then you can say that if the undocumented worker who committed any crime had not been in the US the crime wouldn't have happened.

    If we had some ham we would have some ham and eggs if we had some eggs.


    please take this to an immigration thread (none / 0) (#36)
    by Jeralyn on Sun May 02, 2010 at 04:56:24 PM EST
    it's off topic

    If it isn't terrorism, (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:01:15 AM EST
    then it isn't a bomb.

    Well, (none / 0) (#13)
    by Zorba on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:18:39 AM EST
    the BBC is calling it a "car bomb."  I guess they haven't gotten "the word" yet.

    So is the NYT (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:24:03 AM EST

    A crude car bomb of propane, gasoline and fireworks was discovered in a smoking Nissan Pathfinder in the heart of Times Square on Saturday evening, prompting the evacuation of thousands of tourists and theatergoers on a warm and busy night. Although the device had apparently started to detonate, there was no explosion, and early on Sunday the authorities were still seeking a suspect and motive.


    Inside, they discovered three canisters of propane like those used for barbecue grills, two five-gallon cans of gasoline, consumer-grade fireworks -- the apparent source of the "pops" -- and two clocks with batteries, the mayor said. He said the device "looked amateurish."

    Mr. Browne said: "It appeared it was in the process of detonating, but it malfunctioned."

    Bomb squad officers also discovered a two-by-two-by-four-foot metal box -- described as a "gun locker" -- in the S.U.V. that was taken to the Police Department's firing range at Rodman's Neck in the Bronx to be destroyed, Mr. Kelly said. It was not immediately known what, if anything, was inside it.

    Also, (none / 0) (#3)
    by andgarden on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:08:44 AM EST
    Who are these morons lined up at security barriers? Get away!

    Tourists? (none / 0) (#4)
    by nycstray on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:36:04 AM EST
    nycstray, nice to see (none / 0) (#5)
    by caseyOR on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:40:10 AM EST
    you back. Hope the move to the west coast wasn't too traumatizing.

    Thanks :) (none / 0) (#7)
    by nycstray on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:49:56 AM EST
    Gotta say . . .  not going to miss living in target city.

    Like I said below: (none / 0) (#17)
    by scribe on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:03:47 AM EST
    Real Noo Yawkers have seen police cars and fire trucks before and don't stand at barricades gawking.

    Family members are there (none / 0) (#6)
    by Cream City on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:45:30 AM EST
    in or near Times Square.  But cellphones are not working well to tell us more -- a problem we have had before amid the canyons of NYC.  Waiting. . . .

    Cell phones are prob in massive use (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by nycstray on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:53:47 AM EST
    at the moment. Always a prob when there's an 'incident'. If they get back to where they are staying and use a LL, there shouldn't be a prob. Or a computer.

    I just know (none / 0) (#9)
    by TomStewart on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:04:58 AM EST
    that somewhow, this is Obama's fault.

    please don't stray off topic (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:46:02 AM EST
    Tanks of propane not explosive? (none / 0) (#11)
    by Babel 17 on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:50:54 AM EST
    IIRC tanks of propane have been used in conjunction with other elements to enhance an explosion.

    I too would rather not go into details though they are close to being common knowledge.

    No, they can be (none / 0) (#15)
    by scribe on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:44:47 AM EST
    b/c they have propane in them, but b/c they are made out of pretty stout steel, any knucklehead trying to use them has to figure out a way to pop them open.  Not that easy, I suppose.

    They have no idea (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:12:17 AM EST
    if it was terrorism or not.

    According to the link provided, the governor said:

    "Luckily, no one is hurt, and now the full attention of city, state and federal law enforcement will be turned to bringing the guilty party to justice in this act of terrorism."

    The mayor said:

    "We have no idea who did this or why."

    The police have said they no suspect or motive at this time.  So, really, we have no idea what this was about. And the whiny tourist who was more concerned about her show, well, there is no comment for that.

    I think a whiny tourist mad about (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by scribe on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:48:46 AM EST
    missing her show is exactly the right response to something like this.

    If people get all timorous and twitching over a knucklehead doingsomething like this, then the terrists (and the Villagers who benefit from them) have won.

    You see something - which appears to have been the case here - you tell the cop, the cops take care of the problem, and you stay out of the way.

    And move on with your life.  They're dealing with it like Noo Yawkers.  It's the out-of-towners who stand at the barriers and gawk.  Real Noo Yawkers have seen police cars and fire trucks before.


    Apparently the standard VIN plate was yanked (none / 0) (#18)
    by andgarden on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:26:33 AM EST
    Given that, I'm going to presume this was terrorism.

    More Exciting That Way (none / 0) (#22)
    by squeaky on Sun May 02, 2010 at 09:42:49 AM EST
    No doubt...

    I'd presume just the opposite (none / 0) (#23)
    by Jeralyn on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:38:08 AM EST
    from that. Terrorists want people to know who did it so they get credit. Foreign terrorists tend to use suicide bombers. The person who did this ran away. Either it's an angry loner or a domestic fringe group. It sure doesn't sound like al Qaida.

    As of early Sunday afternoon (none / 0) (#28)
    by Spamlet on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:37:32 PM EST
    the NY Times has this:

    The Homeland Security secretary said it was being treated as a potential terrorist attack.

    Well we were assured that (none / 0) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:53:27 AM EST
    the Fort Hood Murders weren't terrorism.

    Then we were assured that the attack on the IRS office was terrorism.

    And now we are assured that this wasn't terrorism.

    Anybody want to buy a bridge? Location: Not to far from Times Square. AKA Brooklyn Bridge.

    I dunno (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Jen M on Sun May 02, 2010 at 09:30:42 AM EST
    I think giving people like the Ft Hood shooter the title of "Terrorist" is giving him more respect than he merits.  I favor calling him a common criminal.

    But hey, I guess it depends on which name you find more demeaning.


    A person who descends (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Peter G on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:48:55 AM EST
    into a deepening pit of clinical mental illness mixed with religious obsession cannot be helpfully described as either a "common criminal" or a "terrorist."

    Anwar al-Awlaki? (none / 0) (#26)
    by Upstart Crow on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:02:58 PM EST
    Pardon me, but wasn't the guy getting some sort of instructions or guidance from Anwar al-Awlaki? And weren't they investigating whether he was sending large sums of money abroad?  (It pretty much disappeared from the press about that time.)

    The original MSM coverage was talking all sorts of invented stuff about "secondary post traumatic stress," which they picked up from "secondary smoke," I guess -- but I think it's foolhardy to say it's only terrorism if the perp is of sound mind and on some sort of Al Quaida payroll.


    I'm all for "investigating" whatever (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Peter G on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:58:05 PM EST
    merits further investigation.  As for what the facts may actually be, I'm content to await the testimony and verdict at Hasan's court martial.  Hasan's civilian counsel, by the way, comments from time to time at his website on developments in the case.

    Don't Presume there is a standard "MO." (none / 0) (#25)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:01:48 PM EST
    Don't presume there is a standard "MO."

    First all terrorists aren't AQ and don't use sophisticated explosive chemicals.  
    All terrorists don't advertise.  Some try to sneak away.  Did Timothy McVeigh advertise?
    And also terrorists like to advertise when they are successful, not when they fail.  

    Secondly cars or trucks all by themselves can explode when set afire.  

    "This is a bomb. This is a car bomb. A crude device that includes gasoline, propane and is wired together," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.

    Third there could have been an additional 20 to 30 gallons of fuel in the big SUV's gas tank.  The equivalent of 4 to 6 more 5 Gallon cans added to the (2) 5 gallon cans found inside the vehicle.

    And finally I would assume the City of NY would very much like to soft pedal this incident and not have it be called Terrorism.  They would naturally go the other way and just call it a crazy stunt by an idiot so as not to scare tourists and theater goers.

    Why's That (none / 0) (#27)
    by squeaky on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:19:58 PM EST
    And finally I would assume the City of NY would very much like to soft pedal this incident and not have it be called Terrorism.  

    Because there are many people like you, who are primed by the right wing and their enablers, the so called "liberal MSM".

    Both the MSM and the right wing Politicians have profited by having a bedwetter nation primed to react like trained seals whenever the word terrorist pops up.

    Remember BushCo obsession with the word 9/11, and his terror alerts, and the GOPers criticizing Obama for not using the word terror enough? Well that is because the meme of the GOP is that the terrorists want to take your freedoms away and the Democrats are weak on terrorists, so in order to be safe the only choice is vote GOP.

    The MSM profits by keeping the public glued to the MSM because the terrorists are coming... and you better stay tuned or you may miss something and lose your freedoms. Meanwhile every 3 minutes they get to sell soap.

    The city of NY, sans Giuliani, has opted to consider this a crime of vandalism, because they do not feel a need to pander to a crowd that has gotten addicted to fearmongering by the GOP and MSM.