Car bomb in Times Square

A T-shirt vendor spotted a smoking SUV and alerted some quick-acting cops, who, in turn, called in the Fire Department and the bomb squad.  Thanks to them, a terrorist attack was thwarted Saturday in New York City’s busy Times Square:

The T-shirt vendor – a Vietnam vet – told Officer Wayne Rhatigan there was smoke coming from a Nissan SUV on the southwest corner of 45th St. and Broadway about 6:30 p.m., sources said.

Rhatigan approached the car, saw the smoke and sprang into action.

“I did a lap around the vehicle. The inside was smoking,” Rhatigan told the Daily News. “I smelled gunpowder and knew it might blow. I thought it might blow any second.”

He alerted two rookie female cops patrolling the area. Together, they pushed hundreds of people away from the scene as they called for backup, he said.

The Fire Department and bomb squad rushed to the scene.

What they found was stunning: a running SUV packed with three propane tanks, two red 5-gallon plastic jugs of gasoline, a clock, electrical components and a canister of gunpowder, police sources said.

“We are very lucky,” Mayor Bloomberg said at an early morning press conference at the scene, still in the tuxedo and red bow tie he wore to the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington. “Thanks to alert New Yorkers and professional police officers we avoided what could have been a very deadly event.”

via Time Square car bomb: Cops evacuate heart of NYC after ‘potential terrorist attack’.

The Pakistani Taliban is claiming credit. Some suspect a “South Park” connection, since the bomb was located near Viacom, the production company that owns the satirical cartoon that enraged Muslims for presenting Muhammed in a bear suit. A white male was caught on tape acting “furtively” around the Nissan Pathfinder. Authorities have identified the owner of the vehicle. As of now, the perpetrators are unknown.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Dan Kempin

    Gasoline, propane tanks, and gunpowder. This does not reach the level of competent, let alone professional. Even the Taliban should be ashamed to claim credit.

  • Dan Kempin

    Gasoline, propane tanks, and gunpowder. This does not reach the level of competent, let alone professional. Even the Taliban should be ashamed to claim credit.

  • Carl Vehse

    Be on the lookout for a furtive white male… or someone dressed up as Muhammed in a bear suit.

  • Carl Vehse

    Be on the lookout for a furtive white male… or someone dressed up as Muhammed in a bear suit.

  • Winston Smith

    I’m sure that store clerks are now being encouraged to report anyone who buys propane or clocks as a potential terrorist.

  • Winston Smith

    I’m sure that store clerks are now being encouraged to report anyone who buys propane or clocks as a potential terrorist.

  • Tom Hering

    It’s Toyota trying to make Nissans look more dangerous than Toyotas.

  • Tom Hering

    It’s Toyota trying to make Nissans look more dangerous than Toyotas.

  • Kirk

    @Tom

    The true plot is revealed!

  • Kirk

    @Tom

    The true plot is revealed!

  • Mary Ann Coley

    The components may have been unproffesional, but the damage would still have been horrible.

  • Mary Ann Coley

    The components may have been unproffesional, but the damage would still have been horrible.

  • Tom Hering

    Re: Bomb near Viacom (South Park’s production company).

    Jesus said, “… any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people … Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him …” (Matthew 12:31-32).

    But Muhammed is so darn touchy. What’s up with that?

  • Tom Hering

    Re: Bomb near Viacom (South Park’s production company).

    Jesus said, “… any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people … Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him …” (Matthew 12:31-32).

    But Muhammed is so darn touchy. What’s up with that?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    According to the New York Times, “local officials said there was no evidence to support a claim of responsibility issued Sunday by a Pakistani Taliban group that has a reputation for making far-fetched attempts to take credit for attacks.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    According to the New York Times, “local officials said there was no evidence to support a claim of responsibility issued Sunday by a Pakistani Taliban group that has a reputation for making far-fetched attempts to take credit for attacks.”

  • Tom Hering

    According to FOX, leads in the case are pointing at an international connection. Who else overseas besides Islamic militants would want to set off an explosion right next to Viacom headquarters?

  • Tom Hering

    According to FOX, leads in the case are pointing at an international connection. Who else overseas besides Islamic militants would want to set off an explosion right next to Viacom headquarters?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Actually Tom (@9), here is what Fox said:

    The investigation into the Times Square car bomb has started to reveal information that suggests the failed attack was the work of an international plot, a senior administration official told Fox News.

    The official could not definitively say whether a foreign conspiracy was behind the incident, but that the body of evidence was moving in that direction.

    The Washington Post first reported that officials were eyeing an international connection. One official told the Post that “some tell-tale signs” have led investigators to look at a “foreign nexus.”

    If you manage to glean information from those sentences, it is because you are assuming it. I mean, come on. An unnamed “official” has “started” to show something that “suggests” an international plot. Said unnamed official can’t say definitively if that’s actually true, but things are “moving in that direction”. I mean, they’re “eyeing” an international connection! And they’ve been led to “look at” an international angle. Golly! It can be nothing other than Muslims, right?

    Let me know when we have actual facts in this case.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Actually Tom (@9), here is what Fox said:

    The investigation into the Times Square car bomb has started to reveal information that suggests the failed attack was the work of an international plot, a senior administration official told Fox News.

    The official could not definitively say whether a foreign conspiracy was behind the incident, but that the body of evidence was moving in that direction.

    The Washington Post first reported that officials were eyeing an international connection. One official told the Post that “some tell-tale signs” have led investigators to look at a “foreign nexus.”

    If you manage to glean information from those sentences, it is because you are assuming it. I mean, come on. An unnamed “official” has “started” to show something that “suggests” an international plot. Said unnamed official can’t say definitively if that’s actually true, but things are “moving in that direction”. I mean, they’re “eyeing” an international connection! And they’ve been led to “look at” an international angle. Golly! It can be nothing other than Muslims, right?

    Let me know when we have actual facts in this case.

  • Tom Hering

    tODD @ 10, of course it can be someone other than Muslims who are responsible for the car bomb. But look again at whose building the Pathfinder was parked next to. Coincidence? Who has Viacom offended most recently?

  • Tom Hering

    tODD @ 10, of course it can be someone other than Muslims who are responsible for the car bomb. But look again at whose building the Pathfinder was parked next to. Coincidence? Who has Viacom offended most recently?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@11), once again, let me know when we have actual facts in this case. You are basing your guesses on nothing. You assume that the fact that this is Viacom’s headquarters is significant because you assume that this was the work of Muslims. What you’ve also apparently assumed is that: (1) the placement of this truck was significant in the first place (and not, say, done out of necessity due to the timing of the explosives), (2) that this was not merely a strike on Times Square itself, a popular tourist destination in a major US city and a general cultural symbol, (3) that there was no other way to describe this location than as being near Viacom HQ. It is also the location of the Nokia Theatre Times Square and the Minskoff Theatre (currently showing The Lion King, I believe). There is also a Bank of America there.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@11), once again, let me know when we have actual facts in this case. You are basing your guesses on nothing. You assume that the fact that this is Viacom’s headquarters is significant because you assume that this was the work of Muslims. What you’ve also apparently assumed is that: (1) the placement of this truck was significant in the first place (and not, say, done out of necessity due to the timing of the explosives), (2) that this was not merely a strike on Times Square itself, a popular tourist destination in a major US city and a general cultural symbol, (3) that there was no other way to describe this location than as being near Viacom HQ. It is also the location of the Nokia Theatre Times Square and the Minskoff Theatre (currently showing The Lion King, I believe). There is also a Bank of America there.

  • Dan Kempin

    I still maintain that it is hype to call this a “car bomb.” True, there was apparent intent to attack, but in another political climate it could well be called an “attempted arson.” There was nothing in that car more dangerous than any fueled vehicle, and while it is true that the propane tanks could have blown, the inferno required to do so would have cleared the area long before.

    Why is this being reported as a weapon of mass destruction, I wonder?

  • Dan Kempin

    I still maintain that it is hype to call this a “car bomb.” True, there was apparent intent to attack, but in another political climate it could well be called an “attempted arson.” There was nothing in that car more dangerous than any fueled vehicle, and while it is true that the propane tanks could have blown, the inferno required to do so would have cleared the area long before.

    Why is this being reported as a weapon of mass destruction, I wonder?

  • Dan Kempin

    **disclaimer**
    For the record, these are just my musings based on common sense. I have no particular knowledge or expertise on the technical side of such a device.

  • Dan Kempin

    **disclaimer**
    For the record, these are just my musings based on common sense. I have no particular knowledge or expertise on the technical side of such a device.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh, Dan (@14). They’re already coming for you.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh, Dan (@14). They’re already coming for you.

  • Tom Hering

    tODD @ 12, I’m just going with the simplest theory (much simpler than your alternatives), given the facts we have so far. (Occam’s razor.) Which is what you do when dealing with something that’s still a mystery.

    By the way, the latest report is that the Pathfinfer’s original owner sold the vehicle, two weeks ago, to a man of “middle eastern” or “hispanic” appearance. This mystery man has not been seen by his girlfriend, nor has he shown up at his home or workplace, since the car bomb was discovered

  • Tom Hering

    tODD @ 12, I’m just going with the simplest theory (much simpler than your alternatives), given the facts we have so far. (Occam’s razor.) Which is what you do when dealing with something that’s still a mystery.

    By the way, the latest report is that the Pathfinfer’s original owner sold the vehicle, two weeks ago, to a man of “middle eastern” or “hispanic” appearance. This mystery man has not been seen by his girlfriend, nor has he shown up at his home or workplace, since the car bomb was discovered

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@16), I don’t have a theory, so you can’t make any claims as to how simple mine is.

    Also, Occam’s razor is fairly useless when you have few or no facts. That’s entirely my point. You’ll attempt to make the simplest connection of the few dots you have, assuming that they form a useful sample of the full knowledge you hope to eventually gain.

    Also, you apparently dismiss the idea that the man may have actually been Hispanic, maybe because it doesn’t fit your preconceived scenario?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@16), I don’t have a theory, so you can’t make any claims as to how simple mine is.

    Also, Occam’s razor is fairly useless when you have few or no facts. That’s entirely my point. You’ll attempt to make the simplest connection of the few dots you have, assuming that they form a useful sample of the full knowledge you hope to eventually gain.

    Also, you apparently dismiss the idea that the man may have actually been Hispanic, maybe because it doesn’t fit your preconceived scenario?

  • Tom Hering

    tODD @ 17, a Hispanic would fit my preconceived scenario quite nicely, as it’s not impossible for Hispanics to be Muslims – or terrorists, for that matter. ;-)

  • Tom Hering

    tODD @ 17, a Hispanic would fit my preconceived scenario quite nicely, as it’s not impossible for Hispanics to be Muslims – or terrorists, for that matter. ;-)

  • Tom Hering

    It’s also not impossible for a Hispanic Muslim terrorist to have come here from his adopted home country in the Middle East …

    Man, I can FEEL the simplicity of my theory just slipping away …

    *Sob*

  • Tom Hering

    It’s also not impossible for a Hispanic Muslim terrorist to have come here from his adopted home country in the Middle East …

    Man, I can FEEL the simplicity of my theory just slipping away …

    *Sob*

  • Joe

    Dan – the “benefit” of propane here is that it is a pressurized. It will explode like a large frag grenade if the pressure is high enough. Propane boils at -44 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat from the gas fire could cause it to explode – when it does it makes a big old ball of fire. Or if the valve on the tank is weak it turns into a torpedo.

    Disclaimer: I only know this because I used too drive a propane truck for a living.

  • Joe

    Dan – the “benefit” of propane here is that it is a pressurized. It will explode like a large frag grenade if the pressure is high enough. Propane boils at -44 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat from the gas fire could cause it to explode – when it does it makes a big old ball of fire. Or if the valve on the tank is weak it turns into a torpedo.

    Disclaimer: I only know this because I used too drive a propane truck for a living.


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