5/05/2005

If You Can't Strike At Them In Their Own Country, Go Someplace Where The Security Sucks



Today's elections in Britain rouse strong feelings. And apparently someone felt that the best way to register his vote was to set off explosives in front of a United Kingdom governmental building.

Except that between decades of dealing with the IRA, and joining with the US in the invasion of Iraq, security in Britain itself is tight, tight, tight.

So, obviously, the best course is to go to some other country, some country where the security isn't as tight, and to set off your explosives at a British consulate or mission.

What country would you choose? What city would you go to?

How about the United States? How about mid-town Manhattan?

What's being described as "two small grenades" were set off in concrete planters in front of the offices of the UK mission in New York early this morning. No injuries, and the only major damage outside the planters was a foot-long piece of concrete being propelled through one of the building's plate-glass windows. (But if someone had been standing in the path of that piece of concrete....)

What struck me about the photo in this BBC news article, though, was that the heavy concrete planters were obviously designed and set in place as obstacles to vehicles attempting to leave the street and ram into the building.

You can also see, in the photo, that yellow tape has been put across the street to block access to the planters while police investigate.

So that physical security line stops at the curb.

Which means that if, instead of a couple of grenades, the person(s) responsible had decided to go for the spectacular, and loaded a truck up with ammonium nitrate and diesel fuel, they wouldn't have been able to smash their way into the building before detonating (as in the Beirut Marine barracks bombing). They would have had to settle for parking at the curb. (Okay, it's NYC. Double-parking.)

Just. Like. Timothy. McVeigh.

2 comments:

Gary Farber said...

I'm not very clear what your point is, though. Should vehicle traffic be banned in Manhattan? (Obviously, even if somehow it was thought reasonable and politically possible to ban ordinary civilian driving, innumerable trucks have to be permitted unless Manhattan is to be deci-decimated in population.)

If truck bombs are going to be prevented from going off in Manhattan, interfering with traffic, save in an incredibly minimal fashion, simply can't be the way to do it. So what exactly are you suggesting isn't being done that should? (And they weren't "grenades" in any standard military sense, but instead was simple black powder, reports say; banning saltpeter, charcoal, and sulfer, isn't going to be on the agenda, either; and a good thing, or what would we do in the event of Gorn invasion?)

Sunny said...

Probably the reason that the home-made grenades were used, was that if you leave a panel truck (like a U-Haul)parked anywhere for longer than a few minutes, everyone and their mother starts calling the police to report it. Most police departments now have a policy in place that simply allows them to tow any abandoned vehicle that doesn't have a permit to be at that specific location. It doesn't diminish the probability of more of these small, home-made devices going off in big cities. I think that people who are screaming about the Homeland Security Act and it's restrictions would do well to consider this event. The reason we have the sucky security that we have, is that we are too busy trying to protect the rights of the very people who would destroy us.