A homemade explosive device detonated in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City on Sept. 17. According to the city’s authorities, the accident resulted in 29 injured civilians. Suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami has since been taken into custody where authorities are currently investigating Rahami’s motives and potential connections to terrorist organizations.
“It is truly tragic that another attack of this sort has happened,” said Jeffrey Heo (11), a veteran MUN member. “Though casulaties were minimal, the bombing had potential to be exponentially more destructive. If the bombings in New York and New Jersey were more coordinated and if the perpetrator used explosives with a larger blast radius, then another attack that could have matched the scale and destructiveness of the Boston Marathon Bombings would have occurred.”
The explosion originated from the vicinity of a dumpster on 23rd street, the New York Police Department reported. In addition, none of the 29 people who were injured due to the explosion were reported to be in a critical state. Nearby the site of the explosion, a second explosive device was identified as a pressure cooker rigged with wires.
“The ubiquity of materials and instructions to make homemade bombs could wreck havoc throughout the US and even South Korea,” said Brian Kong (12), a past AP World History student. “It is amazing but also scary that a pressure cooker like the Cuckoo rice cooker I have at home could be made into an explosive device. If such is the case, what could stop my pencil case or my phone from blowing up in my face?”
Ahmad Khan Rahami was a possible suspect to both the Chelsea bombing and another explosion near a United States Marine Corps charity run in New Jersey. He has also been linked to multiple pipe bombs discovered in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He was identified and apprehended after multiple exchanges of gunfire between the New Jersey police department and Rahami at Linden, New Jersey. Rahami is currently charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.
“I think it is important to concentrate on how much destruction one man could have brought if he was not apprehended earlier,” said Justin Lee (11), a former AP US History student. “Excluding the explosion at Chelsea and the charity run, there was still one bomb at New York and five bombs at New Jersey left unexploded. If those had gone off, many more people could have been killed, leading to another tragedy like 9/11.”
Authorities are currently investigating Rahami’s motives to investigate possible links to terrorist organizations and to determine if he had any accomplices. Officials report that though Rahami had regularly travelled to Afghanistan and was in possession of a notebook with reference to other terrorists, Rahami is more likely to be a self-proclaimed terrorist not in affiliation with any established terrorist networks. In addition, the Afghan Taliban denied any connections to Rahami, further solidifying the assumption that Rahami was not instructed, but merely inspired by the organization.
“The reason that these lone wolves exist is because of social media. The proliferation of media and social media exacerbates the problems that disgruntled individuals might have and makes it easier for lone wolves to conduct attacks,” said Peter Beckway, language arts teacher. “In the past, you had to be affiliated with terrorist groups, had to attend meetings, and had to have one-on-one contact with an insider. But now, groups like ISIS can just throw something up in the media and people can easily become a soldier of the Islamic State.”