If New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly were trying during an April 25 news conference to reassure the public that the city’s security infrastructure was tight enough to stave off a terrorist attack, they weren’t doing a very good job of it.
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, many New Yorkers are wondering whether city officials can prevent another such attack. After all, New York has its own marathon, which attracts 45,000 runners and hundreds of thousands of spectators from around the globe each November, and winds through all five boroughs.
And, oh yeah, it’s New York City. Such large-scale events happen all the time.
A reporter asked whether officials were “confident” that the city’s thousands of surveillance cameras would have been enough to detect the two accused Boston bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, if they had made their way to Times Square to detonate another set of pressure-cooker bombs, as Dzhokhar claimed they planned to do.
“There are no guarantees,” Kelly responded, a position that Bloomberg quickly reiterated. One could only guesstimate the havoc the pair might have wreaked in New York if they had gotten past Massachusetts police, Kelly said.
Another reporter asked how the city is able to provide security at large gatherings such as a marathon. “With great difficulty,” Bloomberg responded. And, Kelly added, many police officers.
Prodded further, the police commissioner said that the city employs license plate readers, helicopters and a specially designed counterterrorism vehicle with a camera that continually rotates 360 degrees, beaming images of event participants and spectators to a computer database in search of suspected terrorists.
But no security measure is foolproof. There are tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of terrorists who want nothing more than to kill Americans. There is no logical reasoning behind that insane desire. They just want to cause harm.