Right after 9/11, there were stories about Middle Eastern guys on commercial flights requesting seatbelt extenders, even though they weren’t fat enough to need them. The theory, as it was explained to me, was that they were doing a test run for a terrorist attack in which the seatbelt extenders could be used as weapons. It always sounded like a paranoid conspiracy theory to me, but stranger things have happened. Everybody ignored all the warning signs of the 9/11 attack and didn’t want to make that mistake again. Hurt feelings and accusations of racism were the price of vigilance.
I was reminded of that by this next item. Jen Chung, Gothamist:
On Friday morning, a lower Manhattan subway hub was evacuated, eight subway lines were diverted during rush hour, and a few blocks in Chelsea were frozen after three suspicious packages—which turned out to be harmless rice cookers—were found. Now police are looking for a person who was “observed in the area of the Fulton Street Subway Station with a shopping cart and a suspicious device…”
During a press conference, authorities said that there was video of a man placing the rice cookers at the station. The person is considered a person of interest at this point and not a suspect.
The NYPD is looking to locate and identify this individual who’s wanted for questioning in regard to the suspicious items inside the Fulton Street subway station this morning in Lower Manhattan. Contact @NYPDTips at #800577TIPS with info — alert a cop or call 911 if you see him. pic.twitter.com/OFTJgPv2sw
— Chief Terence Monahan (@NYPDChiefofDept) August 16, 2019
After the Boston Marathon bombing, seeing a pressure cooker just sitting around in a public place is going to set off alarm bells. See something, say something.
I hope this jerk is just playing some sort of prank, and this isn’t a test run for a terrorist attack. Even if he’s harmless, I hope he’s prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This is terrorism, and it ain’t funny.
Unless there’s an innocent explanation, of course. Maybe he’s a millionaire giving away rice cookers?