MNSU government professor sheds some light on events and reaction
On Oct. 31, the driver of a delivery truck careened down a sidewalk killing eight pedestrians on the path near ground zero of the 9/11 attacks in the lower Manhattan area.
“It is an iconic place and one of the cities that the world thinks of when talking about landmarks in the U.S.,” said Pat Nelson, associate professor in the Department of Government at Minnesota State University, Mankato. “And while the travel and amount of people offers convenience there an aspect of going after the symbol.”
The attacker, Sayfullo Saipov, was shot by police after hitting a bus, bringing the delivery truck to a halt. He exited the vehicle with two realistic looking pellet guns and yelling “Allahu Akbar,” causing a panic on the streets.
In the 29-year-old Uzbekistan’s rampage, nearly two dozen pedestrians were injured along with two adults and children on the bus that was hit. The authorities are listing this as a lone wolf terrorist attack and have no evidence that there is anyone else involved. Saipov was in possession of a Florida ID while driving a Home Depot truck through the pedestrians.
“Lone wolf attackers are cut off from their support, despite who claims credit for the attack after,” said Nelson. “The attacks are really impossible to plan for and despite the reaction people have to an attack, the security versus privacy that must be sacrificed if authorities were to ever try and primitively stop a lone wolf would be illegal because of how random a lone wolf attacker usually is.”
Of the victims, six died at the scene and two more passed away at the hospital, while 11 others were brought to the hospital, three of which were children. While the vehicular attack five months ago in Times Square brought back the renewed danger of attacks with motor vehicles in busy city streets, the solitary nature of the attack makes it impossible to anticipate.
With authorities diving immediately into the background of Saipov, very few ties between him and organizations have yet to be made. The F.B.I. was able to make arrests over the last two years of Uzbekistan nationals with ties to the ISIS organization in Brooklyn, but none of those men have been tied to Saipov.
“The response after the attack is to announce that the attacker has been apprehended and praise the police force for their work in the response, while also assuring the community that he has been stopped, the attack was a lone wolf and he has been apprehended,” said Nelson. “It is also important to pay careful attention to what happens after, with vandalism and assault on specific communities a very real threat after such an attack. It is important to keep ethnic groups that would be unfairly targeted safe, while not over-patrolling to the point they feel aggressively monitored.”
The entire country has looked to reach out and come alongside the city, with posts on social media as well as from President Donald Trump looking for “more extreme vetting” on immigrants coming into the country in response to the actions in New York City.