The horror that occurred in Boston exactly one week ago has the majority of Americans reeling. We all saw the pictures, could feel the agony, and the helplessness. Why did this happen?
The thought of our fellow brothers and sisters thrust in the midst of a terrorist attack is beyond comprehension. The Boston Marathon Bombing is proof that terrorism is real, but not a commonplace occurrence. From the vantage point of 9/11, this seems like an inaccurate statement. However, the facts point to the reality that true terrorism in America is still a rarity in 2013.
Thanks to U.S. counterintelligence, many potential attacks have been thwarted. In fact it is estimated that some fifty potential attacks have been foiled since 9/11. Most of them we don't know about or they never truly materialized in the way that our security experts assumed they would.
After the killing of Osama Bin Laden, counter-terrorism experts expected Al-Qaeda to retaliate with a large scale attacks against the United States. Nine potential attacks were foiled. We don't know how large these attacks were approximated to be or if they were just threats. That is something the general public might never know.
While active terrorism remains a rarity in the United States today, the Boston Marathon bombing proves that there is no room for complacency. The Tsarnaev brothers demonstrate that we don't know our enemy. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his deceased brother, Tamerlan, carried out the Boston marathon bombings in a secretive fashion using rudimentary materials. Are there others out there capable of executing the same act? Absolutely.
The possibility of more "homegrown" terrorists working on a similar operation, as what took place last week, is terrifying. But this is the frightening reality in today's American landscape. These groups, or individuals, are out there and in numbers greater than we know. But it's what we don't know that is the most difficult to comprehend.
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said, "What strikes me is part of the reason for the psychological shock is that if you think about it, this is the first successful bombing, terror explosion, since 9/11. We've had some that were attempted, like the one in Times Square that never succeeded. We've had by my count, about ten terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 9/11, all of the have been shootings with one exception."
This brings home the reality that terrorism is not a common occurrence in American daily life. So the shock of the Boston Bombings was that much greater and more brutal. The U.S. has been blessed since 9/11 to not have had a major attack on American soil. But last week, that serenity was shattered.
On Monday, Canadian officials foiled a potential Al-Qaeda Toronto commuter train attack. This is one week to the day since the Boston bombings. Our enemy is real and we must stay vigilant. May we never forget Boston and the victims who tragically lost their lives as we go about our days knowing our security is not guaranteed.