Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Times Square Bomber Gets Life in Prison

In May, when the bomb planted outside a Times Square theater packed with children there to see "The Lion King," New York City's Mayor, Michael El-Bloomberg, had the bomber pegged as a homegrown, lone nutcase:
"Homegrown maybe a mentally deranged person or someone with a political agenda that doesn't like the health care bill or something. It could be anything."
But when the Times Square Bomber was caught minutes before succeeding in his getaway attempt, Shahzad, a Pakistani-born naturalized American citizen, who lived in Connecticut when he wasn't training with the Taliban in Waziristan, wanted to go on record as pleading guilty to all ten of the charges against him, including the two that carry mandatory life sentences.

Shahzad's insistance on opting out of a trial by pleading guilty sped his case through to his sentencing today:
Calm, but clearly angry, and standing the whole time, Shahzad spent nearly an hour giving the judge a narrative of his failed bombing attempt, and how he changed from a financial analyst with an MBA to a would-be bomber and what he called "part of the answer" to the U.S. killing of Muslims. He also confirmed that he had placed the bomb in Times Square at its busiest in order to do the maximum damage. 

Shahzad admitted driving a Nissan Pathfinder into midtown Manhattan on Saturday evening, May 1, when the city's theater district was packed with tourists. He abandoned the SUV, which was stuffed with fireworks, propane, gasoline and fertilizer, after trying to use the fireworks to ignite the vehicle.

Much of Shahzad's courtroom performance, including his claim that he planned to detonate another bomb two weeks after the first, seems like the bluff and bluster of a man trying to cover up the fact that had failed to live up to his videotaped plan to martyr himself for the cause.

Nonetheless, it is foolhardy to underestimate the enemy, and other Islamic terrorists have offered plenty of proof of their merciless capacity to cause suffering to the innocent.

Through a combination of accident and diligence, America was saved from the suffering Shahzad hoped to inflict on us. But it is imperative that we remember Shahzad's reaction after Judge Miriam Cedarbaum pronounced sentence. Before Shahzad was led away to life imprisonment, he repeated the jihadist war cry that, in his televised video, he encouraged others to take up: "Allahu Akbar."