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HomePublic SafetyTimes Square Car Rampage Was Terrorism

Times Square Car Rampage Was Terrorism

Times Square car rampage had all the signs of terrorism

Not terrorism, the authorities reassure New Yorkers jarred by the mowing down of pedestrians in Times Square.  We’re not so sure that the Times Square car rampage wasn’t some form of terrorism.

We’ve heard no evidence thus far that a familiar doctrine of terrorism inspired the arrested driver, Richard Rojas. But it strikes us as unlikely that a car out of control would accelerate on a sidewalk for three blocks, injuring 22 pedestrians and killing one.  And in The Crossroads of the World, of all places.

Rojas Fits a Familiar Profile

The NYPD is obviously considering the possibility that the suspect was trying to replicate the vehicular massacre of innocents in Nice, France, and elsewhere in Europe.

Rojas was under the influence during the event, police say.  He’s been arrested several times for drunken driving. While in the Navy, he was charged with beating up a cab driver whom he refused to pay, according to The New York Times. While resisting arrest, he threatened to kill civilian and military police.

The Navy sent him home with a dishonorable discharge. Afterwards, he reportedly trafficked in conspiracy theories about the government.

In sum, Rojas shared the profile of terrorists we’ve, unfortunately, come to know.  He hasn’t used Islam as an excuse for what looks like premeditated violence, it’s true. But his rap sheet resembles those of the ideological terrorists — criminal past, anger, and likely mental illness.

If his actions in Times Square were deliberate, the question arises: Where did he get the idea to mow down crowds of people?

The densely populated East Side needs vigilance

And if this rampage was an effort at garnering world attention, what’s to stop someone from trying a similar attack in other parts of New York.  The Upper East Side, for example, is the most densely populated neighborhood in the city.  We need to be extra vigilant, to the extent that’s possible.

If his actions in Times Square were deliberate, the question arises: Where did he get the idea to mow down crowds of people?

Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters that “based on information we have at this moment, there is no indication that this was an act of terrorism.”

More information will be forthcoming, but the information we have points to the need for more information. The Times Square car rampage looks very much like terrorism to us.


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Froma Harrop

Froma Harrop

Froma Harrop is a syndicated columnist, contributor to CNN Opinion and editor of This East Side.
Froma Harrop