So true story…
This week I was walking in Downtown, D.C.
I see something strange, not usually there.
There is a U-Haul van parked in front of the GW University School of Science and Engineering.
Literally in front of the main doors.
A couple of it’s wheels are actually sloppily on the sidewalk and it is in front of a fire hydrant in front of the very doors to the school.
But that’s not all.
All around the vehicle are oddly taped on posters as you see above.
On some of the posters are antagonistic words about DOJ (the Department of Justice) and some even use the word “terrorist.”
Well, after the devastating terror attack in 1995 against the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building with a massive homemade bomb concealed in a rental truck that killed 168 people and wounded almost 700, I decided it’s probably a good idea to call the police.
In the time that it took them to come, I was able to walk to the market place and to coffee…I know they are busy, but it seemed like forever.
Finally, two patrol cars pull up…that’s good.
I go outside to meet them.
The officer after briefly looking around (and not in) the vehicle looks at me as I walk over to him.
I said, “I called you about this suspicious vehicle.”
He goes sternly, “Well, what’s suspicious about it?”
I described the obvious…how it was parked with wheels on the sidewalk, at a fire hydrant, right in front of the main doors to the school, and with all those (crazy) posters all around it and uses the word “terrorist”.
Surprisingly to me, the officer responds, “That’s not suspicious!” Then he concedes, “but I will give it a ticket.”
He must’ve seen my face go into this contorted questioning look, but I thought the better of the situation and said with deference to him, “Well Sir, you’re the expert!”
I thank him for coming out and walk away feeling disheartened at this security response just 15 years after 9/11 and when we are still fighting a gruesome war with ISIS and against global terrorism.
Then just a few days later, look at the article I came across with a homeland security warning:
“ISIS Guide: Rent a U-Haul As A Weapon, Target Thanksgiving Day Parade or Political Rallies.”
In the ISIS instructions, there is a picture of a U-Haul truck with the caption, “An Affordable Weapon” and the statement that “low security” gatherings “are fair game and more devastating to Crusader nations.”
With all due respect for our esteemed law enforcement, perhaps we need to take these terrorist warnings more seriously, and frankly even without the explicit warning, a suspicious U-Haul in downtown DC in front of a major university probably deserves more than just a parking ticket! ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)