Terrorism can strike any time

Listen to this article

Photo above: wreckage from Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17 in Eastern Ukraine.

Top experts from the University of Maryland were on Capitol Hill to give a Congressional briefing on future threats — where they will come from and in what form. Nuclear terrorism or the unleashing of deadly gas or chemicals among the population are considered viable threats. Whatever form it takes, terrorism can still be carried out in just a few seconds.

Scenes of joy and happiness among families on our streets can be transformed in an instant — certain death, people being vaporised or killed as a terrorist group’s chosen lethal weapon is deployed. Law Enforcement Agencies, Homeland Security Officials, the FBI, and our intelligence services all face the task every day of thwarting known and unknown acts being planned against the population. A terrorist can detonate a bomb and kill and maim scores of victims in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Government airstrike in Ssyria. (YouTube)
Government airstrike in Ssyria.

So too, as we have seen in Ukraine, in an instant the finger on the trigger of a Surface to Air Missile can bring down a passenger airliner flying at 30,000 feet. Over the Ukraine-Russian border, the aircraft was hit killing all 298 of those on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.

At home, the actions of a lone gunman attacking a school or University campus, as well, can unleash unbelievable horror, which sadly we have become so accustomed to in the news. And in an instant an ordinary day in an American city can be turned into scenes of carnage, bloodshed, suffering, and anguish.

US Marines and other American Servicemen and women dedicating their lives to ending terrorism have also become targets for terror. And as our heroes are honoured across the Nation we remember their bravery. Acts of courage must never be forgotten. But terrorism in its many forms is remembered for the depths of depravity that some individuals go to in attacking mankind.

Carnage at the Boston Marathon or bombs going off in Madrid or in the attack on the USS Cole warship berthed in Yemen; terrorist actions all take the same form, to cause death and to bring fear.

Harvard Professors and all the top experts from our great Nation’s universities all try to study what goes on in the minds of terrorists. Criminology and Anti-Terrorist courses are taught. But still in a moment of hatred a terrorist can strike anytime or anywhere.

Even in the most solemn occasion of a Remembrance Day Service in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, in Northern Ireland, a terrorist’s bomb detonated amongst those gathered to honour the dead of two World Wars. Known as the IRA Poppy Day Massacre of 1987, the bomb on a timer device killed 11 people and wounded 63 others. And in 1998, despite the Ulster Peace Process, dissident IRA terrorists caused the death of 29 people and wounded over 200 others in a car bomb blast meant for the town’s Courthouse.

Caption: The author interviewing Lady Thatcher as Prime Minister when he was Daily Mail staff reporter in Ireland. (c). Alan Lewis.
Caption: The author interviewing Lady Thatcher as Prime Minister when he was Daily Mail staff reporter in Ireland. (c). Alan Lewis.

A decade before, the Scottish borders town of Lockerbie, was the scene of Pan American Flight 103 exploding in mid-air in 1988. A bomb on board detonated, killing all passengers and crew and those on the ground claiming 270 lives. Taking off from Frankfurt in Germany it had stopped at London Heathrow, bound for JFK in New York, and Detroit, only to be brought down over Scotland.

Now, it was Eindhoven Air Base in Holland that changed the way we think of the world again. The first of the coffins from the Malaysia Airline missile attack had arrived on two Military transport flights. A lone trumpeter played the “Last Post” and as a convoy of 40 hearses prepared to leave to begin the first stage of investigations, tears of emotion were shed. But in the sadness and grief so too was there applause. Servicemen and women, the pallbearers who had silently honoured the victims, solemnly carrying them had brought dignity back, even in death. For previously they had been left lying in the fields of eastern Ukraine.

World events move on. Israel being struck by Hamas rockets. Daily acts of strike and counter-strike in the Middle East except for the occasional ceasefires for humanitarian reasons. The grief and the suffering on both sides goes on; doctors and nurses doing their best to save lives. But one thing is certain. Terrorism will always be with us.