Last week found me in Europe for back-to-back international accounting association meetings – LEA Global and Ecovis International. The LEA meeting started in Paris on October 21, followed by the Ecovis meeting in Lisbon on the 26th.
I must admit, I was silently apprehensive about my trip. It had been a while since I crossed the pond, and the frequency and severity of terrorist activity since my last trip had increased dramatically, especially in major capital cities like Paris. But I wasn’t going to let the fear of the unknown put a damper on my travels, and as it turns out there was nothing to worry about, until I returned home.
Terrorism has come a long way since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Those attacks involved years of planning, training, and precision timing involving four commercial aircraft, multiple airports with on-time connecting flights, successful hijackings, and precision flying to take down the twin towers of the World Trade Center and to fly a plane into the Pentagon.
As I was leaving the office Tuesday afternoon to go trick-or-treating with Lily, Kate, and Max, the most deadly terror attack to hit New York City since 9/11 was playing out a mere half-mile from my home. And this one was simply stupid. At approximately 2PM that afternoon, a lone terrorist spent less than $50 to rent a truck that most of us have seen at our local Home Depot, intended to transport sheet rock and plywood; drove it into NYC via the George Washington Bridge, down the West Side Highway; plowed onto the pedestrian bike path at Chambers Street; and in the next eight-tenths of a mile, killed eight and wounded more than 12 others. A path where, on any given weekend, you might find me running with Tracy or scootering with one of the kids.
No guns, no ammo, no bombs, nothing sophisticated. Just a simple rental truck from Home Depot. And this particular terrorist couldn’t have been that bright, considering the reported planning that authorities say went into this attack. 3:05PM was just a bit too early in the day. Had he waited another 30 minutes, after school let out and parents and kids were out and about trick-or-treating, who knows what carnage would have been left behind? Or on a Saturday or Sunday morning, say at 10AM…
I remember, as a kid growing up, hearing about terrorist strikes in places like Northern Ireland and the Middle East, and never thinking it would reach the U.S., an ocean away. That all changed on 9/11, but that was the big leagues. But now, whether it’s U.S.-born citizens or immigrants, gun, knife, bomb, or vehicle, major city or bedroom community, it looks like violent terror-inspired events are here for the foreseeable future. But we can’t give in, and we can’t be intimidated.
I know for the Weiner family, this weekend’s predicted mild weather will find us out on the Hudson River bike path, running, biking or scootering, showing that we will not give in to the people that would otherwise try and destroy the freedoms we enjoy.
Our sincerest condolences go out to the families and friends that lost loved ones Tuesday in New York City, and we wish those hurt a speedy recovery.