Yesterday afternoon, a man drove a rented Home Depot truck onto a bike and pedestrian path in New York City, purposefully striking several people. As of now, eight people have died and eleven others were injured. Two of the dead are Americans, one, the only woman killed, was Belgian, and five were from Argentina, part of a group of men who had traveled to NYC to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation.
The name of the suspect is Sayfullo Saipov. Saipov is originally from Uzbekistan and is a legal permanent resident of the United States, having arrived in this country in 2010. He has lived in New Jersey, Ohio, and Florida. A note found in the truck he rented was apparently written by Saipov and claims he acted in the name of ISIS, the Islamic State terrorist organization. After crashing into a school bus, thus stopping his rampage, Saipov ran from his car carrying two guns (that were later identified as a paint gun and a pellet gun). Some witnesses say he shouted, “Allahu akbar,’’ (Arabic for “God is great”) as he exited the rental truck. Dozens of 911 calls started flooding the police phone line and, when the police arrived, Saipov was running around brandishing his “guns.” He was shot in the abdomen by a police officer and was transported to the hospital. He is expected to survive.
ISIS has been experiencing significant military setbacks in recent months. They have taken to calling on radical Muslims who support their goals of creating an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East and of waging war on the West and on Western values to carry out their own terror attacks, recommending using cars as weapons. Germany, England, and Spain have been targets of such attacks by men responding to ISIS’s call for terror. Now, New York City has been hit.
I’m not sure what can be done to stop such an attack by someone who has the resources and the will to carry it out. There are very few opportunities for the police or military to see such an attack coming. Saipov had no criminal record. He was essentially off the radar. There’s no evidence, as of this writing, that he worked in coordination with anyone else. Rather, it seems he took ISIS’s call for such acts seriously and obtained access to instructions from ISIS terrorists in how to carry out such an attack which, according to the NYPD, he followed to a tee.
I wish President Trump and all other politicians would keep their mouths shut for a little while and let the authorities figure this one out before everyone jumps on the bandwagon for the purpose of turning yet another tragedy into a political opportunity. I know my wish is hopeless.
But, that’s not my only wish or prayer. I pray for those killed, that our Lord will look upon them with mercy and bring them into His Kingdom. I pray for those injured, that they will recover fully, both physically and mentally, from the ten minutes that forever changed their lives. I pray for the first responders and others who are responsible for carrying out the medical, emotional, spiritual, and financial (if any) consequences of this attack.
And, I pray for my country and all those in positions of leadership and authority, that they will consider this tragedy as an opportunity to bring more Americans together around our common themes of friendship, opportunity, faith, and perseverance.
God bless and save us. Amen.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.