Three stories have hit the news almost simultaneously; consider the features they have in common. In Philadelphia, a 25-year-old man named Nicholas Glenn walked up to a police car and started firing on the two officers inside. He then shot four civilians, one of whom died, before being cornered and killed by police officers. Glenn left behind a letter “in which he expressed hatred toward police and probation officers.” Another skirmish in the war on cops.New York, a Palestinian named Akram Joudeh was picked up two months ago while screaming “Allahu akbar” outside a Brooklyn synagogue. He was ordered deported, and was in Midtown on Thursday appealing his deportation notice when he started attacking bystanders with a meat cleaver. An off-duty NYPD officer confronted Joudeh and was slashed down the side of his face, requiring 70 stitches. Police shot Joudeh when he refused to drop the meat cleaver.
This morning, in Seaside Park, New Jersey, a five-kilometer race was scheduled to be run to benefit Marines and sailors. Last year, thousands participated:
This morning, a “suspicious backpack” was discovered shortly before the race was to begin, causing organizers to cancel the event. Not long thereafter, a pipe bomb exploded in a garbage can along the route, at “the exact time when runners would have been passing by the location.” The pipe bomb scattered debris for 150 feet; it was connected to two other bombs that failed to go off. At last word, authorities were searching for additional devices. The perpetrator(s), as yet unknown, seem to have been imitating the Boston Marathon bombers.
Stories like these are isolated events, featuring people who are easily dismissed as marginal, but they illustrate, and flow from, the most important issues of our time.