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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Blocks away from the would-be Times Square bomber

While the street vendor called police about the smoking vehicle in Times Square, two friends and I were just a few blocks away, watching the Kentucky Derby on a TV in an Irish pub in Manhattan's West 50s. It wasn't until 8:30 p.m., as we were walking down Broadway back toward our hotel that we realized something was going on. But what?
The Times Square area was cordoned off and non-committal police were stationed along the barriers. Hundreds of New Yorkers and visitors were milling about. The mood at that point was not the least bit panicky, just curious. "Bomb scare," was all we could pick up.
We took a detour to the hotel and turned on the TV as soon as we got to our room. But it took days for the story to really unfold.
I was impressed by the quick and excellent police work in tracking down the suspect -- but disturbed by how close the would-be bomber came to getting away. There is system to snag suspects trying to board a plane -- but it works only if the steps are followed, without fail. What happened to the employee of the airline who should have prevented the suspect from boarding the plane? Thank goodness the final backup system revealed the suspect to be a passenger -- before the plane took off.


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