This is terrorism in America.
For the second time in less than a week, several blocks of Times Square in New York City were shut down due to a terror scare Friday afternoon. Police ordered the brief evacuation so they could investigate a suspicious-looking cooler.
Police initially x-rayed the cooler, but brought in a suited bomb squad member after its results were inconclusive. The small, green cooler turned out to contain nothing more than water bottles.
The evacuation was followed by another one in another section of New York City, in which police were investigating a suspicious-looking truck.
The heightened state of awareness in New York City reflects the high anxiety of its workers and residents less than a week after a naturalized citizen of Pakistani origin drove a Nissan Pathfinder into Times Square and attempted to detonate what police later discovered to be a poorly-constructed, but potentially lethal car bomb.
In the year and a half since President Barack Obama asked his administration not to use the term "War on Terror," there have been at least 10 confirmed acts of violence or attempted acts of violence directly related to Islamic fundamentalism.
Although only a few of them have been successful, it is the sheer number of attempts that is truly frightening for the American people, and this constant state of fear is the goal of terrorism, whether foreign or domestic.
Politically, it makes sense for the president to steer away from using any terror-related terminology, but the trouble with this logic is that politics and reality seldom match. The truth is that terrorism and terrorist acts are very real. While attempts by the president to brush aside the notion that America is at war against violent extremism may be noble, they are also highly misguided and in direct opposition to what intelligent Americans are seeing on the news or witnessing first-hand.
At some point, the president is going to have to acknowledge the existence of this battle publicly and quit pretending that it doesn't exist. If he doesn't, he risks losing the small modicum of credibility he has left.
Top Photo © Mario Tama/Getty Images
Bottom Photo © Jewel Samad