Writing suspense novels is writing about the constant battle between good and evil. The bad guy does something horrible and the hero must find him and bring him to justice. Sometimes it’s a cat and mouse game. The hero knows the bad guy is up to evil, and the puzzle of a story comes together as the hero races time to stop the evil from happening. Unfortunately, if the hero were always able stop the bad guy before the horrible thing happened, there would be less of a realistic ring to the story. It real life it’s profoundly more unfortunate that the heroes in law enforcement today, despite their best efforts, cannot always stop the horrible, the evil. And, I believe that the bombing of innocent people at the Boston marathon (or anywhere) constitutes evil.
But there is a bright side. Since 9/11 law enforcement has been able to stop roughly 45- 51 attempts at terror attacks in this country(Heritage Foundation By James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D. and Jessica Zuckerman April 25, 2012). Federal authorities have been vigilant in trying to keep this country safe. So often we never even hear of how some horrible evil has been averted. I wanted to list a few that were stopped in order to acknowledge the hard work of the law enforcement community.
- May 2007 – Six men were arrested in a plot to attack Fort Dix, a US Army post in New Jersey.
- July 2009 – Raleigh Jihad Group – a group of seven men in North Carolina were arrested on charges of conspiring to support terrorist groups abroad and plotting an attack on the US Marine base at Quantico, VA.
- September 2009 – Michael Finton was arrested attempting to detonate a car bomb filled with explosive outside the Paul Findley Federal Building in Springfield Illinois.
- May 2010 – Faisal Shahzad attempted to detonate explosives in an SUV parked in Times Square. The bomb did not detonate and he was arrested attempting to flee the country.
- November 2011 – Jose Pimental was arrested on charges of planning to use pipe bombs to attack targets throughout New York City.
- February 2012 – Amine El Khalifi was arrested on charges of plotting to attack the US Capitol. He was arrested after he left his car parked with guns and a bomb.
Just a handful of thwarted attacks out of many, but hundreds, maybe thousands of lives saved. Years ago, when I worked graveyard patrol and I’d drive through quiet neighborhoods at 2 or 3 in the morning, my goal was protect those neighborhoods, to look hard and carefully and stop and investigate anything that looked out of place. Now, long retired, I sleep well knowing there are police officers out there still rolling through quiet neighborhoods on patrol. On a larger scale, this country is being protected round the clock by thousands of diligent officers, determined to stop evil. Yes, it’s tragic that all of the evil can’t be stopped, but it’s heartening to know that while we sleep, law enforcement officials are out there working tirelessly to stop everything they can.