Terrorism struck at the heartland of America as major news broadcasters reported that a ‘terrorist’ had shot 35 people at a manufacturing plant in Goshen, Indiana late last week. As America prepared to Strike Back, initial reports indicated that one or more terrorists walked into the Nu-Wood Decorative Millwork factory and began firing at employees. Initial reports also indicated that the terrorist(s) had not been apprehended and may still be inside the factory. No identification of the terrorist(s) had been made.
As SWAT helicopters patrolled above, "Hospitals in Goshen and nearby Elkhart said four people were treated for gunshot wounds. Administrators said they were told to expect 30 to 35 people from the scene, but there was no definitive word from authorities on how many people had been wounded.," said the Associated Press (AP).
In the wake of the September 11th World Trade Center tragedies, tension and fear run high in the U.S. Earlier this week, Homeland Security Director Ridge issued a clear warning of impending terrorist attacks on both internal and external American interests.
If the investigative and judiciary process used to combat terrorism and subsequent threats after September 11 is any indication, anyone who has come into contact with these terrorists will be questioned. They will be taken into FBI holding cells where they may be labelled as material witnesses. No one will know they are held there. They most likely will not have access to counsel.
Some of the terrorists’ kin and associates may still be in the country in what is now the household term of ‘sleeper cells’. All assets of these terrorists will be seized and all financial dealings with them will be scrutinized. Their houses and possessions will be searched for any ‘terrorist manuals’ or bio-weaponery. Links between them and foreign governments like Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, and Syria will be speculated and perhaps verified.
‘Experts’ and ‘former’ luminaries like Richard Butler will lambast them on national television and fire up the rhetoric. Hysteria will grip people as 240,000 calls are made to the FBI and local authorities concerning suspicious goings-on. People belonging to the same ethnic grouping as the terrorists will be screened and profiled on the basis of race alone. Guilt by association will become law as those same people are ‘requested’ to disembark airplanes, trains, ships, and buses.
The terrorists’ place of worship will come under investigation. The terrorists’ religious affiliations will come into question as the religion they adhere to will be labelled an "evil and wicked religion". Or a religion that has declared war on Christianity. Their religion will be looked at as one that promotes the killing of innocent Americans. Anyone related to these terrorists will likely be verbally and physically harassed. Anyone who talks like these terrorists will be eyed in the streets. Some may spit at them. Some may give them a cold, hard stare. Anyone who dresses like these terrorists will also be looked at with a dubious eye.
In the wake of September 11th and the various conspiracy theories of Flight 587, this attack will be construed as an attack on the American way of life, the values upheld here, the freedoms and democracies that so many have died protecting.
``I'm all shook up. I'm concerned for the people because they treat me like family,'' a city resident told AP.
CNN was quickly on the scene providing constant coverage strangely reminiscent of September 11th. CNN reported that "More than 100 police were on the scene, including SWAT teams using an armored vehicle to approach the building to search for the gunman. A dispatcher said police were alerted to the shooting at 2:31 p.m."
The attack was most certainly an attack on the industrial heart of America; Goshen is a hub of manufacturing and industry in Indiana. The terrorists were aiming at the backbone of American industry and strength.
Such is the environment in North America today. Everything stated above applies. Except for one enduring factoid:
The so-called terrorists that struck in Goshen were actually only one impassioned, disgruntled man out to settle a score during lunch break. His name is not Mohammad or Abu anything and he is not a Muslim or a Sikh. His name is Robert Wissman, 36, a white man who " on the morning of the shootings, [he] had quarreled with another employee over a woman who also worked at Nu-Wood," according to the Indianapolis Star.
Firas Al-Atraqchi is a Muslim Canadian journalist living on the Pacific coast.