A 22-year-old man was arrested this week after allegedly planning to carry out a terrorist attack in Times Square, the most popular tourist destination in New York City.
Ashiqul Alam of Jackson Heights, Queens, was arrested after planning to buy a pair of 9mm Glock semiautomatic handguns. The serial numbers on the weapons had been obstructed. Alam was arrested as part of an FBI sting operation.
“As alleged, Ashiqul Alam bought illegal weapons as part of his plan to kill law enforcement officers and civilians in a terrorist attack on Times Square,” Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a public statement. “What he did not know was that he was buying weapons from government agents, who were monitoring his plans and intervening to prevent those plans from escalating into deadly violence.”
The official complaint says Alam shared a desire many times to get explosives and firearms to harm people in either Times Square. He had bragged about taking “recon” trips to Times Square to plan his terror attack. He is also accused of planning to kill a senior government official in New York City or Washington.
The complaint also says Alam once praised the 9/11 terror attacks while speaking with an undercover FBI agent.
“The mission is a complete success, thousands of American soldiers died and trillions of their moneys are gone in the war,” he allegedly said.
Alam is accused of working through various plans to attack Times Square. At one point he allegedly planned to carry the attack out with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.
Alam is only facing a weapons charge right now and no terrorism charges. Considering his previously expressed plans, Alam not facing a terrorism charge is a tad bit concerning.
WNBC-TV reported that Alam lives with his parents in Queens, New York. He is a legal permanent resident from Bangladesh with a green card.
Alam went through Lasik eye surgery in April, according to prosecutors, and this may have been a reason why he held off on going through his desired attack.
“Let’s say we are in an attack, right, say that my glasses fall off. What if I accidentally shoot you? You know what I mean. Imagine what the news channel would call me the ‘Looney Tunes Terrorist’ or the ‘Blind Terrorist,'” Alam allegedly told an undercover FBI agent.
There are several points that should stick out from this story. First, law enforcement deserves applause for doing their job and preventing what could have been another terror attack on the people of New York City and citizens of the United States as a whole.
Second, the fact that there is a black market for someone like Alam to turn to in order to get weapons pokes gaping holes in the theories behind more gun control. It is incredibly difficult to purchase a firearm in New York City and yet people are able to do so because simple laws passed by legislators with tax-payer funded protection around them means nothing to criminals who wish to truly do harm.
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