Car Bomb in Nashville

Somehow, I missed this news until seeing it on Memeorandum:

AP – One Killed As Car Explodes at Tennessee Hotel

A sport utility vehicle exploded in a parking lot at Nashville’s largest hotel, killing one male inside, and authorities said they suspected a homemade bomb was involved. The explosion occurred late Tuesday about a half-mile from the main entrance of Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, and about 200 feet from a day care center, which was closed, said Jim Cavanaugh of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Police said the blast was felt miles away, and it left nothing but a shell of the SUV.

Investigators from the federal Joint Terrorism Task Force were at the scene, but FBI agent Doug Riggin said there was no reason to suspect terrorism. Cavanaugh said the cause hadn’t yet been determined but investigators suspect a homemade bomb. “It could have been homicide or suicide or the guy may have just blown himself up,” police Homicide Detective Brad Putnam said. Cavanaugh said authorities were trying to trace the SUV’s license plates to identify the victim.

The Gaylord Opryland has 2,881 rooms. The Grand Ole Opry’s theater is on the hotel grounds and there is an adjacent shopping mall. “We haven’t got a lot of calls from guests, but we are addressing any concerns they may have,” hotel spokeswoman Karen Hunter-Lowery said.

I have no reason to disagree with the FBI assessment that this was not terrorism but rather some nut killing himself in a way that could have had serious externalities. But, had this been a sophisticated terrorist operation, a lot of the people in those 2881 rooms and the adjacent shopping mall could have been killed. If we can’t stop amateur suicidal nuts–and we can’t–then we can’t stop committed professionals.

The day is coming.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kathy K says:

    If there’s another attack on the level of 911, do you want to bet that no-one will say “no reason to suspect terrorism”?

    I don’t know whether this was, or not, but I’m very tired of hearing that particular disclaimer. I’m sure it is said to reassure. I find it anything but reassuring. It gives the impression that they aren’t even going to look into whether it might be terrorism.

  2. shank says:

    I’m with the FBI on this one, no terrorism. Hell, it could have very easily been a malfunction. I used to own a nissan pickup, and one night I awoke to the sound of the damn thing bursting into flames in my garage. Go figure. Besides, I find it hard to believe that terrorist would target the Gaylord Opryland Resort.

    Yeah, I know, I should have been able to come up with a gay joke in there somewhere. I’m slackin.

  3. Joseph Marshall says:

    James, the day has already been and gone in Oklahoma City.

    We have stopped committed professionals, such as the Millenium bombers, before, when luck was in our favor, and we will stop them again. The thing about “amateur sucidal nuts” is that their behavior is much less predictable than trained professionals. And we have no particular reason to watch for them.

    The point of this marvelous bipartisan 9/11 commission of ours is to make sensible suggestions about how to organize ourselves to do it. The report will point out gaps in our defenses, and if we can put aside turf wars a little while, we might easily be able to close some of them.

    I note that your posts on this subject contain a certain unhealthy strain of “what if” speculation conjuring infinite undefined nightmares of possible enemies and possible horrifying scenarios.

    The real dangers have a form and a pattern, some very likely, others a lot less, still others quite remote. They are tractable to intelligent judgement, though all such judgement has an edge of imperfection. Panic about all possibilites prevents evaluation of probabilities. And its time we started turning the country from the former to the latter.