Vegas Backpack Terrorist Not Terrorist, No Backpack

Somehow, I managed to mess the shocking news that a backpack wielding terrorist detonated his dastardly device at Las Vegas’ Luxor Hotel early this morning.

Now that I’ve finally stumbled on the story, it
turns out the perpetrator was not a terrorist at all, nor did he have a backpack.

A device left in a casino parking garage exploded early Monday, killing a man who tried to pick it up off the top of his car, authorities said. The device exploded shortly after 4 a.m. on the second floor of a parking garage behind the Luxor hotel-casino, said Officer Bill Cassell, a police spokesman. He declined to describe the device, but said initial reports that it was inside a backpack were wrong.

The blast was not a terrorist act but an apparent murder of a man who worked at a business inside the hotel, he said, adding that the case was being investigated as “a homicide with an unusual weapon.” No threat had been made against the Luxor, Cassell said. “We believe the victim of this event was the intended target,” Cassell said. He said another person who was with the man narrowly escaped injury.

Obviously, though, it could have been terrorism. That is, there is nothing to prevent someone from carrying a backpack into a hotel, filling said backpack with explosives, and detonating it.

Indeed, I’m pleasantly surprised that we have not had a spate of suicide bombers, Islamist or otherwise. Presumably, that’s a function of it being hard to find people in this country willing to blow themselves up. It’s surely not because of tight security; the necessary countermeasures would be unthinkable.

FILED UNDER: General, ,
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.

Comments

  1. yetanotherjohn says:

    On the other hand, there have been news accounts of the FBI infiltrating some groups who might have been crazy enough to do it.

    I suspect that AQ has to be a bit paranoid that anyone they could recruit here isn’t a plant.

  2. James Joyner says:

    No doubt that we’re doing a lot to try to prevent these things. I’m just saying that, logistically, we’re not going to be able to ensure that dedicated suicide bombers can’t blow up a building.

  3. Anderson says:

    Presumably, that’s a function of it being hard to find people in this country willing to blow themselves up.

    I blame our liberal hedonistic culture.

    Indeed, I have it on good authority that Dinesh D’Souza is writing a book with that very thesis.

  4. Tlaloc says:

    I’m surprised too. Or at least I was. After 9/11 I thought AQ’s next step would be to do a series of small scale mall and concert bombings in podunk USA. The idea being that you already proved you could hit the big highly visible target, now you spread terror by making people believe that it can affect anyone anywhere.

    But it never happened. Nor did any big follow up attacks happened. And then we got a lot of information suggesting that the AQ threat was being blwon way way out of proportion.

    And then everything made sense again. AQ is a marginally competent terrorist organization which managed to pull off one really big score. Like a guy who hits the lottery, though, it was really not a function of competence but luck and the feat can’t be easily reproduced.

  5. Tlaloc says:

    I blame our liberal hedonistic culture.

    Heh.

  6. Christopher says:

    Well maybe, just maybe-I know I’m talking crazy here-but maybe it hasn’t happened here because our soldiers have been successful in protecting America from another 9/11 by killing terrorists everyday who have congregated in Iraq and Afghanistan from countries that support terrorism.

    All Americans should be proud of the work our soldiers have done there and honor those that have given their lives. And while we are all at it, a nod to our commander-in-chief wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

    “Pleasantly surprised” indeed, James! Try and keep up with current events.

  7. James Joyner says:

    maybe it hasn’t happened here because our soldiers have been successful in protecting America from another 9/11 by killing terrorists everyday

    While suppose it’s conceivable that terrorists who would have volunteered to blow themselves up at a casino would instead go off to fight the jihad in Iraq, it’s also conceivable that the sight of Americans killing their brethren in Iraq would motivate more of them to strap on bombs. Certainly, the total number of terrorist incidents has gone up wildly since the invasion.

  8. Michael says:

    Well maybe, just maybe-I know I’m talking crazy here-but maybe it hasn’t happened here because our soldiers have been successful in protecting America from another 9/11 by killing terrorists everyday who have congregated in Iraq and Afghanistan from countries that support terrorism.

    There were 8 1/2 years between the first WTC attack and 9/11, during which time we were not occupying Muslim countries, and mostly during a Democrat administration.

    It has now only been 5 1/2 years since 9/11. It’s too soon for you to be boasting.

  9. Christopher says:

    Wow, Michael! Are those eternal time patterns that have somehow magically been established? Were they possibly written on the back of Moses’ stone tablets?

    How come it is that you liberals try so hard to be logical-James’ mind is like some sort of giant scale where he tries to weigh evenly one side against the other on every issue-yet you cannot tie our war on terrorism to the successful continued safety of America since 9/11? We’ve spend hundreds of billions and and thousands of lives to protect America yet you liberals are all the cynics. Democrats lined up, Republicans lined up, the military lined up, Americans one and all lined up, all behind President Bush. We kill terrorists there EVERY SINGLE DAY and completely control 2 middle east countries, yet you cannot see a link. In the war EVERYone wanted, we have had and will continue to have casualties (of volunteer soldiers no less-have you all no shame?) and this somehow makes everyone a critic. AS IF THERE WOULD BE NO COSTS!

    Grow up people, for God sakes.

    “Presumably”, as James likes to put it, there is a link between the war and our continued safety. Too bad you are all too blind to see it.

  10. […] a hard time thinking that six guys would get very far trying a frontal assault on a US Amry base. Sphere: Related Content Filed under: US Politics || […]

  11. Michael says:

    How come it is that you liberals try so hard to be logical

    You’re right, we do always seem to get caught up on being logical, it’s our weakness I tell you.

    If only we could be more knee-jerk reactionary, then maybe we could make more unsubstantiated links that coincidentally justify exactly what we want to do. Instead, we get bogged down in things like “reality” and “facts”, which make us think that 8.5 years is longer than 5.5 years. But of course, Math always has a liberal bias, I know.

    We’ve spend hundreds of billions and and thousands of lives to protect America yet you liberals are all the cynics.

    I applaud you, for that small price Bush has managed to keep us safe for over 5 years. Clinton on the other hand was only able to achieve 8 years of safety, and that at the high cost of nothing. Here again, though, I fall into the liberal mathematical trap of thinking that less lives lost, and less money spent, is a good thing.

    In the war EVERYone wanted

    Yes, everyone wanted it, except those that didn’t, but that’s just liberal reality again, and should be ignored. Yes, 100% of pro-war Americans wanted the war. We’re united!

    “Presumably”, as James likes to put it, there is a link between the war and our continued safety. Too bad you are all too blind to see it.

    You are quite right, just like “presumably” there is a link between piracy and global warming. Too bad us liberals are blinded into thinking there may be other causes.