At around 8:30 P.M. EST on Sept. 17, the inhabitants of Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood received a terrifying shock after a powerful explosion shook the streets, prompting immediate police action. The explosion shattered windows in the neighborhood, and police immediately issued extensive street closures.
Witnesses on the scene claimed that the explosion came from a dumpster on the sidewalk, and officials have since reported that they believe the explosive device to have been a homemade bomb.
The explosion injured 29 people, none having sustained serious injuries and all have been released from the hospital as of Sunday morning.
Police commissioner James O’Neal said that the explosion went off on 131 West 23rd Street, and another device was later found — this one on West 27th Street between the Avenue of Americas and Seventh Avenue, approximately three hours after the explosion. Authorities said the second device — a pressure-cooker — was similar to the one used in the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.
A photograph of this cooking device was shared on social media and the New York Police Department confirmed that the picture was authentic. It shows what appears to be a pressure cooker with wires and a cellphone attached to it. Authorities removed the second, potential bomb after asking people to evacuate as a precautionary measure.
New York mayor Bill de Blasio said in the press conference following the explosion, “There is no evidence at this point of a terror connection to this incident.” He also said that, while officials believe the act to be intentional, there was no threat against New York City from any [international] terror organization.
However, the discovery of the second device challenges this claim. New York City governor Andrew Cuomo also tweeted that there is no evidence of an international terrorism connection.
People took to social media in response, voicing their anger at why the Chelsea explosion has not been labeled for what it is: an act of terror. Interviews with “experts” suggest that government officials are attempting to down-play the “terrorism” label due to a gathering of United Nations officials. This, however, is a matter of semantics, and it raises the question as to motives of our officials in all aspects of news.
Whether this was a domestic or international act, the fact remains that an explosive device was set off in a New York neighborhood, injuring a significant number of people.
Using the hashtag #PrayforNYC, people have taken to Twitter and other social media sites to show their support and, in some cases, to point the finger. While some people openly expressed the opinion that Muslims and Daesh were responsible for the explosion, others were quick to dispel them, reminding them that terrorism has no religion and to wait for the facts before posting their opinion.
New York officials have said that they have no evidence as of yet that ties the Chelsea explosion in to the pipe bomb that detonated in New Jersey on Saturday morning.
There are still a number of unanswered questions, namely: who carried out the act, their motive behind the explosion, what was inside the pressure cooker, which has been removed for evidence, and why the particular site of the explosion was chosen.