On Saturday, a bomb went off in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York, injuring 29 people. But there were several other bombing attempts over the weekend, and thankfully, all of them were thwarted. In one instance, a package in New Jersey containing five pipe bombs was reported to authorities and one detonated unexpectedly, but safely, while a bomb squad robot was observing it. It was all captured on video, so if you'd like to watch the accidental explosion in Elizabeth to remind yourself that sometimes things work out okay, look no further. Thankfully, no one was injured during the New Jersey explosion.
This video has a somewhat novel backstory. According to authorities, two homeless men found the package on Sunday night, sitting on a trash can near a popular bar in Elizabeth. They grabbed it, suspecting that it might contain valuables, but all they saw inside were saw pipes and wiring. The two immediately dropped it, walked to the Elizabeth police station, and reported the package to the cops.
In doing so, these men-turned-good-Samaritans may have prevented another bombing. After Elizabeth police had the package in their possession, bomb experts from the FBI, Union County and the New Jersey State Police showed up to disarm the explosive devices inside. While doing so, one of them detonated. The FBI's statement implies that the explosion itself was accidental, but that's really neither here nor there: The bomb was disposed of without injuring anybody, which is really the point of calling in the bomb squad to begin with.
Amazingly, this was just one of two instances over the weekend in which someone inadvertently prevented a terrorist attack. On Saturday, two men found a rolling suitcase on West 27th in New York and opened it up. Inside was a pressure cooker bomb attached to a cell phone; the men proceeded to remove the bomb, discard it, and take the suitcase.
Not very honorable, sure — but this ended up being a tremendously helpful act. Authorities suspect that as the men were removing the bomb, they inadvertently rendered it useless. What's more, they left the cell phone attached to the explosive, and that phone ultimately helped authorities track down the bomber.
The bombs in the New York and New Jersey areas this weekend — including the aforementioned ones, plus the one that went off in Chelsea and another one that was disposed of when a citizen stumbled upon it — are linked to the same suspect, who was taken into custody after a shootout with police.
None of this should overshadow the fact that 29 people sustained injuries from the Chelsea bomb that did go off. But it's always healthy to keep a dose of perspective. Last weekend's events weren't nearly as bad as they could have been, and we have bomb squads, sharp-eyed bystanders, and package thieves to thank for it.