The recent London car bombs again illustrates something that has puzzled me for a while. Airports are hard targets, having very focused security in comparison to most public places. Yes, they are an important part of a nation’s infrastructure, and yes you’ll get a fair number of civilians there, but aren’t there just as attractive targets elsewhere?
It’s not like airports will be filled with military or other officials; most of the people you get will be civilians. In terms of symbolism, you can make a great argument for McDonald’s (or something similar) representing Western decadence or gluttony, or what have you. In terms of effectiveness at causing damage and spreading terror, people are already a little nervous at the airport; they expect it. Also, there’s often annoyingly strict security there, which at least gives the illusion of safety, or Something Being Done.
Why then don’t they try to hit McDonald’s and Starbucks, or shopping malls (those centers of Materialistic Evil), or office buildings, etc.? If they’ve been living in Britain (or wherever they may be) for any period of time, they’d know that commerce is the lifeblood of the nation, and hitting those spots that EVERYONE frequents on an EVERYDAY basis would really do serious damage. And these spots are just so much easier to hit; put a guy with an automatic weapon blocking each exit, and the death toll would be staggering.
I’m glad that no competent group has used this strategy in America, but I’m puzzled as to why. Any thoughts?