TEC: Chapters 43 and 44: Something Desperately Wrong
Chapter 43 is itsy-bitsy—it takes place at the United Nations, and we are introduced to a young assistant named Kara Setter…whose only purpose is to be trampled in the panic caused by the “major terrorist alert for New York City.”
Now, I have no idea at all what security measures for the UN entail in a post-9/11 world (or a pre-9/11 world, for that matter), but I would certainly hope that they’re better than convening a meeting, the result of which is to “send everyone either to their homes or to a safe location.” I mean, way to keep track of everyone!
So, now that we’ve established that the UN exists, we cut back to the bridge, where two officers in a police helicopter offer this helpful commentary:
“Look at that mess!” Griffin exclaimed.
“It looks like absolute panic,” Goodale responded.
Not sure how a massive traffic jam can be described as “absolute panic” when, by Phillips’ own admission, is just a bunch of cars that can’t move. Doesn’t that describe many people’s morning commute?
On the ground, Norm and Jim hear that there might be a terrorist alert (“Code T“) and immediately grab their guns out, because “they both knew there was something desperately wrong with two Arab rollerbladers on the ground and four Arab maintenance workers nearby.”
Yeah, Arabs in New York City! What a horrific shock, eh? But of course, there is no such thing as an innocent Arab on the George Washington Bridge, so the rollerbladers start shooting at Norm and Jim.
Why? You got me. Its not like Norm and Jim were doing anything to stop the attack.
(Oh, and in an odd change, Phillips has started referring to Norm and Jim by their last names (Huffman and Daniels, if you care) in this chapter, as opposed to their first names, as he did two chapters ago. But I will continue to call them Norm and Jim because it pleases me to do so.)
So Norm and Jim are hit center mass, but our secondary heroes are wearing bulletproof vests, so they’re just knocked off their feet. Phillips quickly reassures us that “they had just been caught off guard,” so there’s no reason to doubt their manliness or anything. Indeed, they shoot back and kill the evil Arab rollerbladers dead. Serves them right for being so suspicious as to rollerblade. And I still don’t understand why the evil Arab rollerbladers opened fire in the first place.
Especially because they’re awfully near those equally-suspicious Arab maintenance workers…who also open fire on Norm and Jim, despite standing near a truck full of “high-powered explosives.” (Not the dirty bomb.) (I think.)
Surprise, surprise—the truck is hit and blows up. So, good? Bad? I’m honestly not sure what purpose that truck served, and if it was ever intended to be blown up, and if so, when? Once again, were Norm and Jim really that much of a threat to their nefarious plan…whatever it was?
Anyway, at about the same time, yet another terrorist causes a small explosion, this one taking out “the power circuit to the bridge cameras.” Which seems a bizarrely redundant thing to do since they’re going to destroy the whole bridge in about a minute anyway, but whatever. So the terrorist wanders off down the bridge, mission accomplished, though catching the attention of a random commuter named Kevin, who considers said walking Arab to be only “weird” until he hears both the terrorism alert and the explosion, upon which “it all fell into place. He must be part of the terrorist group.”
Well, of course he must be. He’s an Arab! On the George Washington Bridge! Such a circumstance is far too crazy to be anything but terrorism!
So get this: Kevin ditches his car and tackles the guy. Because he’s an Arab on the bridge, you see! And then other commuters see the fight, and jump in to help Kevin, the guy who tackled a dark-skinned man! Because they “put two and two together,” and two plus two equals All Arabs Are Terrorists.
So in a matter of seconds, multiple men are beating on an Arab man…because he’s Arab. Because remember that not one of these men have seen the Arab do anything.
No longer would people sit idly by as America was destroyed.
Best way to keep America from being destroyed: tackle any Arab-looking person you see!
Feels like a Trump campaign ad.