Bombs Plots Then And Now

The recent attempt by a foreigner to bomb Times Square should only remind us of the need for continued vigilance from those with a strong foreign influence in their backgrounds including religious motives to oppose the current culture and society.  Like many of you I have been to Times Square several times over the years to see a Broadway show or just traveling through New York.  I have even stayed at the Marriot right across the street from where this Shazhad character left the car bomb.   His intent to kill and maim hundreds is apparent from the location and timing of his attempt.   He isn’t the first religious terrorist and sadly won’t be the last I fear.

In 1605 there was an attempt to blow up the House of Lords by a Catholic extremist.  He believed the Catholics should be restored to power over all Great Britain.  It is unclear if he was born and baptized a Catholic but he was greatly influenced by a stepfather who was a Catholic and was baptized as such in his teens.  His devotion to the Catholic church and dedication to its return to power was strong.  After he inherited a little land he sold it and then went to the Netherlands.  The Spanish who were leading Catholic supporters had been engaged in a was with the Dutch for some time in the late 16th century.  The Dutch didn’t want the Spanish and the Catholic church to have dominion over their lands and an insurgency was in process and often resulted in outright clashes of armed forces in addition to the insurgency actions.  The Duke of Parma was leading the troops for Spain in these battles.  Some of the Spanish mercenaries had revolted due to lack of pay which added to the troubles of Spain and the Catholics.

Our young hero left Great Britain and went to the Lowlands and joined the Spanish army to fight and kill the Protestants who were fighting for their freedoms and religious freedom.  He did well there and was eventually in command of a company of men.  While with the Spanish he received training in the use of explosives.  He was so enamored with his Catholic cohorts from Spain that he took another name–Guido so he would sound more Spanish and more Catholic.   He fought with the Spanish for ten years and then returned to England.

After the death of Elizabeth  I many Catholics thought they saw and opening to return Catholic rule to England.   Henry the VIII and then Elizabeth had ruled since the rejection of Catholicism by Henry.   The religious fervor of the Catholic believers had not waned over the years.    This young man along with several others began a plot to assassinate the King and as many of the Lords as they could and then have a new Catholic King take the throne.  They clearly weren’t paying attention to the public opinion polls of the day or they would have realized what a fool’s errand this would be.

Into the basement of Parliament they secretly planted kegs of powder in the fall of 1605.  The plotters were concerned that some Catholics would be in attendance at the House of Lords and one of them sent a warning note to a relative telling him not to attend the session.  The letter was shown to the King eventually and he ordered a search but nothing was found the first time.  The young man was there but he said he was a servant and doing a chore for his master.  The King ordered another and more thorough search.  This time the kegs of powder were found.  The young man was still there and had matches and a clock with him.

At first he refused to divulge any information and gave a false name.  The King authorized torture since they were concerned that other plots might exist and others were involved and that harm would come to the country.  After some more direct persuasion he confessed and revealed the names of the co-conspirators.  They were quickly rounded up.  They all were hung except for two who died with the troops arrived to arrest them and they resisted.  Even those however had their heads severed and stuck on a pike for all to see what happens to traitors.

Our young man was Guy Fawkes for those who didn’t stay awake during world history class.  To this day the English still celebrate Guy Fawkes day or the Gunpowder Plot as it was known with fireworks and children playing.

So we have a “citizen” who goes to foreign lands to fight with an enemy and receives explosives training and adopts a new name to show his enthusiasm for his religous buddies.  He returns intent on terror and in fact despite his ordinariness he does attempt the bombing.  Only a little luck and quick work by the authorities prevented the disaster from occurring.  Maybe history can teach us a few lessons.

If the Greeks aren’t that excited about reforming their welfare system and getting their deficits and debt under control why should the rest of the world rush to their aid?  The riots in the streets there indicate the people aren’t willing to take care of themselves but want “someone” else to pay for their nanny state.  That is the problem with Socialism like M. Thatcher said–sooner or later you run out of people to pay for everything.

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Filed under Culture, Economics, Foreign Affairs, government, history, terrorism, War

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