The Times Herald-Record has a story referenced on Page One today about the failed Times Square bomber being sentenced to life in prison. This is the guy, Faisal Shahzad, who put a bomb in a car and parked it in Times Square in May, but it didn’t go off, and a street vendor helped cops catch him, and they yanked him off a plane just as he was about to fly out of the country.
Funny thing is, when i got home last night after helping to put the tease to that story on Page One, there waiting for me was the new issue of Granta, a great literary magazine that i subscribe to every few years, when i talk myself into believing that i can afford it. Each issue has a theme, and this issue’s theme is “Pakistan.” There was a short article that i read standing up with my raincoat still on, called “The Trials of Faisal Shahzad,” by Lorraine Adams with Ayesha Nasir. It’s all about Shahzad’s weird family life — his poor birth family that became wealthy and his mediocrity in school and his arranged marriage, and how he came to attend the execrable University of Bridgeport and work in Connecticut as an “account analyst,” and all — and it quotes extensively from his remarks at his trial. It was pretty frightening and depressing in that he seems to represent many of his Pashtun people, if not most Pakistanis, in hating the U.S. because of all the innocent civilians we’ve killed in Pakistan while trying to find Osama bin Laden (or whatever we’re doing over there).
But most arresting was the very end, where they quote a police source as giving the reason why Shahzad’s “triple-redundant” bomb failed to ignite on that Saturday night: “The timer on the detonator, it was on military time. He set it for 7. That was 7 a.m. on this thing. For 7 p.m., what he wanted, it should have been 19.00.”