University of Wisconsin-stout students contributed their thoughts on the New York City terrorist attack where New York City police apprehended and charged 29-year old Sayfullo Saipov with federal terrorism offenses after he drove a truck through a city bike lane for over a mile, resulting in eight deaths and 12 injuries. President Trump called for Saipov’s execution and suggested the termination of the Diversity Immigrant Visa lottery program, which legally granted Saipov U.S. citizenship in 2010.
Many students felt that the current overexposure of terror incidents has stifled general sympathy towards them. Student Tanner Brun explained, “People can get desensitized and recover from an attack of any sort. Massacres, shootings, general terrorist attacks…we can just get over that stuff surprisingly quickly.” Numerous people mentioned that they had heard of the New York incident, but found themselves too busy in their everyday lives to look more into the topic.
Another frequent opinion was criticism of Trump’s response to the issue, with many believing that him attributing the attack to immigration was irrelevant and harmful. Student Jack Harkness said, “People should be more educated on why these terrorist attacks originating from Arabic countries started, and then we can better address them when they come.” Another student, Kristen Van Dyke, stated, “I think it’s uncalled for [Trump] to place the blame on a big group because of the actions of one person.” Yet another student, Riley Martin, said, “It was pretty hard to avoid [the attack] considering that [Saipov] passed background checks…I feel that we did all we could.”
Despite terrorist acts becoming a frequent recurrence, widespread sympathy is still held for the victims and their families. Dr. Cynthia Bland, professor of Art History, said, “It leaves me deeply concerned about the future of people interacting with this hate that goes on, because when you attack somebody that is defenseless, it is a cowardly act.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio commented, “We know that this action was intended to break our spirit. But we also know New Yorkers are strong, New Yorkers are resilient. And our spirit will never be moved by an act of violence.” The city raised its safety measures by installing concrete barriers around bike lanes to prevent any future incidents, maintaining the city’s stance to remain vigilant against acts of terror.