美國垃圾桶有致命風險

World Journal (Los Angeles) - - 廣告 -

有沒有這種經驗:路經洛杉磯或紐約大街邊一個公共垃圾桶,突然聯想裡面有沒有炸彈?會不會爆炸,造成自己死亡或受傷?這種「美國經驗」不是誇大,而是活生生的事實,只是誰運氣太差會碰到而已。紐約市布碌崙(布魯克林)和新澤西州,日前被激進伊斯蘭恐怖分子拉哈米,在街頭垃圾桶放置九個土製壓力鍋或鋼管炸彈。幸好只有兩個爆炸,造成29人受傷,其他八個未爆,證明街頭垃圾桶,已成恐怖分子最佳掩護設施。自九一一恐襲以來,這十多年,所有在美國生活的人,包括華裔移民,或多或少都在死亡威脅下「賭命」。恐襲威脅不僅搭飛機才有,加州聖伯納汀諾市法魯克夫婦槍枝濫殺、紐約的炸彈攻擊,各地隨時可能出現的精神狀態失常的濫殺槍手,擔心家人出門和孩子上學安全,都成「美式生活」的新負擔。街上的垃圾桶本是供行人丟棄廢物,但因藏置炸彈的潛在威脅,如今各地市政府減少垃圾桶數量,或設計成丟入口很狹小,想放進背包大小的物件很困難,以為這樣可防止炸彈客。但實際上,街上隱蔽死角還是很多,讓人防不勝防。有沒有注意到,現在每逢重大群眾活動,譬如巴沙迪那玫瑰花車遊行,或紐約時報廣場的跨年倒數計時等,很多場合都臨時把街上的垃圾桶全部移走,防止它成為放炸彈 的死角。有些地方會設臨時的開放無蓋垃圾桶,透過大眾隨時檢視和清潔人員頻繁收取垃圾,不讓垃圾桶成藏置炸彈的空間。南加州華裔大部分生活在市區以外的郊區,或許對恐襲威脅的感受,不像紐約、首都華盛頓迫切。東岸都會區人口密集,是美國政治、商業中心,也是恐怖分子首要目標。走在紐約街頭,經過垃圾桶時,旁邊擠滿人潮,常會油然萌生美國社會其實很脆弱,恐怖分子要造成重大傷亡,一點都不困難。垃圾桶放炸彈,靠手機接通遙控引爆,除了波士頓馬拉松賽,這次新澤西州和紐約市模式都一樣。反恐讓美國人神經緊張,經常小題大作、風聲鶴唳。譬如百貨公司、車站等地突然出現一個無主背包,警方就大舉疏散人群,如臨大敵。動用機器人檢查、拆彈,最後十之八九是被遺忘的背包,虛驚一場,整個社會都付出代價。但不這麼做,沒有人能承擔萬一炸彈威脅是真的,人命的嚴重損失。大洛杉磯都會區人口分散,除了市中心大樓密集,大部分地區開闊分散,恐怖攻擊通常不選擇這類地區,使南加州相對於東岸都會區,恐怖威脅程度較低。東岸華人常愛隨主流人士嘲笑西岸「沒有文化」。但看到紐約的恐襲威脅,西岸華人該慶幸,其實有另一種「幸福」。只是走過路邊垃圾桶,常還是會不自覺有聯想和幾分疑慮,你會嗎?

When you walked by a city garbage along the street in Los Angeles or New York, did you ever worry if there was a bomb inside ready to explode and take your life? This is no wild imagination but a fateful reality. The recent explosions and the discovery of unexploded pipe bombs in Brooklyn and New Jersey once again prove that street trash cans have become the best cover for the terrorists.

Because of the potential threats, cities everywhere are reducing street trash cans or redesign their lids to make it difficult to squeeze in a package-size object.

Have you ever noticed that in a major event such as the Rose Parade in Pasadena or the Times Square New Year's Eve in New York City, you could not find a single street trash can? Sometimes you would find a trash can without a lid for everyone to look inside to expose any bomb.

In Southern California, most Chinese Amercans live in the suburbs. Perhaps the threats of terrorism pale in comarison to those in New York and Washington D.C. As the American political and commercial center, the East Coast is the primary target for terrorists. Anytime you walk by a trash can on the street in New York, you'll realize how vulnerable we are. By placing a bomb in the trash can and detonating it through a cell phone, it's pretty easy to cause mass casualty, such was the case in the Boston Marathon bombing as well as the recent New Jersey/New York City bombing. The anti-terrorism measures have put the Americans on edge. Oftentimes the threat has been blown way out of propotion. For example, whenever an abandoned backpack was found around a department store or a bus stop, the police would order a mass evacuation as if something bad was about to happen. After a check by a robot and removal of the backpack, it always turned out to be much ado about nothing. However, the whole society has paid the price. But if you don't do it, no one can afford to take the reponsibility that if it was a real bomb and resulted in loss of lives. Due to the spread-out population and open areas, metropolitan Los Angeles normally does not attract terror attacks. Chinese Americans on the East Coast like to sneer at the West Coast as "cultureless". But when you think about the constant terror threats in New York, the West Coast Chinese Americans should feel "lucky". Still, when walking by a street trash can, would you look at it with leery eyes?

(Getty Images)

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