Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Terrorists in West Memphis? Arkansas Doctor Bombed

Dr. Trent P. Pierce, chairman of the Arkansas State Medical Board, walked to his SUV today, then a bomb went off. The explosion could be heard a mile away, and dropped Dr. Pierce in a flower bed. He's pretty much in one piece, and has had SUV pieces taken out of him. He's in critical condition, though.

The big mystery is why somebody tried to shred the doctor.

Dr. Pierce is a family doctor, got listed as a co-defendant in a lawsuit but other wise seems well-liked. He's chairman of the state Medical Board, but there's no hot issue going on there right now.

Still, there might be someone peeved with Pierce because of his connection with an outfit that grants licenses for, regulates, and sometimes disciplines around :
  • 8,000 doctors
  • 3,000 therapists
  • 400 osteopaths
But it's early days in the investigation.

A car bomb explosion critically wounded the head of the Arkansas panel that licenses and disciplines doctors, detonating in his driveway as he was leaving for work, authorities said.

Terrorist Attack?

A police official in West Memphis, Arkansas, said something that caught my ear:

"...'It's a terrorist attack on Dr. Pierce, and we just don't know why someone would do this,' the police chief, Robert Paudert, told reporters who gathered down the street from Dr. Pierce's house. 'We don't know if it was a random act, or someone specifically targeted him.'..." (The New York Times)

I think the police chief may be right, but just what sort of "terrorist" planted the bomb isn't at all clear. It could be an individual or group who doesn't like:
  • Doctors
  • People with brick driveways
  • SUVs
  • Arkansas state officials
At this point, there's no way to tell. The attack could even be Al Qaeda, or another Islamic terror organization, trying a new sort of terror attack.

I don't think so: but it's possible.

Shaking up a high-end neighborhood, ruining a perfectly good vehicle, and nearly killing a relatively minor state official doesn't have the headline-grabbing power of flying airliners into skyscrapers. But it might be seen as a way of making America's government officials edgy.

Targeting people doesn't always have the desired results. Al Qaeda in Iraq tried that a few years ago: firmly associating Islam with beheading in the minds of outsiders, and creating the Anbar Awakening in the process. Not one of Al Qaeda's shining moments.

At this point, I doubt that the bombing in West Memphis is part of a new strategy for the 'death to America' people. Dr. Pierce isn't the sort of high-profile target that Al Qaeda seems to prefer, and he isn't involved with national security in any obvious way.

Attack of the Killer Doctors?

Unless, of course, there's some conspiracy afoot to infiltrate Arkansas' health care system with doctor-terrorists who, at a pre-arranged signal, will poison their patients.

And, following the dramatic approach of many conspiracy theories, Dr Pierce had discovered the nefarious plan and was about to unmask the diabolical death-dealing doctors.

I don't think so, but it would make quite a story.

And, the idea of doctors being involved, in their professional capacity, as agents on the other side of the War on Terror isn't as outlandish as it may seem. More about that, at

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In the news:


Brigid said...

It would be an interesting approach for terrorists to target more or less random people. That could really shake people up.

Brian H. Gill said...


Yes. Like the wildfire scenario, I'm afraid that, given time, that will happen.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.