New Yorkers will not be scared away

NYPD: Fatalities after truck strikes people
NYPD: Fatalities after truck strikes people

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  • Errol Louis: New York joins the list of cities targeted by truck-driving terrorists in recent years
  • In the wake of such violent attacks, New Yorkers safeguard their way of life, instead of being driven away by fear, he writes

Errol Louis is the host of "Inside City Hall," a nightly political show on NY1, a New York all-news channel. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

(CNN)We New Yorkers never forget that our city remains the No.1 terrorist target in the world. But many of us believed we would avoid the particular horror of a low-tech truck attack.

It was not to be. The murderous attack by an Uzbek national, who police say mowed down innocent people in a rented truck before being shot in the abdomen, puts New York in the company of cities like London, Barcelona, Stockholm and Berlin, all of which have been struck by truck-driving terrorists in recent years.
New Yorkers never imagined we would escape terrorism altogether. I was living and working in the city on February 26, 1993, when the first World Trade Center bombing took place. Eight and a half years later, I watched the towers burn on September 11, and walked around the ruins a few days later.
    While many outsiders reacted to the bombings with rage, my memory is that most New Yorkers felt sadness at the pain, loss and destruction that struck the heart of our beloved city. And alongside the sadness, a determination to safeguard our lives, our families and our way of life, no matter how many demented fanatics might try to scare us away.
    Impressive layers of safety protocols have become part of life in New York. We grew used to seeing heavily armed members of elite New York Police Department teams running drills in the city. The subways often set up checkpoints to conduct random searches of backpacks.
    A heightened sense of alertness has set in, as well. When a terrorist tried to set off a car bomb in the middle of Times Square in 2010, street vendors spotted the smoking, shuddering car and alerted authorities. And when a bomb was left on the street in the Chelsea neighborhood last year, a local photographer saw the contraption and the bomb squad swung into action.
    We've gotten good at intercepting terrorists. Earlier this month, authorities announced they had quietly thwarted yet another attempt to bomb Times Square.
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    Like other Americans, New Yorkers know something the death-dealing jihadists will never understand: that the blessings and benefits of a thriving culture -- one based on compassion, prosperity and openness -- is the wave of the future. And we will survive and defeat the demons in the dark, with their twisted, deadly aims, no matter how many bombs, trucks and schemes they bring our way.