Working Together For A Safe Holiday
Washington, DC - Summer is here, vacationers are on the
move, and the nation is once again preparing to celebrate its most visible
patriotic holiday - the Fourth of July. Civic parades, concerts, fireworks
displays, and picnics, as expected, will dominate the observance of America's
Independence Day. Unlike Memorial Day's somber reflection on past sacrifices,
the Fourth of July is a time when Americans traditionally express their
joy at living in freedom.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) sincerely hopes this
year will be no different. ATF wishes to remind the American public, however,
that traditional celebrations typically draw large crowds, which could
present a tempting target for terrorist bombers. This day is highly symbolic
to Americans, and could be a symbolic target day for our enemies. Those
who hate our way of life would savor nothing more than turning a day of
laughter and celebration into one of fear and mourning.
ATF wishes to assure the nation that while the public enjoys a holiday,
we will be working to make the holiday safe for Americans. We at ATF have
undertaken an accelerated inspection schedule of Federally-licensed explosives
dealers and users since 9/11: a total of nearly 7,500 inspections in the
3 months immediately after the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings,
and thousands more since January of this year. ATF inspectors found and
corrected over 1,700 recordkeeping and storage violations during that
same period, including an unsafe storage situation in Missouri that resulted
in the seizure and controlled destruction of some 4 million pounds of
explosives. We have met with explosives industry leaders, and have notified
all those in the industry to be exceptionally vigilant as we enter the
summer holiday season. We asked their cooperation in noting and reporting
to ATF any attempts by unknown individuals to buy explosives materials
under unusual circumstances or in a suspicious manner. We have reason
to believe this partnership with industry will greatly assist in the nation's
Partnerships should not be limited to industry and government, though.
ATF asks all citizens to understand the unprecedented time in which we
are living, and urges them to exercise caution during the holiday period.
Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies are on alert throughout
the nation, but they are only as effective as the intelligence they receive.
This is where you can help. In a battle against terror, every bit of information
is important, and an alert public is always a key factor in crime prevention.
If you truly appreciate the freedoms you enjoy, and understand the threats
posed by terrorism, you can and should be prepared to shoulder a part
of the load in maintaining everyone's security.
If you see suspicious activity involving firearms or explosives, please
notify ATF at: 1-800-ATF-BOMB. Your observations could be critical.
ATF is justly proud of the work its expert bomb investigators have done
in solving bombing crimes. ATF has been a primary investigator of the
World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the Murrah Federal Building bombing
in Oklahoma City, the Atlanta Olympics Centennial Park bombing, and many
others nationally and internationally. Our special agents and forensic
investigative teams have had far more experience in sifting through post-blast
crime scenes than they prefer, however: memories of scarred, gutted buildings
and shattered lives cannot easily be erased. Crime solving is always necessary;
crime prevention is just as vital, though, and is not limited to
select law enforcement groups.
Please, enjoy your holiday, but be alert for yourselves and for your
neighbors. A "safe and sane" Fourth of July holiday has never