GRAND RAPIDS — One question that has been burning in the minds of Americans for the past few weeks is, why do terrorists kill innocent people?
One answer is, it makes for good theater — a shocking performance that holds a stunned worldwide audience captive.
That answer may not satisfy everyone’s inquiring mind, but it does come from a qualified and credible source — Robert DuHadway.
DuHadway formerly headed the FBI office in Grand Rapids. Today he is a partner with former U.S. Marshall John Kendall in DuHadway, Kendall & Associates, the security firm most likely known best by the local corporate community.
“Terrorism is theater. That’s why they kill innocent people,” said DuHadway at last week’s meeting of the Convention and Arena Authority (CAA). “They want to create fear and get as much publicity for their cause as they can.”
The CAA owns two of the city’s most-visited public buildings, the Grand Center and the Van Andel Arena, and DuHadway and Kendall provide security services for both.
DuHadway told board members that terrorists are more brutal today than they were 30 years ago. He said the Red Brigade of the 1970s didn’t always kill people that they took hostage. Often they negotiated and traded hostages for something or someone they needed. Now negotiations seldom taken place.
DuHadway added that today’s terrorists are no longer just political idealists. Religious zealots, who are ready to die for a cause, lead these groups. Violent criminals, with anti-social personalities who view their deadly activities as fun, have joined them.
“It is very difficult, if not impossible, to stop these individuals,” said DuHadway.
But then DuHadway offered board members some reassurance.
“We have a very good liaison with city, county, state and federal law-enforcement officials. I think I can say that there are no terrorist cells in West Michigan. If there were, we would know about them,” he said.
“That’s not to say they won’t come to West Michigan,” DuHadway cautioned. “But as far as I know, there is no problem here.”
DuHadway added that if an incident did happen here, it likely would be done by a few locals in a copycat manner. But he assured board members that all security measures have been taken at the arena.
“We feel we have the necessary equipment presently. We have good information, the best information we can get,” he said. “And we believe that we will be able to know prior to any incident what is going to happen and be able to stop it.”