What we know…
A large VBIED, an RV, was detonated in Nashville.
911 call(s) placed of shots fired.
Conflicting reports of whether or not there were actual shots fired; some reports the sounds of shots being fired were being transmitted via loudspeaker from the RV along with or followed by announcements a bombing we eminent.
Whether the shots fired were real or not, Nashville PD banged on doors and evacuated the immediate vicinity. The explosion seems to have caused one casualty of an unknown person, and three to five serious injuries.
The valid assumption…
This was an act of terrorism, but no one or group is claiming responsibility leaving the purpose, intent or target of the act open to debate.
However, we do know some of the consequences. Determining which of these were intended will answer a lot.
The AT&T building that was heavily damaged is a significant part of the infrastructure. In addition to impacting internet, TV and cell service in a large area to include BNA-Nashville International Airport, 911 service was impacted across numerous counties. The cell service and 911 service were down as far away as Clarksville, TN which Ft. Campbell, KY, the home of the 101st Airborne, 160th SOAR and the 5th Special Forces Group – think “Delta” – the guys that get called when the SEALs get in trouble. (According to the big brains from which were culled all of the few known facts, operations and operating capabilities of the 101st, 160th and 5th Group were not impacted, but general services were as many rank and file soldiers and communications do rely on civilian cell networks.)
911 service is still down in numerous counties.
Regarding the explosion and VBIED itself, according to well-experienced EOD techs (the guys that dealt with IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan)…
the crater that was left was not as significant as would be expected; it seems the explosion was primed and aimed up and out – at the physical structure next to which it was parked, the AT&T building. This accounts for eyewitness reports of seeing something (gas? liquid?) shooting up into the air from the RV immediately prior to the explosion. There are reports of video showing this, but as of now, none of those clearly demonstrating this have been verified.
Efforts were made to minimize the loss of innocent lives with the 911 call and announcement emanating from the RV prior to explosion.
The question to ask, Cui bono? (Who benefits?)
There is rampant speculation this attack has something to do with he 2020 Presidential election as AT&T and this building and the functioning of this building were integral to the auditing of Dominion servers, the voting machines and mechanism that are being questioned. That would make this domestic (perhaps with foreign actors/funding) and politically motivated.
It is just as likely however, this was a test of the impact of taking out one of these communication nodes. That leads to speculation this is part of a much wider, coordinated plan for events yet to come and raises the specter of State-sponsored terrorism. One bomb next to one communication node can cripple a large swath of real estate. Several simultaneous or sequential attacks would cripple our communications Nationwide, first by taking out large geographic areas then by overwhelming what hasn’t been damaged – think rolling blackouts, but of communications.
It is also possible this was homegrown terrorists who were targeting police. If so, that plan is an epic fail as the police are being hailed as heroes for risking their lives under the threat of an imminent bomb attack to warn, evacuate and save civilians. You know, doing their jobs.
The real concern here is this was just the first of its kind of such attacks. The next time a suspiciously placed vehicle starts announcing a bomb threat, it will be a much bigger bomb with a much, much bigger blast area designed to take out the police and first responders who will flood the area and set up what they assume to be a safe perimeter. Or, the bomb will go off faster to take out the police who are trying to evacuate people.
Person of Interest Identified
News outlets (The Daily Mail out of the UK and The Washington Times) are reporting a person of interest has been identified and may already be in custody. Hopefully, we will have some answers soon.
Until someone claims responsibility, is verified as being responsible and the intent and target are known, we won’t know what this was about. The inference is we are all at risk and that is the definition of terrorism. It’s not the size of the act it is the consequences, the changes in behavior, the unsettling of the population, the heightened fear and distrust those already at odds with each other which are already on full display.