Nashville, Tennessee was the target of a bomb-laden Chateau-brand camper RV early Christmas morning. In a scene so surreal it seemed right out of a cheesy ’80s action film, the RV blared out recordings of gunshots and an eerie computer-generated voice counting down the minutes until the bomb would explode. “All buildings in this area must be evacuated now” and “If you can hear this message, evacuate now” repeated until the bomb detonated. Snippets of Petula Clark’s 1965 hit, “Downtown” also blared, puzzlingly.
Rep. Jim Cooper (D) Tennessee had this to say, “I consider this an attack on American infrastructure…and I don’t know anybody who would do this except a terrorist.”
According to the F.B.I., the culprit responsible was Anthony Quinn Warner, an IT professional who once owned a company called Custom Alarms and Electronics, licensed to install burglar alarms from 1993 until 1998. He was a second-generation electronics guru; his father, Charles Bernard Warner, also known as “Popeye,” had worked for BellSouth prior to his retirement and passing.
Anthony Quinn Warner allegedly had concerns with the safety 5G cellular communications. We are told that he believed that the new protocol was causing a loss of human lives. For someone skillful enough to construct a bomb and rig up the digital countdown setup, it’s strange that he would fall victim to such unfounded and unscientific beliefs.
Disturbed paranoid thinking may have been involved, and when that’s the case, there’s no rhyme nor reason for what a person may choose to do when acting on such beliefs.
Federal agents, including members of the F.B.I. and A.T.F. were seen on December 26 at Warner’s residence. Some eyewitnesses claim that Warner had an RV parked in his driveway that resembled the RV that exploded in downtown Nashville.
According to Michael Balboni, former NY D.H.S. director, publicly stated that the D.H.S. had put out a memo on December 22 warning of increased chatter indicating that there may be issues with violence during the holiday season based on religious differences, however that seems to not have been related to Warner’s motive.
Warner, in an apparent suicide bombing, committed an act of terrorism against a target that is not actually a 5G cellular phone site, but rather an AT&T communications hub. If stopping the roll-out of 5G were truly his motive, it would have made more logical sense for Warner to attack a 5G cellular antenna mast.
The RV that exploded in a giant fireball had been parked outside of this hardened building, and the blast, perhaps the result of a shaped charge, likely detonated in the direction of the building, looking at the blackened sidewalk and residue from the fireball that rose along the side of the building, leaving char in its path.
Emerging practically unscathed, the AT&T building is clad in a metal covering, and this second skin seemed to bounce most of the impact of the bomb back toward the buildings on the opposite side of the street, some of which completely lost their brick facade, exposing the innards of people’s apartments.
In total, over 40 buildings were damaged. The metal covering on the AT&T building was dented all over, and in places shrapnel ripped through and remains jutting out at odd angles. However, there are no apparent holes in the building itself.
Still, low frequency waves from the bomb likely penetrated the outer walls of the AT&T building. Some low frequency waves pass right through solids and are not reflected. Apparently, this caused serious damage to some of the sensitive electronics housed within the building, as cell phone and internet service was disrupted throughout the region, as well as 911 call centers and more.
This was a one man act of war against the United States. Our entire way of life relies on these communications hubs, and there are a limited number scattered throughout the states. Right here in New York City, we have 33 Thomas Street, a 550-foot-tall windowless building that was designed to withstand a nuclear war. Like the windowless building in Nashville, the NYC AT&T Long Lines Building, as it’s known, is a vital communications hub. These sorts of sites serve as sites for telephone switching equipment and secure data centers.
In fact, when Con Edison accidentally turned off power to 33 Thomas Street in 1991, and backup battery power did not kick in, millions of calls would not go through, and air traffic control to almost 400 airports was disrupted, grounding flights all over the country.
We should be relieved that in this case, the terrorist was working alone. What would a coordinated attack on multiple secure data centers do to the United States? For starters, we’d have massive disruptions: No phone service. No Internet. No TV, except for local channels’ over-the-air broadcasts. Wall Street might be crippled, as would digital banking and credit cards. In short, we’d have chaos.
Of course, data can be re-routed, but with even a few such key sites disabled, we’d have capacity issues, and it might be weeks, or months, before service was fully restored.
Immediately, there should be changes in security protocol around all other vital data centers. Firstly, there should be street patrols, and so no vehicle would be able to park and sit there without immediately being dealt with, as the RV did on Christmas morning. Additionally, dump trucks filled with sand should be placed at street level around all other data center sites, to prevent this sort of thing from happening again. It’s an inelegant solution, but it would work until something more permanent can be worked out.
Our way of life is undeniably digital; we could not last very long without the Internet. If steps are taken immediately, perhaps this will serve as an event that facilities needed change. When these sites were first constructed, each was essential. However, in our present era, their significance is even greater, and this should not be a weak point in our national defenses.
In any event, this should be a terrorist attack that provides volumes of useful data on how hardened data sites fare after a direct hit. Thankfully, the only life lost in this attack was that of the perpetrator. Property damage can be repaired. Lives lost cannot be replaced. If our digital signal pathways are obliterated in a future wide-scale attack, the resulting devastation will likely be many lives lost. Let this serve as a much-needed wake-up call.
Many people were left homeless, and businesses remain closed. If you’re inclined to help, there are many ways. Here are but a few:
Nashville Non-profit Resources for Donations
Neighbors Helping Neighbors Fund
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and local Nashville News Channel 5 WTVF set up the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Fund to provide financial assistance to nonprofits providing immediate and long term assistance to those impacted by the Christmas Day bombing that injured three people and damaged dozens of buildings. Make a donation here.
Help for the Homeless
Downtown Nashville is an urban center, and like most urban centers, there is a homeless population. There are several ways to donate money and/or supplies. Please see https://www.coldweathernashville.com/help for information.
The Community Resource Center
The CRC actively secures supplies that bring immediate help. Right now, waht’s needed are items for disaster clean up and items for first responder needs. You can make a monetary donation here.