By every indication, Sami Osmakac wanted to set off a car bomb outside a Tampa bar and then drive to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and use grenades and automatic weapons to take hostages before blowing himself up with a suicide vest.
The testimony in his federal trial painted a stark picture of a religious extremist who harbored hatred for anyone who didn’t follow strict Sharia law. He talked about killing innocent people while carrying out a “second 9/11” in Tampa. He tried to drive away from an undercover sting with a fake bomb in the trunk, thinking it was real.
That’s enough to send shivers up the spine of everyone who calls the Tampa Bay area home, and is ample justification for getting him off the streets and behind prison walls for a long time, perhaps the rest of his life.
Defense attorneys argued he is mentally ill and without the capacity to pull off a terrorist attack of such magnitude. But as we know from 9/11, the terrorists who carry out these plans are often unstable and appear incapable of pulling off an attack.
Thanks to the sting operation, which was based on information provided by concerned Muslims in our community, we’ll never know whether Osmakac is capable of slaughtering innocent people.
A 12-member jury listened to the testimony of undercover agents and convicted him Tuesday of weapons charges.
Threats to set off bombs and unleash automatic weapons on innocent people are nothing to be trifled with in the world we live in today. The jurors obviously felt the response by the FBI and federal prosecutors justified the threat that Osmakac posed. Now a judge will decide how long he spends in prison.
Complaints by some in the Muslim community that the federal government over-reacted ring hollow.
Osmakac received the full benefits of our judicial system. He had a robust legal defense presented before an impartial jury that followed the rule of law. According to that jury, he should pay a price for plotting to kill hundreds of innocent people.
We trust the judge will make certain that he never has a chance to act upon those threats.