The bungling terrorism suspect managed to hit one mark on Saturday. He successfully maneuvered a murder machine into the heart of New York City.
And had he been a better bomb-maker, vendors and police wouldn't have been gifted with the opportunity to sound the alarm and clear the area.
Those two facts taken together make this the most frightening terror attempt here since Sept. 11, 2001.
For almost a decade, the nation, and especially New York, has learned to live with the threat of terrorism, with the reality that New York City remains firmly in enemy sights. And we will do it again.
Some of the lessons learned after Sept. 11 were invaluable on Saturday. Sidewalk vendors saw something and said something. A New York City police officer from Long Island quickly began to clear the area.
And bystanders, hardened by the years since Sept. 11, evacuated blocks surrounding the SUV without panic.
But vigilance and heroism, followed by a collective national sigh of relief, can't obscure Saturday's act for what it was:
An attack, one that is a game-changer.
He got too close.
Literally and figuratively.
That should be enough to tease the hairs on the neck of anyone traveling by car, train and subway around the city, or anyone who has friends and family doing the same.
New Yorkers cannot afford to grow complacent, as many have, under the threat of terrorism. Or lax with the supposition that everything's always under control.
Post-9/11, parents gave their children cell phones, realizing communication's importance. New Yorkers with spouses working in the city - that includes me - made plans.
Where do we meet?
If we can't communicate with each other, who outside of New York can we call?
Should we keep cash in the house?
Such questions were not easy to consider then. They are not easy to consider now.
One day after police hauled the sport utility vehicle away, Times Square was again bustling with life. Tourists were still coming in. And so were families.
That's as it should be.
But were any of them thinking of those precautions they had spoken to family about? Probably not.
Saturday's was an imperfect attack, one that popped rather than roared. But the threat of terrorism, again, has become a local reality.
And this time it wasn't a foreign-terrorism-linked group whose plans were aborted long before they managed to get even close to city subways or an office building.
That reality hits hard, like a slap in the face.
There's a war on.
New York's job is to stay smart and stay strong.
On Saturday, May 1, an NYPD officer found smoke coming out out a car in Times Square. The area around Seventh Avenue and 45th Street was evacuated, and the bomb squad found propane and other potential explosives in the vehicle. On May 3, Faisal Shahzad was arrested and eventually charged with attempted terrorism.