I’ve told this story before – many times in fact. It’s a story of white privilege and black pain. It’s a story of Islamophobia and bigotry.
It’s a story of the United States of America.
On Monday, bombs went off in Austin, Texas.
Let’s pause right there.
That’s a big deal, right? Bombs – actual improvised explosive devices – going off – in the middle of a major American city is a big deal.
They weren’t found by a bomb squad and safely disposed of by a brave crew or a high tech robot. Nah, they were left on the doorsteps of people’s homes all over Austin. Made to look like mail, the packages were then picked up by mix of everyday people – all black and Latino – young and old – where they were then torn to bits by explosive shrapnel.
According to the latest report from ABC News,
“Investigators believe that the trio of bombs that rocked Austin, Texas over the past several days displayed a level of sophistication, indicating that the bomb-maker or bomb-makers were highly skilled. Multiple sources briefed on the investigation told ABC News that the explosive devices were constructed with enhancers, like nails, nuts, bolts and other metal pieces that were packed inside to generate shrapnel. The devices were set up to be detonated by motion like shaking or jostling, which is why they exploded when they were picked up. They devices also had some sort of safety switch, which enabled the bomber to move the devices without blowing themselves up.”
Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s a huge deal. Strangely, though, Donald Trump, the President of the United States, who campaigned on being tough on crime and terrorism hasn’t said a word. He hasn’t tweeted concerns or condolences. Instead, he’s tweeting pictures of himself surveying border wall prototypes. Hours after multiple bombs were detonated in Austin on Monday, Donald Trump was terminating his Secretary of State over Twitter.
But a full ten days before most of the nation heard about the deadly bombs that were set off this past Monday, one tore through the body of Anthony Stephan House, a 39-year-old African-American project manager, ripping his body to shreds.
“It didn’t sound like an explosion or what I think of an explosion. It sounded like a metal dumpster getting hit by a truck,” said the neighbor, Sean Philips, who rushed outside and found Anthony Stephan House with his body embedded with shrapnel. “His clothes were torn up and his face was torn up,” said Philips.
House was pronounced dead an hour later.
What happened next is hard to process. Police seemed convinced that Anthony Stephan House killed himself with a package bomb on the doorstep of his own home. They changed the status of his death away from a homicide and simply said it was suspicious and that it was an “an isolated incident and that there is no continuing threat to the community.”
Anthony’s brother, Norrell, speaking to Heavy, said that local police “attempted to frame” his brother and make it out like he made the bomb himself.
Now police admit that their evidence shows that it appears the same person or group actually made all of the bombs – which pretty much rules out Anthony Stephan House, who for the first 10 days after he was murdered, wasn’t treated like a victim of a hate crime or a terrorist attack, but as clumsy suspect who accidentally killed himself.
Then, on this past Monday, a full 10 days after Anthony Stephan House was murdered, virtually the same thing that happened to House happened at two additional homes in Austin, Texas.
The package that eventually exploded and killed 17-year-old Draylen Mason, was brought into his home and exploded in the kitchen, killing him there and critically wounding his mother. Draylen, we have since learned, was a brilliant musician and young scholar who had been accepted into prestigious music programs across the country.
Another bomb exploded a few hours later and critically injured a 75 year old Hispanic woman. The local President of the Austin chapter of the NAACP believes that all three targets are connected and said yesterday that someone else who lives at the house where the final bomb was set off was the likely target.
Here’s what I know and what makes living in this country so damn exhausting. If the victims were white and the suspects were Muslims – the President of the United States would care, but it seems like this square peg doesn’t fit into the round hole of his agenda. These cases don’t seem like the type that would rile up his base or get big ratings on Fox News or get people chanting “lock her up” at a rally – so the man is silent and just tweets away about nonsense.
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