Guess Why This Guy Who Blew Himself up Making Bombs Isn’t Getting Called a Terrorist
Sure, he had homemade bombs, but don’t call him a domestic terrorist
A Butte, Montana man was found dead on Saturday night after a bomb exploded in his home. But the cause of his death wasn’t the explosion. Instead, he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, having been mortally wounded when the propane tank he was using as part of a homemade bomb blew up.
Authorities found at least three bombs in the home of thirty-two-year-old Ryan Simpson. The evidence strongly suggests Simpson was a domestic terrorist in the making. But so far, nobody has called him one. The Missoulian, which provides the bulk of the information here, isn’t using that term. None of the officials interviewed use the term. Why?
Sheriff Ed Lester said the bomb also contained gun powder. Two other bombs were found inside the house, but fortunately they hadn’t been detonated.
Police, firefighters and paramedics arrived about 6 p.m. Saturday at the house located at 420 Aluminum Street after neighbors reported that an explosion blew out the home’s windows. Firefighters found the victim sitting on the living room couch. Once police located the other explosives, authorities were evacuated, as were neighbors from their homes until the Missoula bomb squad secured the scene.
“Given the number of devices I’m thankful that we didn’t have additional injuries,” Lester said during a Monday morning news conference.
One bomb was found in the kitchen. The other was found elsewhere in the house, The Missoulian reported. A slew of pistols and rifles were also found and the explosion was so powerful that it brought down the ceiling and caused significant damage in the house. The basement contained propane tanks and packages with gunpowder.
It sure doesn’t sound like Simpson was planning to clean his chimney with this stuff.
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I checked several news sources apart from The Missoulian, and not a single one brought up the specter of domestic terrorism. Not one. Even though Simpson had bombs, guns and gunpowder, there is not an ounce of speculation regarding terroristic motives—could you imagine that being the case if Simpson were of Middle Eastern descent?
So what is domestic terrorism?
“(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended — (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.”
In a recent speech to Central Command, President Donald Trump complained that terrorist attacks were being covered up and suppressed by the media, notes my colleague Laura Muth, writing for Reverb Press. Trump contended this was especially true when it came to attacks by Islamic extremists in the U.S. and Europe. The administration tried to back up its claims by releasing a list of attacks the media had supposedly ignored. This backfired because it turned out that 78 attacks mentioned in the list had at least 100 media hits.
But that media-blaming list conveniently left out numerous attacks that were carried out by white, right-wing extremists who were not (ahem) Muslims.
Most egregiously, that list did not contain the name of Canadian Trump supporter Alexandre Bissonette, who entered the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec City with guns blazing, killing six people and wounding 19. It also ignored mass murderer Dylann Roof, who killed nine African-Americans at a church in South Carolina, and also failed to mention Robert Louis Dear, who killed three people at a Colorado Planned Parenthood.
Now, suppose each of these men had been Muslim? Because in Donald Trump’s world, you’re only a terrorist if you’re a Muslim. We have all heard him screeching about ISIS, about banning Muslims and finding ways to keep them out of the U.S.
And he takes to Twitter and writes ridiculous things like this:
Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn’t he should immediately resign in disgrace!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2016
Inspired by Trump’s Islamophobic rhetoric, anti-Muslim hate groups have popped up like ugly flowers all over the U.S., their numbers nearly tripling from 34 to more than 100 in 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center notes. And while not all of these groups are dangerous, there’s a good chance many of them are. Perhaps there are many Ryan Simpsons in these groups, making bombs and collecting firearms. Even with all of that, few people think of them as terrorist organizations.
To quote the president: SAD!
We don’t really know what Simpson was planning, but whatever it was it couldn’t have been good. For far too many people, only Muslims are terrorists, while white males are merely “misunderstood.” But everything this man was doing smacks of terrorism.
Now he’s just another domestic terrorist who’s been taken out of the world, making it a safer place for the rest of us.
(Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)