On Monday a white man placed a pipe bomb beside a five gallon gas can, against the wall of the Colorado Springs office of the NAACP. Then he jumped into his old white pickup with its license plate obscured, and he drove away.
The detonation shook the pictures off of the walls inside. There were two people there, but neither was hurt. The ignition didn’t go as planned. The pipe bomb blew, but the gas didn’t. If it had ignited, this might have been a double murder on top of a terrorist attack and hate crime.
There is a pretty good chance that you didn’t know any of this. Because while the world mourns the deaths of twelve, including reporters, editors, police and a maintenance worker at the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, American news has almost zero fucks to give to generic, non-Muslim, home grown terrorists.
Let me whisper a few words about Charlie Hebdo. I didn’t know about it before yesterday, but apparently they have been at the vanguard of producing tasteless, racist garbage since 1970. That’s a lot of garbage.
Below, for example, is their take on the kidnapping of the 273 Nigerian school girls by the terrorist group, Boko Haram, last year. The caption, roughly translated, reads, “The Sex Slaves of the Boko haram. Hands off our welfare benefits!” Do you see what they did there? They turned the kidnapping, rape and enslavement of 273 girls into a joke about welfare. Isn’t satire great?
I’m not as funny as they are, but consider the following to be satire in their honor. I have the exact same number of fucks to give to the editors and writers at Charlie Hebdo as they had for the girls kidnapped and raped by Boko Haram. Zero.
But the media suddenly loves them. At my beloved NPR, I could almost hear the tissue box emptying as they spoke of Charlie Hebdo’s tumultuous past. They didn’t mention their piece on the missing Nigerians. They did say that they are equal opportunity insulters, just as likely to hurl bile at Christian as Jews and Muslims. Which, I presume would be small consolation if you were family of the missing girls.
Speaking of NPR, I went to their page to see if they made any mention at all, of the NAACP bombing. They did. On their website it floated between Obama unveiling his State of the Union Speech in Michigan and Police recovering OJ’s missing Heisman Trophy. (Thank God.)
I’m not sure if it made it to the radio, but I spend a fair amount of time shuttling children around metro Atlanta. NPR is what I listen to. So, if they did talk about it maybe I wasn’t in my car at the time. But it’s important. Every bit as important as Charlie Hebdo.
First off, it’s here. For all of the talk about the growing Isis hoard, they are still largely a problem for over there. I am pretty sure there hasn’t been a single Isis attack on our soil whereas, this bombing happened here, and its targets were American citizens.
It’s an attack with a legacy. Home grown, white, terrorists have a long history of blowing things up. Bombs were so adored by white supremacists during the civil rights movement, that Birmingham Ala. came to be known as Bombingham.
It seems to be a trend. Do you remember the church burning that took place the day after the grand jury reached its verdict in Ferguson? Probably not. That story, like this one, flew right under the radar. But while the country wringed its hands and gnashed its teeth over the riots, a fire was set in Pastor Carlton Lee’s church.
Pastor Lee was on the front lines of the protests, both demanding justice and trying his very best to make sure that calmer heads prevailed. Then he received a call from the police. His Church, the Flood Christian Church in Ferguson Mo., was burning to the ground.
This was the Church where Mike Brown senior had elected to be baptized just a week earlier. The pastor paid for it with his own money, converting an old gas station and then building a congregation of 75, including Mike Brown’s father and step-mother.
“Seventy-one death threats. But I’ll never forget what one man said to me,” said Pastor Lee in the Washington Post. ‘I’m going to come pick you up with all you other hateful n—– preachers and put you all in your church and burn you straight to hell.’ ”
If any mainstream news agencies chose to look, there is a story here. Racial tensions are higher than they have been in generations. If you are brave enough to look at the comments of even moderately controversial posts and stories, you will find the words “race war” thrown about almost casually. Attacks like this one aren’t going away. If anything, we might be entering a time when they become the norm.
But if it did, I’m not sure very many people would notice. When Isis isn’t pulling the trigger, the news doesn’t care.