Nobody Set Up Us the Bomb

We feel neglected at the Motif office because, despite the recent highly publicized series of bombs sent through the postal mail to critics of Donald Trump, we never got one. Now, with the arrest of Cesar Altieri Sayoc Jr., also known as Cesar Altieri Randazzo, a 56-year-old Florida man who was literally living in a white van with windows covered up by pro-Trump stickers, it looks like we may never receive one. The white van even got its own news coverage, described as “really smelly when he had the door open and you walked by.”

Zero Wing

Have we not been critical enough of Trump to attract the ire of a former male stripper obsessed with bodybuilding, who in his 2012 bankruptcy filing reported living with his mother and having no furniture? Was he too distracted by claiming to be a member of the Seminole tribe, despite relatives saying his father was from the Philippines and his mother was from Brooklyn?

Compiling a lengthy criminal record since 1991 for felony theft, drug charges and fraud, surely the suspect had more than enough time to read our website. In 2002, he took time out from his busy schedule to threaten to blow up the office of Florida Power and Light during a telephone conversation with a customer service representative over a billing dispute, according to Miami police saying “it would be worse than September 11th.” According to CNN, when he worked delivering pizza he told his boss that she would “burn in hell” because she was a lesbian, and she said he identified himself as a “white supremacist” who “dislikes gay people, African-Americans, Jews, and anybody who isn’t white,” but she also called him a “model employee.”

Of course, we’re not alone here. We know professional jealousy when we observe it, and we can see right through The New York Times when they write a headline such as “Living in a Van Plastered With Hate, Bombing Suspect Was Filled with Right-Wing Rage,” which is just plain mean-spirited compared to CNN’s more neutral “Bomb suspect arrest: What we know about Cesar Sayoc.” We realize that this is because CNN got a bomb and the Times didn’t, with CNN viewers watching live on-air as alarms went off to force evacuation of the newsroom until coverage resumed from the sidewalk in front of the building. The bomb mailed to CNN was addressed to former CIA director John Brennan, who actually is a commentator on MSNBC rather than CNN. Twitter let him get away with threatening CNN analysts, ignoring a complaint about him – and, especially bizarrely, he issued his threat on behalf of the “Unconquered Seminole Tribe.” He was active on social media, posting a photo of himself at a Trump rally wearing a “Make American Great Again” hat, but he never made the effort to follow Motif on Twitter or Facebook.

Trump initially seemed to question the truth of news reports, tweeting the word “bomb” in quotes and suggesting that it was really a political ploy to harm Republicans by taking the focus of news away from the election: “Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this ‘Bomb’ stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows – news not talking politics.” Trump eventually did come out strongly against sending explosive devices through the mail to blow people up.

USPS Poster 84 - Suspicious Mail

USPS Poster 84: Suspicious Mail

In case we do get a mail bomb, I made a point of checking out the helpful advice from the US Postal Inspection Service on their web site – postalinspectors.uspis.gov/radDocs/bombs.htm – that includes important points such as (I’m not making this up) “Don’t open the article.” Among their tips on identifying suspicious packages, they note, “Mail bombs may have protruding wires, aluminum foil, or oil stains, and may emit a peculiar odor.” Who knew?

There may be hope that we will eventually get our mail bomb, though. A conspiracy theory circulating on the internet asserts that it was a “false flag” operation, with Democrats and liberals mailing bombs to Democrats and liberals in an effort to discredit Republicans and conservatives. “Republicans just don’t do this kind of thing,” said conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh on his radio show.

Personally, I suspect the real mail bomber is Alex Jones making a desperate plea for attention after being kicked off social media for advocating so many of his own conspiracy theories, including that the September 11 attacks were carried out with the knowledge and active co-operation of the George W. Bush administration and that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting never really happened but used “crisis actors” in news reports. Jones remains at large and was last seen a few days ago at a Texas rally for Ted Cruz with Donald Trump, where Jones was video-recorded by Reason associate editor Elizabeth Nolan Brown standing outside in the street screaming at a pile of literal horse shit, apparently his only remaining audience.

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