NationalStacy M. Brown

Pipe Bombs, Shootings Set Ugly Tone for Midterm Elections

The terrorist pipe bombs sent by Trump supporter and suspected domestic terrorist Cesar Sayoc to major Democratic players has set an ugly tone for the upcoming and all-important Nov. 6 midterm elections.

“It’s not a good look at all,” said Jeremiah Favors, who works near Capitol Hill. “It’s like Republican supporters are resorting back to the tactics of the 1960s when they would bomb black churches and other places to keep black people from voting.”

On Friday, Oct. 26, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker was identified as still another Sayoc target as police intercepted a pipe bomb addressed to the Democrat.

Later, after Sayoc’s arrest, California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris was also identified as another target of the heinous streak of pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats and those publicly opposed to President Donald Trump and the policies of his administration.

Another packaged discovered and intercepted by authorities was intended for former National Intelligence Director James Clapper.

A spokesman for Booker, a potential 2020 presidential candidate, declined to comment and referred questions to law enforcement.

“This is definitely domestic terrorism, no doubt about it in my mind,” Clapper said.

Clapper said anyone who has criticized Trump should take extra precautions when handling their mail, adding: “This is not going to silence the administration’s critics.”

Other acts of domestic terrorism took place last week in Pittsburgh and Kentucky.

Long-haul trucker Robert Bowers appeared in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh on Monday, Oct. 29, just two days after he launched what’s now considered the deadliest attack against the Jewish community in U.S. history.

Armed with a semiautomatic rifle and three Glock .357 handguns, Bowers burst into the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue killing 11 people while shouting anti-Semitic epithets. He’s charged with 29 criminal counts, including 11 counts of using a firearm to kill.

Gregory Bush, a white male from Louisiana, walked into a Kroger supermarket on Wednesday, Oct. 24, and randomly shot and killed two black individuals, 69-year-old Maurice Stallard, and 67-year-old Vickie Lee Jones.

Authorities said Bush had previously tried to enter a predominately black church, but the doors were locked, so he left and proceeded to the Kroger supermarket where he opened fire.

Meanwhile, Trump has offered only a tepid response to the incidents and has publicly lambasted the media as the “enemy of the people,” which has only fueled anxiety and, some said, heightened the likelihood of other attacks.

The mail bombings already rocked Capitol Hill, New York, Florida, and the nation as a package intended for outspoken Trump critic and California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters was also intercepted.

Two packages sent to CNN were intercepted in Atlanta. CNN is often a target of Trump’s criticism.

Threats against the media are also affecting the D.C. headquarters of the National Newspaper Publishers Association — the Black Press of America — which has also been targeted, according to its national president, Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.

“Please be advised that NNPA’s national office has also recently received rightwing threats in the wake of our presenting the 2018 NNPA National Leadership Award to Congresswoman Maxine Waters last month in Washington, D.C.,” Chavis said.

“I issued a new policy directive and procedures to ensure the safety of NNPA employees and the office with respect to the receipt and inspection of packages delivered to the NNPA via Federal Express, UPS, the U.S. Postal Services, and from other courier delivery services,” he said.

Other targets included President Bill Clinton and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Former President Barack Obama, former attorney general Eric Holder, former Obama administration member John Brennan, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, billionaire investor and major Democratic donor George Soros and actor and Trump critic Robert De Niro.

Trump has done little to defuse the situation. He’s still calling out “Fake News” on Twitter and other platforms.

Others, like House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, chose to heap praise on first responders.

“Once again, we are reminded of the heroism of America’s first responders as they work to counter these attempted attacks,” Pelosi said. “The goal of terrorists is to instill fear. We will not allow them to diminish our commitment to building a brighter future for communities across America.”

NNPA Foundation board member and Westside Gazette Publisher Bobby R. Henry said he’s ready to continue fighting for freedom, justice and equality and the bombings shouldn’t deter those determined to cast their vote on Nov. 6.

“This type of action perpetrated against black folk was carried out to the fullest and is not new. Now, it’s being used as a scare tactic and what this is doing, however, is motivating them who have become complacent,” Henry said. “Those of us who are deeply rooted shall not be moved.”

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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