Nothing To See Here Folks … Nothing At All

His name is Michael Christopher Estes … a name few of us have ever heard, even though he planted a bomb in the Asheville, North Carolina airport just over a week ago, on October 6th.  Now why do you think you’ve never heard of Michael Christopher Estes and his attempted bombing?  Look at his picture and see if you can guess.

estesIf you guess that this event was under-reported because he is a white man, you would be right.  Had he been Muslim, of Middle-Eastern, Hispanic or African-American ethnicity, this news would have played 24/7 on all of the major media outlets.  Trump would have been screaming ‘terrorism’ at the top of his lungs, claiming it supports his call for a Muslim ban and a border wall, and the name Michael Christopher Estes would, by now, be a household word.

You can read the details of the story on NPR, for it is not my purpose to re-tell the story.

This is not the only one this year that we likely didn’t hear about:

  • In February, a Florida man named Mark Barnett allegedly created improvised explosives to plant in Target stores along the East Coast as part of a profit-driven bomb plot. Someone he allegedly attempted to recruit to his plot turned Barnett into authorities and he was charged in federal court; his federal case is ongoing.

barnett


  • In July, Luke Mullen was arrested after allegedly making bomb threats against the Colorado Springs Airport; police say he had four explosive devices and a machete inside his vehicle.

mullen


  • Also in July, a blast outside the Bixby Air Force Recruitment Office in Oklahoma caused property damage but no injuries. Benjamin Roden, a former airman, was arrested and is facing federal charges in connection with the incident.

Super Bowl 50 - Carolina Panthers v Denver Broncos


  • In August, Elijah Blankenship in Ohio was arrested and charged with creating multiple homemade explosives. His arrest came shortly before an anti-racist vigil in honor of the victims of the Charlottesville, Va., attack, but court records don’t indicate whether there was a connection to the event.

blankenship


  • In September, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced that Douglas Kennedy of Tifton, Ga., was charged with manufacturing explosive devices after a bomb went off in the parking lot of the Tift Regional Medical Center; no one was injured. Kennedy had allegedly constructed and detonated at least three other bombs, none of which hurt anybody.

kennedy


For the most part, these stories were only reported locally, did not receive national attention in the media, and received no mention from anybody in the Trump administration.  Even the conspiracy theorists Jones, Hannity, Limbaugh and their ilk were silent on this one! The case of Estes would still lie buried in the archives of the Asheville Citizen Times newspaper if it were not for civil rights activist Shaun King, writing for The Intercept.  Since King’s article was published on October 11th, the story has been picked up by the mainstream media, including the New York Times, USA Today, Salon, NPR, Fox News, CBS News and others.  Nearly a week after the fact.  Would any of these outlets have published the story were it not for Shaun King’s article? I think we know the answer.

White males committing acts that might otherwise be labeled ‘terrorism’ do not elicit the attention of Donald Trump, and these days if Donald Trump does not have something to say about an event, then it is not newsworthy.  White males committing crimes is of no interest to Trump because it does not fit his agenda.  I get that, and I have low expectations of Trump anyway. But frankly I expect better out of our press.  I expect our press to push these stories, to inform the public so that Trump’s blind-faith followers can no longer deny that most acts of terrorism in this country are actually committed by white citizens, not Muslims, not Latinos, but white, male citizens.

I have come out in defense of our free press many times in recent months, and I will continue to do so as long as I have breath, for I firmly believe that the freedom of press to investigate and report, to keep us informed, is the very core of our democracy.  I believe that if we allow government to place constraints on the media, we will too soon become much like Turkey – a democracy in name only.  However, with that freedom comes a responsibility to act as a free press, to report all the news, not just the news that has Trump in the headlines, or about which Trump is tweeting. By ignoring these stories, the press is playing directly into Trump’s hand.

Fortunately, the bomb that Estes left in the Asheville airport was found and defused by police before it could do any harm, but that and the other cases I mentioned had the potential to cause serious harm, injuries and even death.  When he was arrested the following day, Estes told police that he was “preparing to fight a war on U.S. soil” and that this bomb was but one part of that war. That, folks, should frighten us a lot more than the refugee from Syria, the laborer from Mexico. How is that not newsworthy, yet every word that spews from the mouth of Donald Trump, is ‘breaking news’?

I understand that the mainstream media are for-profit organizations, that they are in business to make money, and that as such they must use their resources to report the stories they believe the people want to see.  But to ignore these stories, to give them less attention simply because it was a white male rather than a Syrian or a Mexican who committed the crime, is wrong.  We must hold the press accountable to report all the news, not to cherry pick and report only what Trump is doing.

20 thoughts on “Nothing To See Here Folks … Nothing At All

    • Yes, liberty or freedom is always accompanied by responsibility. As they say, ‘freedom is not free’. I just hope they learned a lesson from last year that they will apply to the 2018 elections, or I swear I will crawl under my bed and never come out! :/

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Dear Jill,
    There are more of these domestic crazy lone wolves than those of a different faith or nationality. Why is it that we don’t call Timothy a Christian terrorist?. It probably is because he is not representative of most Christians. It wouldn’t be fair to paint an entire community because of a few bad apples. However, we don’t hesitate to this to those who are of the Muslim faith.
    You know if someone shoots at me and I am dead, I do not care if the shooter is a domestic or a foreign terrorist.
    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make some good points. It is NOT fair to label all white people or Christians as terrorists based on the actions of a few. BUT … that is what many are doing to Muslims, Latinos, and African-Americans. And you are so right … if someone shoots at you and kills you, it matters not what colour was his skin, his religion, or his gender … you are still dead.

      Based on strict definition, we overuse the terms ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorist’. But if we are going to call one a terrorist, then it is only right to call the rest the same. Violence is violence … it is not race-specific. The most disturbing thing, as I was researching for this post, was in the comments on Heavy.com, where more than one commenter said, “Oh well”. Oh well. How can anybody take what is happening in this country with such disregard, burying their bloomin’ heads in the sand and saying, “I just want to get on with MY life”. And yet, I know far too many with that attitude.

      Hugs, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Evil minds occur in every race and in every social scale from the poorest right up the top of society. We would do better to watch our own family members than to point the finger at someone of a different race, creed or social standing.
    Sadly, sensationalist news sells only when it causes fear, loathing, intrigue and sex. If the story doesn’t fit one of those inherently basic emotions, then it won’t sell. Nothing to see indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You want more people to know these things, send this email to Jimmy Kimmel. Honest to goodness he’s better at getting and giving the news than the newsmen. I bet Donald Trump and a good many Congressmen are among his huge audience. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s a thought! I do love what he’s been doing … he reaches many more people than we do and I applaud his courage for using his voice to stand up for what is right. Hmmmm … perhaps I will send it to him 😉

      Like

  4. This is shameful. Terrorists are terrorists.
    I gave up on one person who was Tea Party years back when they posted up a link saying that….. ‘finally someone had the stones to say…..’…. This related to the Boston bombing and it was a rant against ‘The Liberal Press’ who must have been so disappointed the perpetrators were not of the White Militia type.
    I could not get my head around the logic-
    In a quirky way although our Popular Press loves a good ‘Islamist’ scare story, it is equally gleeful to jump up and down on ‘White Yobs’ (Yob being an insult generally reserved for white lads) too. It’ll pick on anyone any time to sell papers…there’s a kind of honesty about that I suppose. Politicians of the main parties are much the same only with their own nuances. We can be quite multi-cultural in our pillorying.

    Liked by 2 people

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