Right-Wing MLK Parade Bomber Gets Sentenced For Terrorism That No One Wants to Call Terrorism
[Trigger warning for terrorism, violence, racism.]
In January of this year, I wrote about an incident of Totally Not Terrorism that our Liberal Media failed to widely report with the breathless intensity reserved for brown-skinned terrorists who target white men: An undetonated backpack bomb, in which the packed shrapnel was coated with an anticoagulant to prevent blood clotting, was found along the parade route of a Martin Luther King Day event in Spokane, Washington. Fortunately, the device was discovered before its engineer could remotely trigger it, and no one was injured.
By March, what was obvious was confirmed: The suspect, Kevin Harpham, is a white supremacist, and for years had been on the radar of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, despite his not even being a significant player in organized white supremacy.
Harpham is a terrorist.
The good news is that he was found, charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to commit a federal hate crime, pleaded guilty in September, and has now been sentenced to 32 years.
The bad news is that this is still barely a blip on the radar, and the linked story at CNN does not even use the word "terrorism," despite quoting a Justice Department statement reading: "Harpham admitted that he is a white supremacist and white separatist, and that he placed the explosive device at the march with the intent to cause bodily injury to the person or persons in order to further his racist beliefs."
Meanwhile, Harpham, from whose home FBI agents excavated "racist books and magazines, and information about domestic terrorism ... an AK-47 assault rifle, a handgun, and a digital clock that had been modified as a timing device," was described by his federally-appointed defense attorney Kailey Moran as someone who "cared for others" and was viewed by his friends and family as "a kind-hearted and gentle soul who would go to any length to help someone in need."
Moran's just doing her job (hoo boy, I would not want that job, and I am grateful to the people who are willing to do it); the media, however, is under no obligation to report the irrelevant sentimental bullshit that a federal defender presents to the court on a confessed terrorist's behalf.
Is it newsworthy that Harpham's family thinks he's a swell fella? Nope. And I daresay I don't remember reading what Zacarias Moussaoui's BFFs thought of him during his trial. "He was always there to help us move to a new underground hideout!" Great. Who cares.
But suddenly when it's a white man (who served his country!) who conspires to murder people of color, it is of the utmost importance to report that the people who loved a dude who made no secret of his violent racism thought he was a nice guy.
Yeah, he's a real goddamn charmer. Rot, fucko.
[H/T to Pam.]