There has been a news story out of Austin, Texas that has received remarkably little mainstream news coverage. Parcel bombs have exploded at various residences killing two people.
Sean Philips had just woken up and was sitting on his couch when he heard the blast that would take his neighbor’s life.
The explosion, police now say, came from a package that Anthony Stephan House encountered on his front porch in north Austin on the morning of March 2.
Police say it was the first of three mysterious package bombings in 10 days in Texas’ capital — explosions that have killed two people, including House, injured two others and left city residents on edge and highly suspicious of packages delivered to their homes.
This package, and two more that exploded at other Austin residences 10 days later, were placed in front of houses, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said. All were average-sized delivery boxes, and they weren’t delivered by the US Postal Service or delivery services such as UPS or FedEx, police said.
The targets of the bombings were all people of color and two of the victims knew each other, having been activists in the local black community.
Draylen Mason, 17, was killed and his mother wounded when a package bomb was opened Monday in their kitchen. The teen’s grandfather is Norman Mason, a prominent dentist in east Austin. He was friends with Freddie Dixon, stepfather of 39-year-old Anthony House, who died in a similar attack in another part of the city on March 2, said Nelson Linder, president of the Austin chapter of the NAACP.
“I don’t believe in coincidences,” Linder said, explaining that he was concerned by the fact that the families were acquainted.
Still unknown is what connection — if any — the two families had to a third household where another package bomb exploded Monday, wounding a 75-year-old Hispanic woman who remains hospitalized in critical condition but has not yet been identified.
Shaun King looks closely at the story and why Donald Trump hasn’t said a word about it.
A report from ABC News outlined the level of sophistication of the explosives: The bombs had been designed by a “highly skilled” bomb maker – or makers —who used pieces of metal to generate shrapnel and set triggers that detonated the bombs with motion.
Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s a huge deal. Strangely, though, Donald Trump, the president of the United States, who campaigned on being tough on crime and terrorism, hasn’t said a word. He hasn’t tweeted concerns or condolences. Instead, he’s tweeting pictures of himself surveying border wall prototypes. Hours after the bombs were detonated in Austin on Monday, Trump was terminating his secretary of state on Twitter.
After the more recent spate of bombings, police finally admit that their evidence shows that House’s killing appears to have been carried out by the same person or group.
Here’s what I know and what makes living in this country so damn exhausting: If the victims were white and the suspects were known to be Muslims, the president of the United States would care. In these cases, however, with no profile of the attacker available and a trail of black and brown victims, it seems like this square peg doesn’t fit into the round hole of Trump’s agenda.
Hand delivering bombs to residents is a pretty audacious crime, given the ubiquity of cameras outside homes to detect intruders.