Mark Conditt, the 22-year old who set off the bombs in and around Austin, Texas and blew himself up when he was about to be captured, seems to have been one of your typical right-wingers.
Six years ago he claimed not to possess intense political opinions. “I enjoy cycling, parkour, tennis, reading, and listening to music. I am not that politically inclined. I view myself as a conservative, but I don’t think I have enough information to defend my stance as well as it should be defended,” he wrote on a blog.
“The reasons I am taking [a politics class at Austin community college] is because I want to understand the US government, and I hope that it will help me clarify my stance, and then defend it.”
He did, though, express strong anti-abortion and anti-homosexuality views: “Homosexuality is not natural. Just look at the male and female bodies. They are obviously designed to couple,” he wrote.
“In addition, political protection of a sexual practice is ludicrous. I do not believe it is proper to pass laws stating that homosexuals have ‘rights.’”
He expressed firm views on law and order in a blog post in 2012, saying he supported the death penalty because “living criminals harm and murder, again – executed ones do not”.
“When I met Mark, he was really rough around the edges,” a friend who knew him well several years ago, Jeremiah Jensen, told the Austin American-Statesman. “He was a very assertive person and would … end up being kind of dominant and intimidating in conversation. A lot of people didn’t understand him and where he was coming from.”
Jensen told the newspaper Conditt – like other family members – was religious. “I know faith was a serious thing for him,” he said. “I don’t know if he held onto his faith or not. The kind of anger that he expressed and the kind of hate that he succumbed to – that’s not what he believed in in high school. I don’t know what happened along the way. This wasn’t him.”
Since he was a white Christian, the authorities have not called him a terrorist even though the random nature of his targeting seemed designed to cause fear in the population at large.