Photo courtesy of Twitter | A man attempted to start “a war on American soil” by leaving a homemade explosive device in an airport, but his plan was foiled as it was disarmed. The attempted attack has received relatively little national media coverage, which some believe to be because the suspect is a white man.
At 12:39 a.m. on Oct. 6, security cameras at the Asheville Regional Airport captured Michael Christopher Estes walking near the entrance to the baggage claim area with a backpack and leaving without it. At 6:30 the next morning, a suspicious package was reported at the entrance to the baggage claim area. After a bomb sniffing dog was brought in, local police discovered that the bag contained an improvised explosive device in a glass jar packed with ammonium nitrate / fuel oil (AN/FO) and nails.
Estes stated to authorities that he wanted to start “a war on American soil” and this was the beginning of that war. Despite these remarks, this incident has received relatively little national media coverage. Some have criticized the media’s response as hypocritical, claiming that if the suspect was a person of color or Muslim, the event would have received more national media coverage. The attempt was brought to attention in an article on The Intercept by Shaun King on Oct. 11.
“I’m not surprised by the lack of news coverage,” junior Shazia Malik, a first generation Pakistani-American student, said. “If it was a Muslim who committed the act, then it would be receiving a lot of news coverage and would be identified as an act of terror.”
Malik explained that she believes when White people commit acts of violence such as this one, there are discrepancies as to how they are labeled. She continued on to say that they are rarely called terrorists or radicals, but rather “mentally ill” and they are in need of “mental help.”
In a document from the FBI on Oct. 8, special agent James Anderson asserted that there is probable cause that Estes is in violation of “attempted malicious use of explosive materials” and “unlawful possession of explosive materials in an airport.”
There have been no comments from the president, who has been quick to call out acts of terrorism.
After the London tube bombing in September, the president labeled the attacker as a terrorist, tweeting, “Another attack in London by a loser terrorist,” and, “These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive! (sic)”
“They’re just tying Muslims to terrorism,” Malik said. “They are becoming two words that are the same, instead of saying, ‘Whoever commits this one act should be labeled a terrorist.’”
By: Savin Mattozzi ~Copy Editor~