The outcome of the 2016 presidential election marked a new trend in American politics. That, in itself, is a subject constantly worthy of extensive study and discussion, but the election of President Donald J. Trump also marked another trend: one vastly more concerning than mere style and rhetoric. Physical violence has now become a feature of the ideological divide. While reasonable people hope that this development will neither endure nor escalate, the recent targeting of prominent political figures with suspected explosive devices leaves the entire nation with great cause for concern and numerous questions.
The United States Secret Service put out a press release on Wednesday, October 24, stating that a suspicious package – addressed to the private residence of former President Barack Obama – had been intercepted in Washington D.C. This comes the day after a similar package intended for the former first lady and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was intercepted before delivery to her home in Chappaqua, New York.
CLARIFICATION: At this time the Secret Service has intercepted TWO suspicious packages – one in NY and one in D.C. Reports of a third intercepted package addressed to the WH are incorrect. We refer media to our statement: https://t.co/lJdTn04KmI
— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) October 24, 2018
On the same morning, police were called to deal with a suspected pipe-bomb delivered to the mail room of the Time Warner Center, which houses CNN’s New York Bureau. The office of Florida Democrat and former DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was also evacuated after a suspicious package was reported. These incidents come on the heels of the discovery of a pipe-bomb in the mailbox of billionaire financier George Soros, who is known for his massive funding of radical left-wing groups.
The hostile nature of the current political schism will likely worsen when the true motive – whatever that may be – is revealed.
Facts and Speculation
The pipe-bomb in the mailbox of Soros’s suburban New York home was detonated by a police bomb squad. According to The New York Times, an official described the device as being a short length of pipe containing “explosive powder.” Additionally, it does appear, judging by the materials used and other similarities, that these devices were sent by the same person or group.
From a security perspective, a “suspicious package” is identified by a one or more of several characteristics: no return address or inaccurate or vague delivery address; excessive binding (adhesive tape); excessive postage; oddly shaped packages, and those that are physically unbalanced – heavier on one side than the other.
No group has claimed responsibility for the suspected explosive devices and the Secret Service has begun “a full scope criminal investigation that will leverage all available federal, state, and local resources to determine the source of the packages and identify those responsible.”
The White House strongly condemned “the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and other public figures.”
No Good Outcomes
Any theorizing about the origin of the alleged bombing campaign is going to be seen as inflammatory. This could well be the work of an as yet unknown group intent on causing disruption right before the looming midterm elections. It could also be a single, unbalanced individual who either harbors a political grudge against Democrats or who has a grudge against Republicans and is sick enough to be willing to endanger prominent Democrats to stir up anger against the president or majority party.
There is no escaping the fact that a coordinated violent attack on several prominent Democrats, CNN, and George Soros – with just about two weeks to go until the midterms – appears highly suspicious. Certainly, it seems almost too obvious that this has been put into operation by people determined to sabotage the Republican Party and/or the president. Conversely, though – as the scope of speculation widens – one could entertain the idea that this campaign was designed to appear as though a left-wing group is conducting a ‘false flag’ operation.
The nation can only hope that cool heads will prevail until state and federal law enforcement agencies identify the perpetrators. At that point, of course, the United States will enter a dangerous new phase of recrimination. As bad as it is to speculate – with no actual knowledge – on the motives of the individual or group behind these incidents, the hostile nature of the current political schism will likely worsen when the true motive – whatever that may be – is revealed.