You haven’t really heard much about the 28-year-old man who allegedly threw two Molotov cocktails though the window of Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s (D-MO) office on September 11th. Both devices were constructed improperly and failed to ignite after they were thrown, but this intimidating episode did briefly make national headlines.
Even before the suspect was publicly identified, the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus issued a statement condemning the action but dismissing it as isolated and inconsequential.
“Today, our thoughts should not dwell on a small incident that hurt no one and caused very minor property damage,” Cleaver’s statement read.
“The Congressional Black Caucus strongly condemns this type of vandalism targeted at Congressman Cleaver, and denounces any act of violence towards members of Congress,” read a statement released by the CBC’s current chair, Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH). “This type of abhorrent behavior is the most ineffective means of voicing discontent or disagreement.”
Condemnation, sure, but tepid condemnation. With this perfunctory denunciation, the event soon faded into memory.
You already know that if this man had even glanced at a pro-tea party website in the last four years, you would have heard a lot more about this incident and its far-reaching implications. Now, following the arrest of the alleged suspect, 28-year-old Eric King, you know why this episode has not sparked calls for a national conversation about race and progress in America.
King was arrested on Tuesday as he was leaving his apartment. According to the affidavit he was carrying a backpack that contained red spray paint, charcoal lighter fluid and a clear plastic bottle with a tube sock placed over it. Acting on a search warrant, agents found a hand-written letter entitled “Operation House Committee” in his apartment. The letter detailed supplies and steps that aligned with what King is accused of doing.
It also specifically read: “The Missouri congress has been a willing partner in the US governments (sic) capitalist war hungry agenda.” It also listed other potential targets that included the Federal Reserve, banks and pay day loan shops.
Well, the phrase “capitalist war hungry agenda” sure doesn’t evoke images of pensioners in tricorner hats with teabags dangling from the brims.
If there was any doubt in your mind about King’s affiliation, spoke with a local urban radio station in May where he described how he became an anti-capitalist activist. This segment focused on his aversion to genetically modified foods:
Eric King is 28 years old and a college graduate. He became an activist after visiting Cairo, Egypt and witnessing some of the worst global poverty first hand. This trip helped him to understand how global socio-economic policy created poverty and human degradation. Eric has previously participated in three rallies against Monsanto. Says Eric, Monsanto is far too dangerous to sit on our hands. Opines Eric further, Monsanto’s influence over our government, including the executive branch, is out of control; their products are frightening, and they have a legal stronghold over farmers here in the US and around the globe.
Why does this matter? It doesn’t. This man was clearly unstable, and he determined to commit violent crimes in order to satisfy his delirium. He needs help and, presuming he is found guilty after a speedy trial, he will likely receive it while incarcerated.
It is, however, intellectually dishonest to believe that the national press would merely shrug off this incident if it were a disgruntled tea party activist who was behind it. One would expect left-leaning outlets to elevate this story into a national sensation.
The Huffington Post, for example, crated a “Tea Party Violence” tag to link all the posts they expected would be categorized as such in 2011. They came up with a grand total of three posts, only one of which contained any accounts of violence – and it was an unrelated scuffle between two participants in the same tea party rally in Florida.
Compare this, as many have done, with the epidemic of violence which followed the outbreak of the Occupy Wall Street movement; nearly 7,000 arrested across the country; tens of millions of dollars in property damage, rampant sexual violence, theft and indecent exposure – all of which became a virtual way of life for the thousands who participated in those protests.
Where’s the “Occupy Violence” tag, Huffington Post? Only the Oakland branch of the protests merited such a tag, a group which organized the seizure of an entire shipyard. But so, too, did the police who responded to that anarchism.
It is an embarrassing state of affairs, one which likely contributes to the bottoming out of trust in American media. Episodes which fail to reinforce a preferred narrative are simply ignored by both legacy and new media outlets until a narrative can be erected around it. You must not only be informed, but told how to think. It is an absolute disgrace.