An East Texas man who federal prosecutors allege left explosive devices including pipe bombs in multiple area mail boxes, was motivated in part by anger at the government, Brit Featherston, first assistant U. S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas tells TPMmuckraker in a phone interview.And we should all be thankful that none of these devices detonated and injured or even killed anyone...and that includes the suspect himself. But three dozen pipe bombs? That's insane. That's repeated acts of terrorism right there. When I say America has a domestic terrorism problem that is far worse than anything coming at us overseas, this is what I mean.
"It does appear that there were two motives: one, that he was disenchanted with the federal government, and, two, he was disenchanted with an individual who he perceived that had wronged him," says Featherston of 52-year-old Larry North, who was arrested today.
North was indicted Wednesday on a charge of illegally possessing a pipe bomb. (Read the indictment here.) Authorities had identified North as a person of interest in connection with a string of incidents in which explosive devices were placed in mailboxes in East Texas.
They say that he was witnessed putting a pipe bomb in a collection box in Tyler Wednesday. Prosecutors say North distributed 36 devices in 23 locations, but he has not been charged beyond the possession count.
No injuries have been reported from the string of incidents. Prosecutors released this timeline of the alleged incidents.
But here is the real kicker.
Video of North's arrest by the Tyler Morning Telegraph show police easing a wheelchair-bound man into a van.Now, I don't know Larry North's story. I hope that I learn it, because if I could, I'd like to ask him some questions, mainly if a man who despised the federal government enough to put three dozen potentially dangerous explosive devices in mailboxes recieved any government assistance for whatever medical condition that was responsible for Larry North being in that wheelchair in the first place. I'm making some assumptions here, but that's why I would like answers to these questions in order to clarify.
Did he receive any Social Security disability benefits from the government he hated so much? How about Medicaid? How about anything provided him at his workplace, should he have instead been employed, as a result of the Americans With Disabilities Act? Did his home have a wheelchair ramp? Did he have a van with a lift? What about the wheelchair itself?
Did Larry North, if he allegedly hated the government so much that he was motivated to physically harm government employees like mail carriers and emergency first responders, in fact receive a dime of federal government money for his physical condition through taxpayer-funded programs?
Because if he did, I'm thinking he needs to pay that back if he's found guilty of this. If he's really, really honestly guilty of this, and did it in part because he hated the federal government, and he got taxpayer dollars to assist him because of his medical condition, there's a real issue here.
"Get your government hands out of my Medicare" is no longer a facepalm-inducing statement. It's become, possibly in this case here, an episode of such staggering self-denial that it needs to be addressed. As I said earlier, I'm a big believer in government providing assistance to those who are truly in need. But there are those out there who want to deny that assistance to anyone...except themselves.
I hope I'm wrong about Larry North. Again, this is all very preliminary. We do not have the full story. But that's the first question I'm asking: why is a wheelchair-bound man raging against the government in such a sustained pattern of inchoate rage? Did the government perhaps deny him the resources he so badly needed? Did he refuse to accept any assistance at all? Or did he take government money and then try to injure government workers?
There's a pretty deep story here, and I'd like to know more.