Suspected mail bomber Cesar Sayoc Jr. has now been apprehended by the FBI. On October 24, handmade explosives were mailed to several prominent Americans both formerly involved with politics and with no former political affiliations. Across the nation, specifically in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Sunrise Florida, were targets chosen by the sender. Big names like Hillary and Bill Clinton, Michelle and Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Maxine Waters, CNN Headquarters and even well-known actor Robert de Niro were all targeted with these improvised explosive devices.
A politically charged attack, most recipients were of Democratic background, including two former presidents, a democratic vice president, an entire news broadcasting network with Democratic ties and one of the most influential actors of our time who has been publicly outspoken against President Donald Trump. There was also another explosive device sent back on October 21 to George Soros. According to the FBI, Soros is a New York City billionaire who is known as a liberal donor and philanthropist.
With recent events unfolding in such close proximity to the midterm elections, some Americans suspect foul play regarding political vitriol. “It makes us look weak, not being able to stand together. We have worldly issues we need resolved but we can’t even stop fighting amongst ourselves. If we don’t get it together and fix our domestic problems, something could happen out there behind our back while we’re too busy fighting each other, rendering us unprepared and defenseless,” said West Chester student John deSimone. Not only were influential people targeted, but journalism itself has been a scapegoat in recent years due to known contempt shown for CNN and other news outlets. Trump has openly called CNN “the enemy of the people” and coined the well-known term “fake news.”
Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN Worldwide, took to Twitter and had choice words for President Trump. “There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media. The president, and especially the White House Press Secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that.” Zucker states this because he knows that journalists have been deemed horrible and untrustworthy in today’s age when a journalist’s first priority is to the public of America. However, with influences such as Donald Trump in office, Americans such as the likely conservative individuals who mailed these packages feel obligated to act almost as political vigilantes and take matters into their own hands.
With midterm elections accelerating toward us, domestic divide is holding America in its clutches. President Trump has addressed the public about these bomb deliveries in a press conference. “We have to unify,” he stated. “We have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America.” However, Trump could not hold back his tendency to bash news outlets, saying, “The media has a responsibility to set a civil tone and stop this endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks.”
As voting season progresses and brings us closer to the ever-approaching election, making your voice heard is one of the most important things you can do as an American. West Chester journalism professor Ben Kuebrich had some thoughts of his own to share on the matter. “In my opinion, calls for unity distract us from talking about the roots of our society’s problems, which are many,” he said. “Donald Trump has praised a Republican candidate who body slammed a journalist, he calls the media the enemy of the people and has retweeted, and then deleted, an image of a ‘Trump Train’ hitting a CNN reporter,” Kuebrich stated. This was another action Trump publicly presented that wouldn’t surprise most Americans based on his past shenanigans.
“This is a time for critical thinking and political action, not superficialities. Yes: you should vote. But also learn, educate and organize. The world depends on it,” Kuebrich finished.
Christopher Sheehan is a fourth-year student majoring in professional studies with minors in journalism and graphic design. CS895080@wcupa.edu