Tragic Week Begins Not With a Bang, But With a Van

Tragic Week Begins Not With a Bang, But With a Van

On Monday, October 22nd, several suspicious packages were discovered through the postal network. Fourteen improvised explosives were sent to various political figures including but not limited to: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and George Soros.


The man who sent these bombs was Cesar Sayoc, a 56 year old loner from Aventura, Florida. According to his immediate family, Sayoc is believed to have had mental health problems, with his family requesting that he seek professional help. He refused any attempt to correct his behavior, reportedly saying things like, “I hate you, you think I’m abnormal.”


Sayoc didn’t have much interest in politics before this past election but was seemingly inspired by the rhetoric of the current president. When interviewed, Sayoc’s aunt Sharp-Russell mentioned that she doesn’t “remember him ever having a friend,” lending credence to the theory that he found a certain camaraderie in supporting the president. Those who knew him even purported that he “looked up to Trump like a father figure.”


While he worked as a pizza delivery driver, and inside a strip club, Sayoc would claim he was an aspiring veterinarian, professional soccer player in Italy, and a financial wizard, able to raise struggling businesses from near collapse. He seemingly had a history of pathological lying, and would promote his “business ventures” through social media like Facebook.


The attempted terrorist’s van was full of anti-democrat and pro-Trump stickers.These stickers include things like “Native Americans for Trump” and “CNN Sucks”, while also including more threatening imagery, such as Hillary Clinton superimposed on a target. While some on the right presented the idea that the van was a plant, thrown together to disparage Trump supporters, images of the van in its current form have been circulating the internet for several years.


Monday’s shocking events were only briefly discussed before the rest of the week took hold, but Sophomore Ibrahim Thangalvadi was available to share his thoughts on the matter: “I think it was motivated by Donald because of everything he says to his supporters about these people”


Senior Grant Weedon held a similar opinion, explaining that “he probably wouldn’t have done these things if Trump didn’t encourage him”


Sayoc’s attempted terrorist plot was only the beginning of the week’s negative coverage, as only days later headlines were filled with news of anti-semitic shootings, school shooters, and hateful rhetoric.


Though his actions were quickly overlooked in favor of more thrilling or melancholic stories, his attempts on the lives of several prominent political figures—in any other time—would be the biggest news for several cycles. For a failed bombing to be thrust by the wayside so quickly, so thoughtlessly, only the desensitization of public perception can be culpable.