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Fireworks At The Mosque

A 63-year old Vietnam vet named Roger Dale Stockham was arrested last weekend for plotting to “blow up” the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan, described in various news reports as one of the largest mosques in North America.  The arrest was kept quiet until this weekend because police and mosque officials “shared concerns about copycat crimes if the arrest was publicized,” as the Associated Press report puts it.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Stockham was overheard in a Dearborn bar making “threatening comments about Muslims or Arabs.”  An employee tipped off the police, and shortly afterward Stockham was arrested in the parking lot of the mosque.  His car was loaded with “a large but undisclosed quantity of class-C fireworks including M-80s, which are outlawed in Michigan.”

The mayor of Detroit, Jack O’Reilly, observed that “at that level, those things misused are terrific weapons.”  Indeed, but they are hardly sufficient to “blow up” a massive structure like the Islamic Center of America.  This is not to downplay the kind of damage Stockham could have done by shooting M-80s into the large funeral ceremony being held at the mosque that night, but media headlines make it sound like he was about to wipe out the building with a truck bomb. 

It seems like a good idea to get Roger Stockham off the streets, because he’s got a long history of weird behavior.  In 1979, he apparently abducted his son from a foster home and tried to fly him to Iran by hijacking an airliner.  He was arrested by the FBI in 1985 for planting a pipe bomb at the Cannon International Airport in Reno, Nevada.  He did time in federal prison, and was released in 2005. 

Despite the general lack of details about his current activities or motives, far-left bloggers are already racing to paint him as a “teabagger” and link him to conservatives as part of the “Climate of Hate” narrative.  A leftist who blogs at “Say It Ain’t So Already” calls this “Isolated Incident #7” in recent weeks, in a list of violence that is supposedly “really” caused by right-wing rhetoric, with the Gabrielle Giffords shooting counted as Incident #1.  I guess the Obama message about “expanding our moral imaginations” instead of “pointing fingers or assigning blame” did not reach Say It Ain’t So Already.

Commenters in Huffington Post forums are saying “everyone knows he was an anti-government teabagger.”  A blogger called “Delaware Liberal” reported the Stockham incident under the headline “Nothing To See Here, Folks, Just (Another) Isolated Incident” and sneers, “I’m sure it was just a coincident [sic] that he’s angry with the government and targeted a Mosque.”

At lefty rant site Crooks & Liars, David Neiwert writes, “Now, I don’t know about you, but when an agitated man drives all the way from California to Dearborn, Michigan, with a trunk full of Class C explosives (high-end fireworks, mostly) and is arrested outside an Islamic center for making terrorist threats – well hey, I just naturally assume that this has nothing, nothing whatsoever to do with the right-wing Islamophobic hatred that’s regularly ginned up by radio and TV talkers.”

Once again, our tolerant and understanding Left rushes to pin the actions of a disturbed man on their political enemies, in a never-ending quest to stifle dissent they cannot respond to intellectually.  It’s sad and typical, but not much of a surprise.  These narratives usually end up blowing up in their faces (if you’ll pardon the pun), as Jared Loughner’s identification with far-Left 9/11 conspiracy theories ruined their efforts to pin the Tucson shooting on the “right wing.”  I wonder what else we’ll learn about Roger Stockham in the days ahead.

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Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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