I'm a little amazed this isn't getting more traction. When Carnahan's staff lied about a coffin being left on his front lawn, it was national news for the left wing television hosts, and a chance for Carnahan to send out a fundraising letter saying he was/wasn't/was/wasn't scared and needed money.
But now - in what Jake Wagman of the Post Dispatch is calling a firebombing of a sitting Congressman's office, we see a couple of stories, and nothing else.
Um - even if firebombing is a bit of a loaded word, an attack on a congressman's campaign office is a federal crime that should be investigated by the FBI.
When Russ had his house (I think it was his house) vandalized with spray paint, the FBI was involved. When Norm Coleman and Keith Ellison and Michelle Bachmann and Amy Klobuchar had their houses vandalized with spray paint, the FBI was involved.
But when Russ Carnahan's office is "firebombed," the suspect is picked up by the local police and released by the office of the City Counselor while they take fingerprints? Where is the FBI? Where is the CSI crime lab? Jake Wagman has been writing about the suspected attempted arson at Russ Carnahan's campaign headquarters, and alluding to a tough campaign season. Reporters decided to make this poltical and have been at Ed Martin's asking him if he denounces it. He does of course.
But the FBI knows nothing? Or do they? Do they already know this wasn't a political stunt, but instead was something a bit more related to local criminality? If that is the case, then is the Carnahan crew not talking to the press because they want this to seem like an attack on them? Are they really going to go through this again?
Who was arrested? When? And on what basis? It seems strange that a 50 year-old man was arrested Tuesday, presumably not near the scene of the crime. Clearly he was arrested yesterday afternoon, which explains why he had to be released today (24 hour hold). How did they know it was him? Did someone in Russ Carnahan's office ID the person? If the person had made specific, threatening statements that led the police to believe he was responsible for the attempted burning of a building, then the threat is indeed federal in nature, and bring in the FBI!
If Jake's reporting of a"firebombing" is accurate - if some kind of flaming projectile was launched through a window, then we have a very serious matter on our hands. Arson is a pretty specific crime. The use of fire is not normal. It's an added element that tends to come pretty heavy with motive.
- The most common motive is money. People set fire to their buildings to collect the insurance or to hide evidence of a crime.
- Other motives include rage - but those tend to be easily characterized because the rage manifests itself not just in the setting of a fire, but in setting lots of little fires, and making it a very big conflagration. So no on this one
- Then there is the fire-setter. Some people tend to like to set things on fire - but that person wouldn't break a window and throw in something. What's the fun in that? They can't even see it!
- There are a few firefighters who set fires. Recognized in psychiatry as types, they do so out of anger at a fire station or fire chief for not recognizing their awesomeness, and some just want to be seen as heroes, trying to drum up business, but again the circumstances of this alleged arson preclude this possibility.
- And then there is the homicide bit. Another dead-end, as it was an empty office.
- That leaves one specific kind of arson - that conducted by extreme environmentalists. But Russ votes the way they want him to - he wouldn't be the target.
That leaves only one real option. If this wasn't an attempt to cover up a crime or burn the building down, than this was someone sending a threatening message. A brick through the window sends a message. But a flaming projectile? That's really, really dangerous. It's not normal - even for the truly whacked out. And for a 50 year old man, almost unheard of for a first time crime. Heard of any other political firebombings in St Louis? So let's take a look at the damage.This picture was taken by someone on Russ Carnahan's staff, and provided to the newspaper.
We can't tell if the window behind the desk is the one that was broken, or if there is a second window. What we can tell is that this is one piss poor fire. It barely manages to catch paper on fire. PAPER! You see it on the desk, slightly charred, but clearly burning out by itself. If that sheaf in front there had caught on fire, you likely would have had more than minor damage. Anything with a flammable liquid would have made a much bigger impact. What exactly was thrown in? And it landed right on the desk, but didn't burn paper on the desk? It scorched the phone, but just one side? It didn't color the coffee mug in front of it. The flame wasn't high enough or hot enough to touch the walls or the ceiling, but it was powerful enough for someone to smell it outside the window and far enough away to call the fire department? It was strong enough to give off the smell of smoke, but it wasn't big enough to do any damage? It burned for at least five, but maybe 10 minutes or longer while waiting for the fire department to get there, but when they did, no water or fire extinguisher was used, as everything on the desk seems to be in place. The papers aren't even moved? What kind of fire is so big you can smell it and report it, but so small, it leaves almost no damage, even when it's put out?
The story also says the local fire department was called after the sound of glass breaking and then the smell of smoke led them to the building. Based on what images we are given, that's extremely fishy.
So we sent someone to snap a picture with a cellphone Here's the back of the building.
The window is not close to the ground.
But there is a railing just there to the right. It's hard to tell from this angle how high it is, but it does seem to be at least 5-6 feet from the ground.
From the outside shot we can see that yes, there is only one window, and it is the same one you see in the Post Dispatch shot.
This was no arson of rage. It seems to be a carefully constructed threat of some kind. Based on what was in the office - you have to figure it was only luck that didn't set the whole thing ablaze. One small bottle of white-out or an open nail polish container and the building is ablaze. A box of kleenex, and the whole office is on fire.
I mention that only somewhat tongue in cheek because this is serious, serious business. If someone tried to burn down a sitting Congressman's campaign office - that is big news.
It needs to be taken seriously.
It's 100 times bigger than a fake coffin scandal used for fundraising purposes by a press operation that continually lies to the local press about their candidate (from boats to shady real estate deals to gun skills). Whoever this guy was, you can be sure if it was a rightwinger of any kind, it would be all over the news nationally. But something is keeping the mouths shut of the Carnahan staff. And something or someone has notified the FBI they won't be needed. And the St Louis City Counselor, Jennifer Joyce (one of the Obama Truth Squad members), has let the man detained for this serious, serious crime go free for lack of evidence?
Dude - what if he's an actual arsonist, and Jennifer Joyce's office just let him free? If he's not, then there must be some reason he was detained in the first place, and that reason would seem to be something clearly not associated with the federal crime of firebombing a sitting US Congressman's campaign office. If the guy they arrested did do it, and is just waiting on the fingerprint evidence, what does he have to lose? What if this guy goes out tomorrow and sets another building on fire, figuring he has already been caught? What if someone dies this time? How exactly did this man come to be detained in the first place, and what prosecutor would dare let a man like this go free? You don't let a suspected arsonist go free - unless you know something about him that tells you he's not a threat.
And what about the campaign staff? Are they going to feel safe working in an office that was the target of an arson attack? I wouldn't be. In fact, I'd be demanding to know where the FBI was!
Look - I can't stand the idea of Russ Carnahan being a congressman, but he was voted for in a free and fair election. He needs to be humiliated at the polls and his ideology discredited. If he quits or can't get his campaign to work for him because of fear, then the very idea of our political system is a mockery. He and his staff deserve to work in an environment free of fear, knowing that no violence, or threats of violence of any kind are considered acceptable.
So someone please, please tell me why this isn't being taken more seriously? Please tell me why setting fire to a campaign office is a lesser offense than spray-painting cars and houses? Why would a national media ignore a true act of political terrorism, but report like crazy on all the fake ones?
This story stinks to high heaven. The only way we're going to get past it is if a full federal investigation is launched and whoever did it is brought to swift, public justice.
And lest you think I'm the only one - KMOV is confused as well. Local staff wouldn't talk to them. But they did take out a bunch of documents hidden in St Louis Bread Company bags to the dumpster. What is going on?
And once again - I don't want to see Carnahan trying to turn this to his advantage by blaming the Tea Party. It's clear they know something, and are covering it up. We deserve to know if a Missouri congressman was attacked, and why.