• John C. Richards, Jr.

Bombs in Colorado: Reminders of the Past

Updated: Apr 30


A bomb went off today in Colorado Springs. No, really, a real live incendiary device was detonated just outside of a local NAACP chapter. Think about that. Colorado Springs. The new Wheaton. The new Grand Rapids. The new Nashville. The home of the Air Force Academy and Christian publisher, David C. Cook. Colorado Springs is the anti-Denver. It's Christian. It's conservative. It's safe. One would think that a local NAACP chapter in Colorado Springs wouldn't run into problems like this.


What We Know


We don't know too many details, but we do know things could have been worse. We do know there was a can of gasoline placed next to the bomb that didn't ignite when the bomb went off (thank God!). We do know that the person of interest is allegedly a 40-something white male riding around in a dirty white pickup truck. Hold up, are we sure this is Colorado Springs and not Selma—or Birmingham? The narrative is chilling. We do know that African Americans comprise only 6% of Colorado Springs residents. The occupants of the building were a gasoline can away from potentially losing their lives. They were black. Their lives mattered. An attempt to take their lives mattered.


I know things are a bit touchy right now. I know the nation is still "recovering" from the racial tension 2014 produced. Once again, though, social media sources are "first on the scene." The major networks are overwhelmingly silent.


But ABC will still run black-ish tonight, their attempt to say, Hey guys, we care! Great. Thanks for that ABC.


Old Wounds Resurfacing


I'm all kinds of confused right now. Extensive coverage on racial tension in Ferguson and Brooklyn, but a bombing in Colorado Springs gets a pass? Oh yeah, it's only the NAACP. An entity. There's no human face there. There's no story to tell.


Oh, but there is. Maybe major media outlets don't understand the angst caused by this "isolated" incident. For decades, African Americans were targeted by similarly profiled "persons of interest". White male. Mid 40's. Dirty pickup truck. Molotov cocktails. Bombs. Homes set on fire. Bodies hanging from trees in our own yards. These stories mattered and fueled the Civil Rights movement—and much of the legislation since the Civil Rights Acts of 1964. In fact, 45 states in this country have hate crime laws that criminalize bias-motivated violence or intimidation. So these stories matter today. They matter to the legislative bodies that enact these laws. They matter to the federal government, which requires its Department of Justice to keep track of hate crime statistics. Again, I admit we don't have all the details here. But at least let the folks whose lives were spared today know that their lives are important too.


What's It Take?


So what's it take to have a real conversation about race in America? Do people have to die in one of these attacks for everyone to get on board? And by everyone, I mean everyone. Churches. Media. Neighbors. Government. Or are we living a lie? Or am I in a dream world, hoping against hope that we can heal existing wounds from our country's checkered past? Honestly, I don't have the answer. And maybe this post is just a rant. I'm just grateful that no lives were lost today. And I'm grateful you read this and let me process this incident.

 

Questions: What can we do? How can we ease the racial tension in America?


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