As you probably heard, over the weekend the cops nabbed a man named Ryan Faircloth, who busted a window with a rock and threw a (fortunately defective) IED into a county Democratic Party building in Austin, Texas. Faircloth is being held on a $40K bond for arson and vandalism charges by the state, but it looks like the feds have also lodged a felony charge. That may be why Faircloth is still in jail instead of bonded out via wingnut GoFundMe.
I hope the federal charges are robust because Faircloth is not a damned firebug; he’s a domestic terrorist. His Facebook page, which was still live as recently as yesterday, was a stream of anti-mask and anti-vax bullshit and anti-Democratic Party invective, plus lots of pictures of a beautiful dog who I hope is now being cared for by a better person.
Faircloth is dumber than dirt, so he was easily caught. He drove his pickup past cameras when committing the crime and shared incriminating information via text with someone who immediately turned him in. The latter is a mistake a lot of the people who got busted for rioting in the Capitol Building made.
Speaking of insurrectionists, Proud Boys associate and accused rioter Paul Rae of the Tampa Bay area was busted Saturday for boating under the influence after he ran a vessel aground and was released on his own recognizance yesterday. Rae was busted in March for taking part in the Capitol riot. In a pretrial hearing, he was released with restrictions that included wearing a monitoring device to ensure he remained home except for “necessary travel.”
The court probably didn’t include drunk boating as “necessary travel,” so I’m not sure why Rae was released after this latest incident. Maybe the feds and state don’t coordinate? Wouldn’t the presence of a monitoring device on Rae’s ankle give the local authorities pause prior to releasing him on his own recognizance? Apparently not. Let’s hope the feds revoke his pretrial release agreement.
In the Austin case, a fire official’s remarks on the crime at a press conference came under criticism when he described the motives of the suspect, i.e., “he wasn’t happy with the political situation.” Some folks said the official came off as sympathetic to the suspect, a fellow white man. I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s true that officials didn’t allude to the 9/11 hijackers as being unhappy about the political situation in explaining the rationale behind their crimes. They called them monsters who were trying to destroy America.
We have a growing domestic terrorism problem, but so far, it doesn’t look like the government is responding with anything like the energy and focus it invested in rooting out foreign terrorism after 9/11. Some of that is good, of course. The U.S. badly overreacted to 9/11 in innumerable ways. But underreacting is dangerous too. I hope we can find a Goldilocks response, because treating dolts like Faircloth and Rae like ordinary criminals is tantamount to coddling them. And that won’t end well.