On Friday, the Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested a homegrown American rightwing terrorist named Paul Ross Evans who had attempted to bomb an abortion clinic in Austin earlier in the week week:
A 27-year-old Austin man was … charged with placing an unexploded [sic] bomb containing some 2,000 nails outside an abortion clinic in the state’s capital.
The explosive device also included a propane tank and a mechanism “akin to a rocket,” Austin Police Commander David Carter said.
The device was discovered on Wednesday in the parking lot of the Austin Women’s Health Center, police said.
It is surprising that Evans was arrested by the terrorism task force — which is comprised of federal, state and local law enforcement authorities — and not the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS). And even though Evans was arrested by a terrorism task force, none of the charges against him are terrorism-related:
Evans was charged with violating federal laws banning the manufacture of explosives and interfering with access to an abortion clinic. He appeared before a federal magistrate, and was being held without bail.
No further arrests were anticipated in the case. “The threat is over,” Carter said.
It is exceedingly strange that in the Republican mindset that dominates our culture abortion clinic bombers do not fall under the purview of DHS and yet child predators and pornograhpers do. (I first learned that DHS tracked pedophiles when the department was instrumental in arresting John Mark Karr, the man who falsely claimed to have killed JonBenet Ramsey.)
Certainly, the government has a responsibility to investigate and arrest anyone involved in child predation and porn, but it’s hard to make the case that this problem, serious as it is, is a threat to homeland security. It seems that these sorts of crimes ought to be handled by the FBI.
Conversely, people who bomb abortion clinics are, by definition and intent, terrorists who threaten America homeland security. Who would be better at investigating them than DHS?
A cynic might wonder if the reason DHS leaves domestic terrorists to task forces like the one in Texas is political, since clinic bombers are tacitly supported by the GOP’s Christian nationalist allies.