Trump Too Busy Golfing To Care That Downtown Nashville Blew Up
Before dawn on Christmas Day, Nashville police responded to sounds of gunfire on Second Avenue, a charming historic district containing shops, restaurants, bars, and galleries. Instead of a shoot out, the officers found an RV broadcasting a disturbing message: A bomb was set to detonate in 15 minutes.
This seemed like something from the prologue of an action movie, but it all too real: The resulting explosion devastated several surrounding blocks — blackening roadways, scorching trees, destroying property — and left three people hospitalized.
The explosion took place around around 6:30 a.m. outside 166 Second Avenue North, normally a highly populated area where tourists are drawn to the Hard Rock Cafe, Redneck Riviera Barbecue and Honky Tonk Bus Tours. It was fortunately much quieter on Christmas morning, but there were still people for the police to disperse: Residents in nearby apartment buildings, weary guests in hotels, and sadly those with no recourse but to sleep on the cold streets.
The bomb squad couldn’t arrive in time to stop the explosion, which occurred as the RV’s recording announced. However, the officer’s quick work evacuating anyone in the vicinity likely saved lives.
You can see agents going inside this door. We’re in Antioch just off Bakertown Rd. About 500 tips came in to help i… https://t.co/bYOBFS29vq— Joshua Cole (@Joshua Cole)1609013005.0
From The New York Times:
The R.V. exploded just outside the Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant in a downtown building, like many others in the area, that was erected in the late 19th century. Windows on either end of the building were blown out, as were the large, heavy doors at the building's entrance. The explosion also triggered the sprinkler system, which flooded the restaurant for about eight hours.
"It's a mess," said Mark Rosenthal, one of the restaurant's owners. "We have about 115 people working there, but that's 115 people that now don't have jobs. So that's rough to think about.”
Authorities are unsure if anyone was inside the vehicle, but human tissue was found near the debris. A witness recalls that the RV’s message came from a “mechanical, female sounding voice.” Federal agents stated Saturday that they still don’t know who carried out the explosion, but there is a person of interest: Anthony Quinn Warner, 63, of Antioch, whose neighbors identified the RV involved as belonging to him.
Larissa Moreno, another neighbor, told WKRN that the RV had been parked by Warner's home for years.
"When I would drive by from the top of the hill, that RV would be in their backyard. It was there for a really long time, probably like for years," Moreno said.
"It was old. Didn't look used. Didn't look like it was taken out or used at all really. It just looked old," she said.
Moreno really didn’t like Warner’s RV. You get the feeling that this eyesore was the bane of her existence.
Warner was described as a loner who kept to himself, but for personal reasons, I just want to clarify that those traits alone don’t make you a psychopath. Law enforcement plans to swab Warner’s mother, who must be at least in her 80s, to confirm if the remains at the bomb site are his.
No one knows for sure what the suspect’s motivations were.The RV was parked next to an AT&T transmission building and Warner’s late father used to work for BellSouth, which merged with AT&T in 2006. The recorded message urged people to clear the area, which might suggest the suspect wanted to avoid casualties.
Before the explosion, Betsy Williams said she heard what she thought were gunshots early on Friday, then she noticed the R.V. parked across the street from her apartment
"It started playing this message," she recalled. "'Evacuate now. This vehicle has a bomb and will explode. Evacuate now.'"
America’s so-called president, Donald Trump, has remained silent at least regarding this explosion in a major American city. He’s whined about the election he still refuses to admit he lost. He even complained that fashion magazines showed no love for his trophy wife. A sedate statement was released from his spokesperson, but Trump’s Twitter feed reflects what actually matters to him.
Trump’s quick to denounce violent acts from groups he doesn't like, ranging from Iranians to Black people of all nations. Here, it's possible a white man is responsible for something other than refusing to help him steal an election. He can’t package and sell that outrage to his followers. He might as well just golf.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).