[UPDATED with BET Analyst Weighs In:] Were Rossmoor Bottle Bombs a Prank or Hate Crime?
See the update at the end of this post where a BET commentator wonders about links between the Roosmoor incident, a black family leaving Yorba Linda and OC skinheads.
ORIGINAL POST, DEC. 5, 6:06 A.M.: Are the bombs of Rossmoor pranks, racist messages or prank racist messages?
Inquiring minds want to know as four acid bombs--plastic water bottles filled with household chemicals that explode--were planted Sunday near the driveway of a home in the 3000 block of Mainway Drive that is occupied by an African American woman.
Indeed, as the resident called the Orange County Sheriff's Department, which patrols Rossmoor, after discovering the bottles filled with blue liquid, one bomb went off, although it didn't do much.
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Deputies cordoned off an area near Rush Park on Sunday after discovering a fifth bottle there.
Because no hate messages were left behind, sheriff's investigators are unsure if it was a hate crime. They say it was more likely a prank by youths, who could face a felony count for each bomb left behind.
Nonetheless, the Orange County Human Relations Commission is investigating the incident.
UPDATE, DEC. 6, 3:39 P.M.: BET (Black Entertainment Television) commentator Cord Jefferson wonders about the Roosmoor incident in light of a black family recently saying it was driven out of Yorba Linda and the racist skinheads who have proudly called Orange County home for years.
Besides this case and the Yorba Linda case, Orange County and its surrounding areas are well-known as hotbeds of neo-Nazi and other white power organizing. "Skin heads and white supremacists made their way to Southern California back in the '40s and '50s," reported KPCC this August. "As areas like Los Angeles began to diversify, hate groups were pushed out to areas like the Inland Empire and Bakersfield."
He also cautions against jumping to conclusions until all the evidence is in.
It's best to not jump to conclusions--the people who planted the acid bombs could very well have been some jerk teenagers with no racial motive whatsoever. But it's important for African-Americans and others to realize that hate is a powerful force that exists everywhere, even in otherwise idyllic pockets of sunny Southern California.
Relevant background material:
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