President Donald Trump keeps working to inflame tensions while he could be addressing the real, substantive security issues the United States faces. Authorities have revealed that they’ve thwarted a terror attack that had been planned for southern California, where 26-year-old Mark Steven Domingo had hoped to inflict “mass casualties” via a round of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. Messages Domingo left in an online chat caught the attention of the FBI, which recruited an informant from his inner circle to catch the Army veteran in the act of attempting to procure what had been marketed to him as a live bomb but was really a dud with an undercover law enforcement officer behind it. Domingo has been charged with attempting to provide military support to terrorists, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Domingo reportedly considered an array of targets before settling on a rally that was set to take place in Long Beach this past weekend in the days following his interaction with the undercover officer posing as a bomb maker. The other considered targets ranged from the local Jewish community and “police officers, churches and a military facility” to the Santa Monica Pier. He reportedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terror group and sought “retribution” for the shooting attack targeting New Zealand Muslims carried out by a white nationalist spouting popular internet rhetoric and for the “terror” the United States “gladly spreads all over the world.”
Besides his eventually sought bomb method — for which he purchased several hundred three-inch nails to use as shrapnel, making sure they were long enough to puncture vital organs — Domingo also reportedly considered a drive-by shooting attack with an AK-47-style rifle.
The incident burst into the public eye just a short while after another major violent incident rocked southern California, where in San Diego on Saturday a 19-year-old man shot up the inside of a synagogue marking the end of the Jewish holiday of Passover. One woman died in the attack and multiple other people were injured, including a young girl and the rabbi, who had sought to talk the shooter down. That attacker, John Earnest, produced a “manifesto” outlining his anti-Semitic motivations for the attack.
Both incidents unfolded around six months after a shooting attack rocked the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a gunman killed 11 people in what’s been estimated to be the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in American history.
Repeatedly, Donald Trump has fed right into the false narrative perpetrated by these attackers. He has ostracized immigrants and painted them as a threat, seeking a military confrontation with the asylum seekers the Pittsburgh shooter was so enraged the Jewish community was helping. He has also fed the narrative of the United States as opposed to Islam, rising to national prominence with proposals like a Muslim ban that he eventually got enacted targeting travel from mostly Muslim-majority countries.
The Muslim ban would not seem to have done anything at all to stop the attack that had been planned for southern California, considering there’s no apparent indication Domingo was from a Muslim-majority country and had more than a tangential, self-professed connection to the people the president loves to hate.