Amidst the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. and around the world, reports have emerged that Kansas City, Missouri-area man Timothy Wilson has died after FBI agents opened fire during a sting operation this past Tuesday. He was apparently plotting a car bomb attack on a local hospital that has been treating individuals affected with the Coronavirus. As the Associated Press explains, a “monthslong investigation determined that Wilson was a potentially violent extremist, motivated by religious, racial and anti-government beliefs,” suggesting that there was a racist motivation behind his plans. Sources for CNN clarify that Wilson was involved in “white supremacist activity.”
Timothy Wilson, right wing fanatic, dies in confrontation with FBI while en route to attack a hospital filled with Covid-19 patients in Belton, Missouri. Wilson was under FBI surveillance since last September. Unclear if he killed himself or shot to death https://t.co/ib3LJGwNRb
— Ali Winston (@awinston) March 25, 2020
It’s unclear what exactly transpired during what was supposed to be a routine operation that led to Wilson’s injury and death, although The New York Times says that the Belton resident was “said he felt compelled to act because of the mayor’s order and intended to use a car bomb to cause mass casualties at the hospital.”
MORE: 36-year-old Timothy Wilson had recently decided to target a hospital as news surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic picked up, sources familiar with the investigation told @ABC News. https://t.co/vI8yCya2qS
— ABC News (@ABC) March 26, 2020
Nationally, counterterrorism officials have reportedly “increased focus in recent months on racially motivated crimes and threats from white supremacists,” CNN explains, adding that “there are a number of other ongoing federal investigations related to extremists and coronavirus.” One fear is that the virus could be used as a biological weapon by the groups through means like intentional spread through vulnerable communities.
An internal FBI report explains:
‘Members of extremist groups are encouraging one another to spread the virus, if contracted, to targeted groups through bodily fluids and personal interactions.’
Planned targets in that context have apparently included Jews and law enforcement officials, and Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen has reportedly urged officials to consider terrorism charges in cases that stem from plans along those lines, noting that the usage of the Coronavirus could constitute the deployment of a biological agent.
‘Because coronavirus appears to meet the statutory definition of a ‘biological agent,’ such acts potentially could implicate the Nation’s terrorism-related statutes. Threats or attempts to use COVID-19 as a weapon against Americans will not be tolerated.’
— JJ MacNab (@jjmacnab) March 25, 2020
That’s not where concerns about racism end, however. As the outbreak has raged, President Donald Trump and others have insisted upon calling the Coronavirus the “Chinese virus” or some variant of that moniker, although most of the spread has long since ended up well outside of China, and the virus obviously has no nationality. The exact nature of Wilson’s own racism is unclear, but apart from his own case, there have already been a slew of documented incidents in which Asian Americans have been verbally and physically harassed on the basis of nothing other than the color of their skin.
Trump and his cronies have consistently been using the “Chinese virus” moniker — they’ve gone to such extremes that a joint statement from the G7 nations was recently held up because the Trump team insisted upon referring to the Coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus.” Trump has insisted that he’s just trying to be accurate, but he spent weeks referring to the Coronavirus by its actual name just like everybody else, until it became politically expedient to do otherwise.
Wow. German media reports the G7 haven’t been able to agree on a joint statement on COVID-19 because of Pompeo’s insistence that it refer to it as the “Wuhan virus.”
The other countries “reject a label that suggests the pandemic is a Chinese problem” https://t.co/8QY83DZpFP
— Vera Bergengruen (@VeraMBergen) March 25, 2020
All of that nonsense has transpired while Americans have continued to suffer. Figures emerged this week indicating that at least 3.3 million Americans had newly filed for unemployment benefits during the previous seven days, which is a record.
Image via The Informant