by Conor Friedersdorf
The Detroit Free Press confirms yesterday's suspicion:
High-end fireworks might have injured some people or damaged some property, but it's highly unlikely they could have destroyed an entire mosque. That's what firearms experts concluded Monday following the arrest of Roger Stockham, 63, who on Jan. 24 was picked up by police outside the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn and charged with plotting to blow up the building. Police said when they found him, he was wearing a black ski mask and had spray paint and more than two dozen high-end fireworks on him, including M-80s.
"I wouldn't expect that they'd be able to level a building," said Donald Dawkins, spokesman for the Detroit office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Fire experts noted, though, that M-80s are very dangerous."We've had people blow their fingers off," Detroit senior fire prevention inspector Capt. Steven Hurst said.
What boggles the mind is how the very disturbed suspect is possibly walking around as a free man to begin with:
According to the Reno Gazette Journal, in 1985, Stockham was arrested after he threw a pipebomb in a trash can at Reno's Cannon International Airport. During the federal court trial, Stockham said he regularly communicates with extraterrestrials, and psychiatrists testified that he believed he was Christ.
In 1981, he escaped from a mental hospital, and turned himself in four months later.
In 1983, he was released from a state mental hospital after a prosecutor said he hadn’t done anything “crazy” in awhile, the paper's archives show. A few years before that, he kidnapped his son from a foster home in Santa Barbara, flew a plane towards LAX with a gun and bombs and demanded he be supplied with a plane to fly to Iran.
In 1977, he took his psychiatrist hostage in Century City, CA, again with bombs and guns, but surrendered after a standoff with police. Over the years, he also threatened to kill Presidents Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush.
As Bob Dylan might put it, how many terrorist acts must a man commit before they issue him a life sentence?