Michael Christopher Estes had been criminally charged after it is alleged he brought an explosive device to Ashville NC regional airport. The device was set to detonate 6:00 PM Friday. Estes was seen on video surveillance cameras 12:30 AM Friday, first carrying a bag, then going out of sight of the video camera, and reappearing without the bag. A bomb sniffing K-9 alerted on the device, and an on-site test by a TSA agent confirmed that the device contained the explosive compound Ammonium nitrate. Estes waived his right to remain silent and indicated that he purchased the components of the device at a Walmart and Lowes, planted the device at the airport, and his intentions were to “fight a war on US soil”.
One initial concern is the degree of detail with which the device was described. USA Today network affiliate Ashville NC Citizen Times described the explosive components, triggering mechanism, and hardware, and how they were assembled. There are apparently disturbed individuals out there who are better off without that knowledge. Granted, the methods and components to make an explosive device are readily available on line, but is it wise to make it so readily available?
Planting an IED (Improved explosive Device) in a heavily travelled public area demonstrates intent to commit mass murder. Mass murder is a different type of crime than serial murder. Mass murderers (Mm) seek to kill as many victims as possible, in geographical and temporal proximity, rather than killing sequentially with a period of time between kills to act out a deviant fantasy. Mass murders will use firearms, a speeding vehicle, or an IED to maximize casualties. Mm”s typically are responding to some real or imagined slight, or series thereof. They tend to be individuals who aspire to very lofty goals which they will never be able to reach. They blame others for their shortcomings and creating obstacles to their goal. Resentment forms and builds to a point where they begin planning vengeance, and then carry it out. Another type of Mm is the terrorist. While some of their motives may overlap with the Mm. terrorists are politically or ideologically motivated to kill in order to sow fear in fulfilment of their agendas.
This is a developing story. We don’t know yet if Estes was radicalized. Este’s motives are self-described but still rather vague at this point. It is disturbing that an American would do such a thing. Our nation has already been facing external threats from radical Islamic terrorist groups such as ISIS. ISIS has recruited westerners, including Americans to do their evil.