A white man in Florida was found guilty of scheming to drive down the stock price of Target, one of the largest department store retailers in the country, by hiring someone to place bombs on the shelves of the stores.
According to the federal prosecutors, Mark Barnett of Ocala was convicted on charges of attempted arson and other offenses, including possession of unregistered firearms.
The 50-year-old was also a registered sex offender who reportedly wore a GPS-enabled ankle monitor and was on probation for a 1992 case involving rape, kidnapping and theft.
Although the man now faces up to 40 years in prison, according to the reports by the Department of Justice, the question is why wasn’t he called a domestic terrorist for placing explosives in Target shelves, where unsuspecting customers could have been dangerously hurt or worse?
If the convicted were a person of color or a Muslim, would they have gotten a similar sentence and treatment for the numerous offenses mentioned above?
Sadly, past records and reports suggest that wouldn’t have been the case if the person wasn’t white.
The case in question is another example of glaring hypocrisy and double standards of the system, where if a perpetrator happens to be a Muslim, they are prematurely branded as terrorists.
Racial bias is another sad reality of the United States, where African-American defendants get more time behind the bar for most trivial of felonies. But white suspects, in most cases, are given the benefit of doubt where they are often described as “troubled,” “mentally ill” or a “lone wolf.”
For instance, an African-American man in Las Vegas was charged with terrorism after pointing a fake gun at visitors and employees. But Barnett, who was found guilty of trying to blow up a public place, wasn’t even considered a terror threat. In fact, following his arrest, most publications also described him only as a “Florida man” instead of a domestic terrorist.
Barnett was arrested in February 2017 for making over 10 bombs and putting them in food-item packages, according to the complaint filed against him. In order to assist him, he reportedly hireda person – asking if they “wanted to make some easy money” – to place the explosives in Target stores up and down the East Coast, including locations in New York, Florida and Virginia.
The recruited was reportedly offered $10,000 to carry out the plan.
Apparently, the impetus behind Barnett’s bizarre plot was to make a lot of money.
The plan was that by detonating the bombs in the Target stores, there would be a substantial damage, which would then make the stock prices take a nosedive naturally. The 50-year-old then planned to buy the stocks at lower price and sell it later for a profit.
Luckily, the informant who was tasked with placing the boxes, instead of going to the stores, handed the bombs over to federal agents on Feb. 13, 2017.
The bombs that Barnett allegedly made contained a battery-powered power source and the explosive powder was reportedly a mix of “flash powder, black powder, and pyrotechnic stars.”
According to the experts at Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the bomb could have caused serious property damage and also posed a threat to peoples’ lives nearby.
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