In December, Trump supporter William Celli was arrested in Richmond, California, for plotting to bomb a mosque and murder the innocent worshipers. The police arrested him after he yelled “I’m going to kill you all” at the Islamic Society of West Contra Costa County. A bomb team had to be brought in to detonate a mysterious explosive found at his house.
In other circumstances – like if Mr. Celli was of a different race, or perhaps religion – it’s hard to see this not being treated as terrorism, with a trip to a federal interrogation room involved. But Mr. Celli took a plea deal – for violating the free exercise of civil rights – and received a paltry 90 days in prison. The charges of making criminal threats and a hate crime were dropped.
Since Donald Trump began playing the ethnonationalist card and openly consorting with white supremacist groups, Islamophobic attacks against Muslims, or anyone of a questionable ethnicity that happens to be unlucky enough to befall an ignorant Trump supporter, have skyrocketed. The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office could have sent a message that would have resonated around the nation, warning others that domestic terrorism against Muslim-Americans will not be tolerated; that every citizen, regardless of race or religion, deserves the equal protection of the law – and will receive equal punishment for their transgressions.
But no; a domestic terrorist receives a slap on the wrist for threatening to bomb a holy site because, let’s face it, he’s an old and crazy white man.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.