"Explosive Found at Austin Women’s Clinic
A package left at a women's clinic that performs abortions contained an explosive device capable of inflicting serious injury or death, investigators said today.
"It was in fact an explosive device," said David Carter, assistant chief of the Austin Police Department. "It was configured in such a way to cause serious bodily injury or death."
The package was found Wednesday in a parking lot outside the Austin Women's Health Center, south of downtown Austin.
Nearby Interstate 35 was briefly closed, and a nearby apartment complex was evacuated while a bomb squad detonated the device."
WIMN's Voices (also via Zuzu):
"The national press? Aside from 97 words from the AP and a brief mention from CNN — nothing (according to a Nexis search at 5:15 pm today). In that lone CNN mention, we’re told that “Officials from the Homeland Defense Team, which includes police officers, also other Austin officers, the Department of Emergency Ordnance Disposal unit and the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives” were on the scene. Yet still, not a peep from the national press. Now, imagine if this clinic had been a bank, or a high school, or a sports arena. I bet we would have heard something about it then."
"For some reason, terrorism doesn’t count if it’s directed against women and their health care providers. It’s just not news, and the fact that it goes unremarked in the national media — and hell, even in the local media, as in the case of the Austin bomb — contributes to the idea that women are not important and that violence directed at women is not only to be expected, but to be dismissed. (...)
We saw something similar with the Virginia Tech shooting — the campus police initially dismissed the idea that the gunman would be a danger to anyone else — even though they hadn’t identified or caught him at the time — because they saw a dead woman and just assumed that it was a “domestic incident” and there would be no further violence. Clinic bombings are treated as the equivalent of shrugged-off “domestic incidents” — hey, it’s just violence against women. It’s not like it’s going to affect real people or anything.
And they never call it by its name: terrorism."
If you think about it, the whole AP article is bizarre, and not just because it's very short, or because it doesn't mention either terrorism or the fact that this sort of thing has a history (pdf; h/t Shakespeare's Sister.) Consider the headline: "Explosive Found at Austin Women’s Clinic". There is no agent in that headline: no one who planted the bomb in an attempt to kill people. The bomb was just "found". Possibly it fell from the sky, or wafted in on the morning breeze. And obviously the right thing to emphasize, under the circumstances, is the bomb's being found, not someone having planted the bomb in an attempt to terrorize women seeking abortions and the doctors, nurses, receptionists, and janitors who work at the clinic.
The article's first sentence reads: "A package left at a women's clinic that performs abortions contained an explosive device capable of inflicting serious injury or death, investigators said today." There is an agent in this sentence, which is a relief: it would be spooky if all these things kept happening with no one actually doing them. But what's left out this time is intention. The bomb was not planted at the clinic; it was left there. Leaving something somewhere is something you can do by accident -- "Oh no, I left my keys locked in the car!", or "Darn, I left my leopard skin pillbox hat on the bus!" Perhaps we are to imagine that someone, somewhere, might be saying: "Silly me; I left my bomb at the abortion clinic!"
Somehow, I doubt it.
In the second paragraph, we learn that the bomb "was configured in such a way to cause serious bodily injury or death", but, again, the grammar obscures the person who did the configuring. In the next paragraph we hear again that the bomb was "found". And those are all the points in the article, such as it is, at which the fact that a human being tried to kill or maim other people might have come up.
The article does not underplay the lethality of the bomb itself. But at every point it underplays or omits the fact that someone designed it to be lethal, and then planted it in a place where, had it not been detected, it would have killed people. It's as though the bomb just appeared all by itself by spontaneous generation, without the assistance of any actual human being who was doing his best to kill his or her fellow human beings.