Austin Bomber Left 25-Minute Video Confession, Motive Still Unknown, Debate Rages Over “Terrorist” Label

The Austin Statesman reports:

Austin bombing suspect Mark Anthony Conditt left behind a 25-minute video confession recorded on his phone, which authorities found with him after he killed himself with an explosive device early Wednesday, interim Police Chief Brian Manley said in a news conference Wednesday evening.

Manley said the recording – which officials believe was made between 9 and 11 p.m. Tuesday night as authorities closed in on Conditt – describes in detail the differences between each of the seven explosive devices authorities say Conditt built, including one that authorities found intact at a Southeast Austin FedEx facility Tuesday and the final one that took his life early Wednesday.

Manley said there appeared to be no specific reasons why Conditt targeted the people who were killed or injured in the attacks. The recording, which officials won’t release while the investigation is underway, does not clearly illustrate a motive for the bombings or explain how he chose his victims.

The Washington Post reports:

For weeks, the 23-year-old suspected bomber terrorized the city of Austin with a string of explosions that killed two and injured several others. But should the bomber, identified by authorities as Mark Anthony Conditt, be called a terrorist?

“Having listened to that recording, he does not at all mention anything about terrorism, nor does he mention anything about hate,” Austin police chief Brian Manley said in a news conference Wednesday. “But instead, it is the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his personal life that led him to this point.”

This hesitancy to describe the suspect as a terrorist angered many on social media who felt it presented a double standard. Would Conditt be characterized in the same way if he had been a person of color, such as a black or Muslim man?

“Murdering multiple people and being called ‘challenged’ is the height of white privilege,” tweeted comedian, actor and writer Kumail Najiani, who is of Pakistani heritage. “If this terrorist bomber was a brown guy, my mom wouldn’t be able to leave her house for a week.”