On Wednesday, the Austin package bomber was identified, and by his own hand, killed.
Mark Anthony Conditt, 23, of Pflugerville, Texas was responsible for a string of package bombs throughout the city of Austin, Texas, beginning on March 2. In that time, two people were killed and at least 4 others were injured.
As it is anytime someone makes the inexplicable decision to harm others, there’s a search for why, liberally peppered with theories and rushes to label – racist, terrorist, right-wing, left-wing, Muslim, Christian.
The hot takes surrounding who Conditt was and what motivated his violent actions began immediately, based on a handful of social media musings from around 6 years ago.
Show of hands of those who know that who we were at 16 isn’t necessarily the same person we are at 23 or 24 years of age?
A lot can change in 6 years of human development, especially when we’re young and impressionable, with brains that aren’t “fully cooked,” as Judge Judy often says.
So what was Mark Anthony Conditt’s motivation?
We may never know, but according to Austin police, he left a video.
Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told reporters that in the 25-minute video the man, identified as 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt of Pflugerville, Texas, did not mention anything about terrorism or hate as he described in detail the six explosive devices that killed two people and injured several others.
“Instead it is the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his personal life that led him to this point,” Manley said.
“There were indications that he stated in the video that he felt like we were getting very close to him,” Manley said, adding that police would not be releasing the video at this time.
He apparently recorded the video between 9pm and 11pm, on Tuesday night.
He did have two roommates, and they are likely being questioned extensively about Conditt.
So no talk of terroristic intent. He wasn’t screaming hate or promoting violence. He didn’t choose a political position. So who do we blame, in the aftermath?
Well, you blame Mark Anthony Conditt.
It sounds simple, but for those left behind, with so many unanswered questions, there’s this deep human need to have a living target to pin our pain on. When Conditt chose to take his own life on Wednesday, he denied us that.
Authorities believe that all the explosive devices have been accounted for. Conditt’s video gave detailed information about each one, including the one that he killed himself with.
The first package bomb exploded outside a home in East Austin on March 2, killing 39-year-old Anthony House. Two more package bombs were left on doorsteps and exploded on March 12, killing 17-year-old Draylen Mason and injuring a 75-year-old woman who remains in critical condition.
On Sunday, a fourth package bomb that police believe was triggered by a trip wire injured two men as they passed on their bicycles.
A fifth package bomb exploded at a FedEx facility outside San Antonio on Tuesday, injuring an employee. An additional device was found at the facility but did not detonate.
Chief Manley went on to say that there’s no indication, at this time, that any of the victims of the bombings were targeted. How he chose those addresses is a mystery that apparently died with him.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler applauded the community’s vigilance Wednesday and said that the bombings were a lesson that residents should get to know their neighbors.
“The legacy of this event for us should be that we walk across the street and introduce ourselves to our neighbors,” Adler told reporters. “We should know our neighbors better than we do.”
That’s a good start.