We've posted about the wave of hate crimes in America following the election, but one story emerging out of Philidelphia is particularly harrowing. A 60-year-old openly gay man who had a "Love Trumps Hate" sign in his window was injured by an explosive package sent to him just last week.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross issued a statement on the situation, saying that law enforcement has "no obvious indication" that this as a hate crime (unclear how they reached that conclusion) and do not believe this to be an act of terrorism. He described the bomb as a “victim activated device” which "caused injuries to the victim’s face, chest, and hands, and that it could have started a fire inside the building." A federal law enforcement source further explained the device had a power source and a loop switch and that there was the smell of sulphur after the explosion. The victim has since been named as Jim Alden -- he thought the package was his asthma medicine.
Cops are saying that the package was most likely not sent through the postal service (the barcode found on the package was out of date) and that it was likely placed at that location intentionally.
Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims issued the following statement on his Facebook page: "Our community is shaken this morning after learning that an explosive device was delivered and detonated at a residence on the 1800 block of Pine Street! The Philadelphia Police Department’s bomb squad, K9 units, and federal authorities are still investigating the scene and ensuring there is no further threat to the community. Our thoughts are with the victim, who is listed in stable condition at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. My office has been in contact with the appropriate authorities and we will continue to diligently monitor the situation."
Police do not currently think other similar threats to the surrounding community exist. It has not been reported if there are any suspects currently being investigated.
The incident has many wondering (despite the police's reticence to categorize this as a hate crime) if this could be the new normal for gay and queer people accross the country.
[Photo: Getty Images]