Three package bombs have gone off in the past two weeks. The local leader of the NAACP told NBC News that the targets seem to be prominent black families. New York Magazine (@NYMAG) reports, the families of Stephen House, who was killed on March 2, and Draylen Mason, who was killed on Monday, have known each other for a long time and even attended the same church, according to NAACP president Nelson Linder. Linder said that a third bomb, which injured 75-year old Esperenza Herrera, may have been intended for another person who might be connected to the House and Mason families.
The Austin police agree that the bombings are related. However, they haven’t suggested a motive as of yet. They also haven’t said whether or not they believe the victims were targeted. Police chief Brian Manley told reporters that they’re not ruling out that hate is at the core of this crime.
Reports of hate crimes rose by 46% in 2016. But the total number of hate crimes reported were suspiciously low, especially when you consider that Austin is a city with nearly 950,000 residents. In 2015 there were 13 hate crimes reported. That number rose to 19 in 2016, according to the FBI’s annual report on hate crimes. Some are skeptical of the Texas hate crime numbers.
“Relative to its population, Texas reports fewer hate crimes than other big states. Something is wrong when Texas, as a state has fewer hate crimes than some of the major cities in the US.” said hate-crime expert, criminologist, attorney who directs the Center For The Study Of Hate And Extremism, Brian Levin.