Pipe Bombs And Pipe Dreams

Michael Bloom had big plans. He had the pipe, he had the gunpowder, and he had a long list of targets.

"He had a letter from the people in Michigan announcing the beginning of the revolution in February of '89," said Carl.

Mike asked his friend to purchase timing devices from a hobby store so that the bombs could be set to go off in crowded buildings.

After Carl agreed to buy the timing apparatus, the two young men left for the Paradise Valley Mall.

Although he'd agreed to help carry out the attack, Carl Schall was troubled to his soul.

"When he came in, he just went right into his room and he was visibly upset," recalled Carl's mother. "He said to me, `Mom, I don't know what to do. Some people are going to get hurt or killed and I don't know what to do. I know Mike means it.'"

After talking it over at home, Carl Schall dialed Detective Shearer's number.

In the coffee shop Mrs. Schall thought about her first reaction upon learning that her son was in the middle of a plot to murder blacks, Jews, and Mexicans throughout the Valley. "It was beyond my wildest imaginings. You read about this in books but this is the United States of America, this can't be happening," she recalled. "You don't ever think your kid will get involved in something like this. The bombings were supposed to be in the first part of February and something had to be done before someone was killed."

After talking to Carl's parents, Detective Shearer took Carl back to Michael's home on January 9, asking the young man to make a mental note of all that he saw.

At 4:05 p.m. Carl Schall walked into his friend's home.
What he saw first and foremost was Bloom transformed.
Michael had shaved his head. He wore high-laced black boots with steel toes and a flight jacket studded with Nazi symbols. Like Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, Bloom was now dressed for combat.

He told Carl he'd ordered forty feet of fuse from a pyrotechnics magazine.
After Carl left, he wrote down everything he'd seen.
One week later Michael Bloom and almost thirty members of the Arizona White Battalion marched down the main thoroughfare of downtown Phoenix under the gaze of local television news cameras.

THE JANUARY 16 PARADE down Central Avenue by the neo-Nazis Arizona White Battalion was timed to coincide with the march by thousands of demonstrators who walked every year to demand a holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

As members of the battalion strutted in the street, a black woman with her infant sat on a bus bench with tears streaming down her face. Before fleeing, she asked why they had to do this on King's day.

But as television cameras focused on Michael Bloom, he cracked, "Who is Martin Luther King? I deny that he exists or ever did."

Bloom explained that the Arizona White Battalion marched not to denigrate King, but to honor Michael's personal hero, Robert Matthews.

A resident of Arizona who was active in the top resistance movement locally, Matthews is a legend among white supremacists. In the early '70s he moved to Washington and founded The Order with another Arizona Nazi, Gary Yarbrough.

The Order made its mark on America in 1984. That year, thirteen members signed a declaration of war against the United States, according to documents obtained by authorities and antiterrorist organizations like the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (ADL). The Order's violence was funded by a counterfeiting ring, a series of bank robberies and a string of armored-car heists that included a $3.6 million score, notes a 1985 ADL publication entitled "Progaganda of the Deed: The far right's desperate revolution." The publication outlines the rampage: That April, members of The Order bombed the largest synagogue in Idaho; on June 18, members of The Order assassinated Denver talk-show host Allan Berg; on December 9, Matthews was trapped and killed by federal agents on an island in Puget Sound. One of The Order survivors, Frank Silva, was sentenced to forty years. While Silva was confined in a federal lockup outside Phoenix, members of the Arizona White Battalion established contact with him.

On January 26--ten days after the battalion's strut down Central--the FBI, accompanied by Phoenix detective Shearer, executed a search warrant on the Bloom residence.

In addition to the bomb-making supplies--some of the pipes were two and one-half inches in diameter and up to twelve inches long--the guns, the Nazi regalia, a homemade silencer and the white-supremacist literature, authorities also confiscated the map of intended victims. They also found a long list of minority targets that included seven Jewish day-care centers, Black Family and Child Services and numerous churches like the Gethsemane Spanish Assembly of God. Michael Bloom's notebooks contained this entry: "I've decided that a few of my men and I will initiate the revolution."

Despite the seizure, Michael Bloom was not arrested. Rather than pick him up, the FBI explored the possibility of tying Bloom into a larger conspiracy involving other Arizona hate groups.

Free to roam the streets, Bloom pursued his fanatical beliefs.
In February, the month he'd intended to detonate the pipe bombs, Bloom met instead with Tom and John Metzger in the desert just outside Phoenix. They took target practice with other neo-Nazis using semiautomatic weapons. In photos taken to commemorate the Phoenix rendezvous, Bloom is pictured saluting in rigid ROTC style.

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