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.

Tom Metzger, described in research materials compiled by the Anti-Defamation League as "the most visible hate-monger in the United States," is the founder of White Aryan Resistance (W.A.R.). His cable television series, Race and Reason, is viewed throughout the United States, including Phoenix. It was Metzger's son, John, who was choked on the Geraldo Rivera show on November 4, 1988, by Roy Innis after he referred to the black man as an "Uncle Tom."

In 1986, after the conviction of ten surviving members of The Order, Tom Metzger stood on the courthouse steps and declared, "They have given us ten martyrs. A new day is dawning for white people in this country," according to Extremism on the Right: A Handbook, published by the Anti-Defamation League in 1988.

In a statement given to the FBI, and later recanted, one of the leaders of The Order said his group helped finance Metzger, the ADL reports.

According to Bruce Carroll Pierce--a member of The Order who was convicted and sentenced to 150 years as the trigger man in Allan Berg's death--Metzger was personally given a quarter of a million dollars from the Brinks armored-car heist by Robert Matthews.

In 1986 one of Metzger's lieutenants deserted W.A.R. and renounced white supremacy. Skinheads attacked the man, beat him, slashed him with a razor and nailed his hands to a six-foot plank of wood.

A former Grand Dragon in the Ku Klux Klan, Metzger is personally credited with reaching out to the estimated 3,000 young skinheads in America and ushering them into formal white-supremacist organizations, the ADL says.

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®MDNM¯ His role as the Pied Piper of Hate is enhanced by personal appearances, sponsorship of skinhead rallies with white-power rock groups like the Boot Boys Band, the cable-TV program and publication of a tabloid where minorities are described as "Congoids" or "Brown Rot."

In a recent issue of the W.A.R. newspaper, the January 16 march by the Arizona White Battalion was given extensive coverage, including photos. In the same issue, Arizona prisoner Frank Silva, in an essay called "Dogs of War," called for violent confrontation.

Silva's message did not need repeating as far as Michael Bloom was concerned.

The month after the desert rendezvous with the Metzgers, on March 10, Bloom was one of 34 skinheads arrested outside a Scottsdale nightclub for brawling.

On March 21 the afternoon daily did a cover story on Bloom and his three skinhead roommates, who shared an apartment in Phoenix. The article was like the scores of media profiles that swept the nation this year, superficially profiling skinheads while allowing them to spout off. Neither the seizure of the pipe bombs nor the massive rumble on Scottsdale Road just eleven days prior was mentioned in the write-up. In fact, the story ignored all of the violent activity locally, including suspicions by authorities that the skinheads were responsible for desecrating synagogues with spray-painted Nazi slogans and swastikas. Instead, the leader, Jason Miller, was quoted as saying, "We get the best reaction from students in schools where there are a lot of blacks and Hispanics. They know the problems being caused by the black and Hispanic gangs that are selling drugs and killing people."

Bloom, who told the reporter, "All we [whites] have left is our race," later bragged that the newspaper coverage was a great recruiting tool.

One month later, on April 26, Michael Bloom and a gang of skinheads were stopped en route to a fight at Cortez High. Phoenix policeman Jim Carlough disarmed the gang, seizing baseball bats, tear gas and even a .25-caliber Raven.

Unable to link Bloom's bomb plot to other militant groups, the FBI stopped its investigation long enough for Detective Shearer to arrest Michael Bloom. He was taken into custody September 8, 1989, almost eight months after the authorities searched his bedroom and seized the unassembled pipe bombs. Because he was sixteen, he was taken to the juvenile-detention facility on Durango Street, facing allegations of a conspiracy to commit arson of occupied structures and to deposit explosives.

When he was picked up, Bloom told Detective Shearer that he no longer associated with any white-supremacist groups and that he was a student again who studied locksmithing and private detective work by mail. He was carrying a folding stiletto with a four-inch blade.

After seemingly keeping the Bloom investigation in limbo for almost eight months, the state now began to move quickly.

Deputy County Attorney Ed Morgan declared Michael Bloom "extremely dangerous" and sought to have the young neo-Nazi tried as an adult.

The hearing in Judge James E. McDougall's courtroom lasted almost an entire day.

As Bloom sat next to his parents, dressed in his prison "reds," shackled at the ankles, Morgan declared that Michael had "crossed the line from expressing political views to terrorism." If tried as a juvenile, the courts could only hold on to Bloom until his eighteenth birthday. That wasn't enough time to straighten him out, said Morgan.

Neither Bloom nor his parents were allowed to comment or testify during the hearing.

Instead, Public Defender Doug Harmon argued that Bloom was being prosecuted for unpopular political beliefs.

"Aren't we singling out Michael Bloom for the same sort of special treatment that Hitler did with the Jews?" argued Harmon.

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