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.

His folks maintain that Michael was not exposed to prejudice at home.
His dad pointed out that Michael's mother is half-German and half-Indian, while he is half-Irish and half-Polish.

"The Germans hated the Polacks. I'm sure if she was prejudiced, she would have killed me by now."

Although Michael's grandfather on his mother's side was a white supremacist, she points out that Michael never met his grandfather.

"My father was a full-blooded German and he believed in, well . . . Hitler was his idol. He wasn't mine. But even my father didn't instill in us a hatred of Jews. No one got along with black people back then. They get along a lot better now than when I was a kid. I have never hated anybody for what they are or what they do. We didn't bring Michael up that way, either."

As both parents pointed out repeatedly, Michael is bright enough that he didn't need indoctrination. He could figure things out for himself.

As his dad put it, "If you're standing in line to buy groceries and you've got $150 in cash that you work for, and the person in front of you has $300 worth of groceries and they're paying for it with food stamps and you know those people are just goofing off . . . ."

His mother underlined the point that these facts are available for anyone to see: "Michael's not the only one with these beliefs. There are millions of kids out there who believe this."

And if there are not millions, there are certainly more than you've thought about who've listened to their parents recall the sorts of events that Michael's dad can never forget or forgive.

"When I came out here 25 years ago from Syracuse, the Mexicans told us to leave Phoenix, that this was their town. We put in for government housing. I was making minimum wage then. They told me I didn't make enough money to qualify. So my wife got a job, at minimum wage. Then they said we made too much. I went back and saw the house and there was a colored family living in it. I didn't think that was right. I make eighteen or nineteen thousand dollars a year today and I don't qualify for nothing."

Both parents feel in their hearts that the reason Michael's still in jail is because they are not rich enough to afford the kind of lawyers that could get him out. They also believe with a passionate animosity that the prosecutor went after high bail knowing they were poor people.

"Ed Morgan is an asshole," declared the father. "I want to know what religion he is. Is he Jewish or what?"

Although the evidence seized in Michael's room suggests to the government that the young man was a threat to society, his parents see it differently.

They point out that everything confiscated was purchased legally in stores. None of the bombs was assembled, and the map was not a catalogue of intended targets but rather a diagram of all the places Michael had leafleted.

The gunpowder that was placed into evidence by the FBI was discovered in the trunk of the car owned by Michael's sister, according to the authorities.

Both parents are insistent that the government is mistaken or lying about the bag removed from their daughter's automobile. There was no bag with explosives in the car, they maintain. They agree that what the lawman took out of the car was a bag of dope paraphernalia. The contents of the bag are owned by Michael's older brother, they insist.

Later, the parents admit that gunpowder was in fact found, but that it was in the bedroom with the rest of the bomb supplies.

Their point, it turned out, was that although there was gunpowder, the police were lying about where they found it. What else might they be lying about?

The fact that there were gunpowder and bomb-making supplies is irrelevant. As Michael's father explained to his wife, "Honey, if you stop and think, how many people in this country have guns and how many of them reload their own guns and they've got to have gunpowder. I'll bet the county attorney has the same damn shit that we have in there.

"If I want to make a bomb, and I'm not as intelligent as my son, I could make a bomb. You can build a bomb underneath your sink. Believe it or not. You got Clorox to wash your clothes? You got Drano for unclogging your sink? You mix them together you probably got chlorine gas. You got a can of hair spray? It's probably a good flame thrower . . . Anything you have in your home is dangerous."

No matter what was found in Michael's bedroom, his parents are convinced he never would have actually planted pipe bombs.

"Why did this kid, who they say was so intent upon committing this crime, why did he not get the stuff again? Why didn't he collect the stuff and go ahead with his plan? He had plenty of time if he wanted to do that. He had seven or eight months," noted his mother.

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