As the American experience of 2018 continues to evolve and radicalize, the people of Austin, Texas are finding themselves in the crosshairs of some sort of madman.
Austin is largely thought of as an outlier city in the Lone Star State, having a young and largely liberal population, while the the rest of Texas tends to stick wholly to the conservative script. Austin’s variance comes as a multitude of millennials have long been descending on the city for the annual South By Southwest Music Festival, that is scheduled to begin today and run through Sunday the 18th.
The music festival, which takes place at dozens of different venues around the city, is, without a doubt, the most important event to occur within Austin every year, bringing in well over $300 million to the local economy in 2016 alone.
That is possibly why a madman has been targeting the city in the past few weeks, hoping to scare off the throngs of tourists that descend upon Austin every year.
“Emergency responders have been dispatched to a second reported explosion in Austin on Monday.
“Medics were sent out to the 6700 block of Galindo Street, near Montopolis and East Riverside drives in Southeast Austin at 11:49 a.m.
“Medics took a woman only described as in her 70s to Dell Seton Medical Center with serious and potentially life-threatening injuries.”
This is the second explosion to occur today in Austin, and the third in the last two weeks.
So far, there are no solid reports of a motive behind the attack, other than the obvious attempt to mar the upcoming music festival that, at least according to mainstream sources, doesn’t seem to have any particularly vitriolic enemies.
Today’s earlier bombing proved fatal, killing a teenage girl.
Authorities are taking no chances on Monday, going door to door to warn residents of the danger.
With the masses descending on Austin for #SXSW festival, police warn people not to open unexpected packages in light of city’s second deadly package bombing this month. https://t.co/Rl45oe8S7v pic.twitter.com/G3LX6Wxg3n
— AP Central U.S. (@APCentralRegion) March 12, 2018
What has a majority of Texan terrified, however, is how these incidents are targeting average civilians, with seemingly no rhyme or reason to them.
#breaking another explosion in Austin Texas. This one came after a package bombing that killed a teen this morning. @nymobilenews is going to the scene now. Stay tuned for further updates, we are following this story now. https://t.co/QphBOIOIni
— Citywide 911 (@Citywide911) March 12, 2018
Extra weird day in Austin today but not in a good way. https://t.co/d5oWvrSNXC
— jenbourgoyne (@jenbourgoyne) March 12, 2018
Some, however, are already pointing to the possibility of these bombings being viewed as hate crimes, due to their targeting of African American families in the area:
New story on NPR: Austin Police Say Deadly Package Explosions Could Be Hate Crimes https://t.co/dQ8uqY8G5F
— Georges Danton (@GoldwaterRepubl) March 12, 2018
Given the fluidity of the situation, we expect to hear much more from those involved and on the ground in the coming hours.
For those attending South By Southwest, or visiting Austin simply for the city’s normally jovial essence, stay alert and stay safe.