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Democrat Andy Smith jokes about possible arson of conservative offices


Valin

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Alpha News

Rep. Walter Hudson said Smith needs to be "held to account for undermining our democratic process."
Anthony Gockowski
February 2, 2024

Democratic legislator Andy Smith was widely criticized for his reaction to the news that three conservative organizations may have been the victims of arson — so much so that he almost immediately deleted his Twitter account.

A Golden Valley building that houses the Center of the American Experiment, TakeCharge, and the Upper Midwest Law Center caught fire early Sunday morning. The ATF confirmed with Alpha News that federal and local agencies are conducting an “arson investigation” into the fire.

Before and after of the hallway separating
 
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Smith shared the Alpha News story on Twitter along with an image of the fictional TV character Dwight Schrute singing “Ryan started the fire.” This was in reference to a scene from the TV show “The Office” in which the character Ryan Howard starts a fire in the office by overcooking a piece of pita bread in a toaster oven, forcing staff to evacuate.

Smith, a first-term Democrat from Rochester, apparently deleted his Twitter account in the face of mounting criticism online.

(Snip)

One of the organizations impacted by the fire, TakeCharge, is a black-led nonprofit with a mission of restoring “the traditional nuclear black family” and promoting “the promise of America” for all races.

“We were targeted because we are a black organization disputing the narrative of systemic racism. If we were a left-leaning organization, hundreds of media outlets would be at our front door telling us we are victims of racism,” said its founder and president, Kendall Qualls.

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After the Fire

John Hinderaker

February 2, 2024

I would rather be writing about something else, but I spent the entire day today giving interviews and responding to well-wishers with regard to the arson attack on Center of the American Experiment and two allied conservative organizations last Saturday night. A few observations:

* The national interest in this story is high. Today I was interviewed by two radio shows in Boston, one in Chicago, one in Phoenix and one in Minneapolis; by a Twin Cities television station; by Minnesota Public Radio; and by a reporter from National Review. Tomorrow evening I will be on television in Australia. On Monday I have scheduled a video with Liz Collin of Alpha News, Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, and Bill Bennett’s podcast. On Tuesday I will be on the Dennis Prager Show. And no doubt more will be scheduled between now and then.

* By contrast, the local media response has been rather muted. I believe all but one of the local TV stations have done stories, and the Star Tribune finally came through with a decent story this afternoon. It seems odd, though, that they never called me. They just took a quote from our press release, which I originally gave to Sheila Qualls of Alpha News, over the phone from the Superior Court building in Washington, D.C. There was a time when the Star Tribune might have been embarrassed to recycle a quote from Alpha News, but those days are gone.

(Snip)

* Liberals on Twitter are now suggesting that we started the fires ourselves, to collect insurance money. What a genius scheme, to cash in the depreciated value of your furniture! Of course, they are just trolling.

* Governor Tim Walz has condemned the arson:

(Snip)

* We are all used to being attacked on Twitter, and so on, and I have gotten a few death threats over the years. But having someone actually try to burn down your office is something completely different.

* Finally, here are some additional photos that show the extent of the destruction.

(Snip)

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Podcast: The 3WHH on the Civil War and The Fire This Time

(Snip)

*Then John Hinderaker joins us to give us the latest news about the firebombing of his office this past week (does this politically-motivated arson fire presage a return to the bad old days of the Weather Underground of the late 1960s?), plus a few summary impressions of the Michael Mann vs. Mark Steyn cage match playing out in court in Washington DC, where John sat in on the trial several days last week.

* 46: 25 Mark

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  • 3 weeks later...

Arson Update

John Hinderaker

February 18, 2024

(Snip)

Of course, the $64,000 question is, who did it? Given that conservative organizations were targeted, everyone assumes the arsonists were liberals of some stripe. Beyond that, a specific motive won’t be known until they are caught.

We continue to cooperate with the FBI’s investigation. So far, there have been no arrests, but I am hopeful that the investigation may be closing in on the perpetrators. One of the arsonists was captured on at least one video camera, the one in our office. Beyond that, tapes from many cameras have been reviewed and analyzed.

My organization has offered a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator or perpetrators. I hope someone will be able to claim it.

The arson was tremendously destructive; I would guess that it did at least 500 times as much damage as the protest at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Insurance companies are now evaluating what physical property can be salvaged, and I don’t know what the ultimate financial settlement will look like. But I don’t expect American Experiment to suffer a major financial loss, and we are close to finalizing a lease on new property, as we can’t afford to wait until our old building has been restored to use. We are hoping to be in our new home on or about April 1.

Having one’s office destroyed does, of course, entail a certain amount of disruption and financial cost. If you would like to help us recover from the attack on our operation, you can donate to American Experiment here.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Feb 20, 2024

John Hinderaker, President of Center of the American Experiment, interviews James Dickey of the Upper Midwest Law Center and Kendall Qualls of TakeCharge, both of whom were targeted by an arson attack along with American Experiment in January.

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I subscribe but for some "strange inexplicable" reason this didn't show up on my feed. IF I were a suspicious person I might suspect it was Shadow banned. But That's just crazy talk.

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1 hour ago, Valin said:

I subscribe but for some "strange inexplicable" reason this didn't show up on my feed. IF I were a suspicious person I might suspect it was Shadow banned. But That's just crazy talk.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Reward for think tank arson arrest grows to $100,000

No arrests have been made in the fire that displaced Center of the American Experiment, Upper Midwest Law Center, and TakeCharge.

Bill Walsh
April 5, 2024

(Center of the American Experiment) — The reward fund for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals who started the arson fires at the offices of three conservative organizations has grown to $100,000.

No arrests have been made in the fire that displaced Center of the American Experiment, Upper Midwest Law Center (UMLC), and TakeCharge, along with several dozen other small businesses from their Golden Valley offices on Jan. 28, 2024. The fires are being investigated as deliberate acts of arson by the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and the Hennepin County Fire Investigation team.

“We are determined to catch the people responsible for this hateful attack and hope a sizable reward will convince someone to come forward,” said John Hinderaker, president of Center of the American Experiment.

“Politically-motivated arson is a very serious crime and we hope this substantial additional reward will help to ensure that the people responsible are apprehended and convicted,” said Doug Seaton, president of UMLC

(Snip)

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