Ho! Ho! Boom! Downtown Nashville’s Rude Awakening

Update (1 of 2, December 27, 2020) Today’s news isn’t good. Certainly not for friends and family of Anthony Quinn Warner, whose DNA was in debris left by the Christmas morning explosion.

On the other hand, there seems little reason to fear an apparently non-existent cabal of saboteurs and their exploding RV campers.

Maybe that’s not good news. But it’s not bad news, either. Provided that most of us accept the possibility that every camper we see isn’t about to explode.

Federal investigators saying that it’s “…too early to suggest a motive…” makes sense to me.

From Metro Nashville PD's Twitter, December 25, 2020: 'BREAKING: This is the RV that exploded on 2nd Ave N this morning. It arrived on 2nd Ave at 1:22 a.m. Have you seen this vehicle in our area or do you have information about it? Please contact us via Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463 or online via http://fbi.gov/nashville. @ATFHQ'Whatever reason the person who set off that explosion had — is something I may talk about.

Later, when there’s more information, and fewer unanswered questions.

Anyway, there’s what BBC News said:

Nashville explosion: Camper van blast suspect named by police
BBC News (December 27, 2020)

Police investigating a camper van blast that injured three people in Nashville on Christmas Day have named a suspect after DNA was collected at the scene.

“Officials in the US state of Tennessee said the DNA matched that of Anthony Quinn Warner, 63.

“The FBI said there was no indication of additional suspects and that it was too early to suggest a motive….

“…During a press conference on Sunday, federal investigators said they believed that Warner, who worked in IT and had extensive experience with electronics, was the sole individual responsible for the blast and had died at the site.

“They said the blast was probably deliberate, and that it was Warner’s remains discovered at the scene….

“…Earlier, CBS News reported that a DNA sample had been collected from Warner’s mother….

“…His former employer, estate agent Steve Fridrich, told the Nashville Tennessean that Warner had resigned unexpectedly this month after four years with the company. Mr Fridrich said the move had been ‘quite out of character’….”

Update (2 of 2, December 27, 2020) I have no idea whether or not Petula Clark’s “Downtown” (1964) connection with the 2020 Christmas morning Nashville explosion will resonate in news media.

I’m likely to remember that the song was one of those played by the RV camper. But that may be because I’m only a few years older than the fellow who died in the explosion.

‘Downtown’ by Petula Clark played from RV prior to Nashville explosion
Josh Breslow, Local News, WKRN Nashville (December 27, 2020)

“The mid-1960s classic ‘Downtown’ by Petula Clark played from the RV parked in downtown Nashville prior to the explosion that damaged more than 40 buildings and injured at least three people Christmas morning.

“‘What I remembered was “downtown, where the lights shine bright,”‘ Metro Officer Tyler Luellen said of the song playing, as he and his fellow officers worked fast to evacuate people in the area of Second Avenue North and Commerce Street….

“…The officer said he looked up the song later and discovered it was ‘Downtown’ by Petula Clark, the chart-topping song that begins, ‘when you’re alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go downtown.’…”

Being around the age of the chief and only suspect, and recognizing a song he apparently selected, does not make me a public menace. I am far too fond of breathing to consider suicide, and that’s something I may — and probably will — discuss (much) later.

Memories and associations I’ve accumulated make lyrics like these poignant in the ‘Christmas explosion’ context:

“…Don’t hang around and let your problems surround you
There are movie shows
Maybe you know some little places to go to
Where they never close
(“Downtown,” Tony Hatch, sung by Petula Clark (1964) via AZLyrics.com)

This is a bad situation. But it could have been a lot worse.

Nashville explosion: Camper van blows up in ‘intentional act’ on Christmas morning
BBC News (December 25, 2020)

A parked camper van exploded in the US city of Nashville, Tennessee, early on Christmas morning, injuring three people and knocking out communications systems across the state.

“Possible human remains were later found near the blast site, US media report….

“…Officers responding to reports of gunshots just before 06:00 (12:00 GMT) found a camper van broadcasting a warning message to leave the area….

“…CCTV footage posted on YouTube appeared to show the moments before the explosion, when a warning was broadcast, saying, ‘If you can hear this message, evacuate now’. A loud bang follows and flames and smoke fill the screen….

That “If you can hear this…” announcement is the weirdest bit of this incident, from my perspective. Folks who do newsworthy bombings don’t, as a rule, seem to be concerned about hurting or killing others. Sometimes that seems to be the whole point of a bombing.

As of late afternoon, I’d heard that only three folks got hurt. Possibly because Nashville law enforcement started evacuation nearby buildings shortly before the camper exploded. Then I read about possible human remains.

Speculation and Uncertainty

I’d hoped that three non-life-threatening injuries was the extent of casualties. As of early evening of Christmas Day, that seems unlikely. “…Possible human remains…” does not sound hopeful.

Motive is also an apparently-unknown part of the puzzle.

Telcom Connection? Protection Racket??

The camper was near a building owned by AT&T, which may explain the post-boom communications problems, and that company has a nearby office tower.

Maybe someone got upset over their phone bill, or thought they were striking a blow for something related to telephone, television and/or Internet usage.

Maybe one of the business owners on that part of 2nd street hadn’t made their payments with proper promptness and respect.

Nixing Naughty Nashville Nightlife???

And maybe the motive has something to do with the nature of several businesses on that block. News accounts referred to Nashville’s nightlife. Signage I saw in some photos suggested that they were naughty establishments.

I lived in San Francisco for 18 months, so they didn’t strike me as all that naughty. But someone with high, and fractured, moral character might feel otherwise.

I really hope my ‘bomb the naughty places’ scenario isn’t near the mark. And that’s another topic.

I noticed “Nashville explosion” headlines in my news feed this afternoon, and am writing this just a few hours later. Just about everything I know about the incident is in this post.

Maybe the motive(s), damage, injuries, probable death or some other detail will warrant my writing more. Then again, maybe not. On the whole, I’m hoping for “not.”

I’ve talked about bombs and and people acting badly before:

About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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