Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fire in the Texas Governor's Mansion, Shadowy Suspicions, and Terrorists

You've probably seen the headlines: "Arson suspected in Texas Governor's Mansion fire" ( (June 8, 2008). Texas - and America - has lost at least part of an architectural and historical treasure.

Texas Governor's Mansion: Today's News and History

I heard that the mansion had been going through renovation, and figured that this would be another case of an accident with a blowtorch, welder, or some other tool. Now, it looks like someone set the fire deliberately.

We can get a 'before' look at the Texas Governor's Mansion at the Official Website of the Friends of the Governor's Mansion. It was "the oldest continually used executive residence west of the Mississippi."

There's good news: nobody was hurt. And, the mansion's furnishings weren't in the building, to get them out of the way for renovation work.

The bad news: nineteenth-century woodwork, and the building itself, were on fire this weekend. "Firefighters kept the historical importance of the building in mind as they fought the blaze, [Austin Fire Department Division Chief Dawn] Clopton said.

" 'We were as careful as we could be with the state of Texas' pride and joy,' said Clopton. 'We are trying to save as much of the structure as we possibly can.'... "
("Texas governor's mansion fire may be case of arson" CNN (June 8, 2008))

Fire in the Texas Governor's Mansion: Speculation and Suspicion

Law enforcement is being cautious, but it looks like the Texas fire was arson. "Investigators 'found evidence that the fire was intentionally set,' said Texas State Fire Marshal Paul Maldonado...." (CNN)

The odds are that someone with a personal motive set the blaze. But there are other possibilities.

I took a look around the Web, and found out that Texas Governor may be involved: somehow. According to at least one person. "While there is nothing to suggest that Perry was in anyway connected beyond the fact that he is governor, it seems like there is always something bizarre and twisted going on around him...."
("Arson Destroys Texas Governors Mansion" (Daily Kos (June 8, 2008))

Since there is a (very remote) possibility that terrorists set the fire, I expected to find a rant about Jihadist arsonists attacking a Texas landmark. But, I didn't. Given the diversity of online opinion, I suppose a post like that is just a matter of time.

A shadowy conspiracy, in which the governor of a state arranged to burn down the house he lived in, or whose twisted associates ordered the fire set, makes an excellent story. So would an international cabal of Islamic arsonists, set on the obliteration of American landmarks.

As for me, I expect that we'll find a disgruntled employee or someone with a thing about matches was responsible.

That's a much less dramatic outcome: but life's like that.


joevee said...

This must be bush's old house. Are you sure the house didn't set its self of fire to put it out of its misery?

Brian H. Gill said...


That's a scenario I think we can safely rule out.

The Daily Kos' suggestion, that the fire is connected with the current Texas governor, is somewhat more plausible.

From the Daily Kos point of view, some sort of maleficent agency may be at work because Governor Rick Perry always has "something bizarre and twisted going on around him (uaully [!] political, but there have been other rumors). And in that regard, he just might be the Republicans' Bill Clinton."

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.