Attempted MLK Day bombing still mystifies Spokane

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SPOKANE, Wash. — The bomb was sophisticated and potentially deadly, but it did not detonate. No one was hurt, and no one has been arrested. So Spokane became a mystery.

“To me, it’s that God’s gracious hand moved,” said Chief Anne Kirkpatrick of the Spokane Police Department. “This was a bomb of significance that would have caused devastation.”

Nearly a month after a cleanup crew found the live bomb along the planned route of a large downtown march honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the F.B.I. is investigating the incident as an act of domestic terrorism. And Spokane has cycled from shock to relief to reassessment: have the white supremacists who once struck such fear here in the inland Northwest returned at a new level of dangerousness and sophistication?

“We don’t have that kind of intelligence level to make that kind of explosive,” said Shaun Winkler, a Pennsylvania native who recently returned to the region to start a landscaping company and a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

Mr. Winkler lives not far from Hayden Lake, Idaho, where he once was among the followers of Richard Butler, a white supremacist and Aryan Nations leader who spent more than two decades proclaiming the inland Northwest to be the capital of a new white homeland. Mr. Butler died in 2004 after losing the 20-acre Aryan Nations compound in a lawsuit and losing many of his followers, as well....

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