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Would-be Wrigley Field bomber laments actions

Mar 24, 2013, 11:17 PM EDT

Jason Aldean Press Conference AP

A Lebanese immigrant, who placed a backpack with what he thought was a bomb near Wrigley Field in Chicago back in 2010, wrote a letter to U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman in which he detailed his plight and his remorse for his actions. Via the Associated Press:

In the letter — dated Oct. 12, 2012, but released publicly this week — Hassoun tells Gettleman, “I am so ashamed of my actions and of this horrific crime that I’ve committed.”

He describes feeling despondent and confused with his new life as a bakery worker, frustrated by broken dreams of becoming rich after he and his parents moved to the U.S. from Lebanon in 2008.

“By two to three months before my crime, I was drinking all day, every day,” he wrote. “I would open a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black in the morning and finish it by evening, while also drinking vodka and beer.”

He smoked marijuana regularly and sometimes used cocaine and ecstasy, he wrote.

Thankfully, no one ended up getting hurt and Hassoun has realized the error of his ways, choosing to seek positive outlets while in prison.

  1. Old Gator - Mar 24, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    Well isn’t that nice. This committed socialist, friend tocauses involving the legitimately deprived, scammed by the system and oppressed, has absolutely no sympathy for you whatsoever. Keep thinking nice thoughts and finish out your sentence, which is probably better than you deserve, and enjoy the all the great opportunities awaiting you in Beirut when you are deported at the end of your term.

    And even that is better than what you deserve.

    • polonelmeagrejr - Mar 25, 2013 at 8:14 AM

      Predictably disnmal commments on this topic. At least, no one called for the use of nuclear weapons on this guys homeland. Way to go sports fans!

    • polonelmeagrejr - Mar 25, 2013 at 8:16 AM

      What!!!!!! are you talking about my delusional amigo? It said nothing about his political beliefs. You , in typical RIght WIng fashion are reacting to the phanatsms in your head rather than what’s really happening. Hve a RIght WIng day, General (short for generalizer) .

      • Kevin S. - Mar 25, 2013 at 8:20 AM

        Did… did you just call Old Gator a right winger?

      • Old Gator - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:23 AM

        I suspect he was responding to someone else, since I said nothing whatsoever about the guy’s “political beliefs” – unless my esteemed interlocutor suffers from “phantasms of the head” himself – and declared myself a socialist in the first sentence of my post. Sometimes you click that “reply” button and don’t realize you’ve pinned your post to someone else’s without meaning to. At least, I hope that’s the case here.

        Otherwise, I’m hard pressed to contest his assertion that ideological phantasms are typical of right wingers – with the possible caveat that leftists have more than their fair share of them as well. Anyway, it doesn’t matter here – I don’t give a damn if Hassoun was Muslim, Buddhist, Animist or Bokononist, radically right or left. Someone who was trying to kill dozens, and potentially hundreds, of innocent people doesn’t catch a break for “realizing the error of his ways.” He serves his sentence and then gets sent back wherever the hell he came from.

      • polonelmeagrejr - Mar 25, 2013 at 3:17 PM

        Kevin S. I did and realiZe my mistake; maybe he’s having a bad day.

  2. stlstadiummusic - Mar 24, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    Must be nice to be able to afford Johnnie Walker Black, cocaine, ecstasy, and marijuana on a baker’s wages. Someone wasn’t as bad off financially as he’d like us to believe.

    • djpostl - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:15 AM

      Seriously. As that grocery list of the stars was being rattled off I couldn’t help to wonder what the hell I chose network security for instead of becoming a baker.

  3. randygnyc - Mar 24, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    There’s more to this story. It’s pachydermal and its in the room.

    • chacochicken - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      What’s the elephant? Is he muslim? I don’t think the militant muslims hit up the Johnnie Walker too much. Or where you interested in how mr. bakery worker got all that stuff? Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t get the whole lot from the FBI. Months of drugs and alcohol supplied and then they ask him if he wants to blow something up.

  4. kiwicricket - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:46 AM

    Johnnie Walker Black and cocaine….Ahhh, the breakfast of champions.

    The U.S should just shove him on a boat back to Beirut rather than taxpayers pay for his jail term.

  5. kicksave1980 - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:53 AM

    I can remember when I used to have to find enough quarters in the change jar to buy a tall-boy of Keystone Light. It sucked, for sure, but the thought of blowing up a baseball stadium never crossed my mind.

    And this cat was drinking scotch, doing blow, and talking about how times were tough.

  6. mianfr - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:55 AM

    This is the least uplifting recovery story I’ve ever read.

  7. seattlenative57 - Mar 25, 2013 at 3:08 AM

    Here’s hoping this POS rots in hell. Asalamalakem mf’er …

    • blacksables - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:02 AM

      While I’m not a religious person at all, your comment seems to really smack of a person with deep issues of their own.

      I guess I missed the part where he claimed to be jihadist and did this a Muslim. All I read was ‘an immigrant who was unhappy with his life’.

      Using your twisted English to twist a Muslim greeting and use it as an insult is an attack against an entire population, and not a specific person. Isn’t that what we Americans are always claiming the Muslims do?

      You can’t claim to be better than your enemies when you act the same way they do.

      • ugglasforearms - Mar 25, 2013 at 6:47 AM

        I wonder if seattlenative57 claims to be a Christian.

  8. historiophiliac - Mar 25, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    Did any of you actually read the story here? It was not actually a bomb and he got it from an FBI informant. It’s too bad he didn’t get caught up in some mental health assistance instead of an FBI sting.

  9. rlj2170 - Mar 25, 2013 at 7:37 AM

    maybe he can get a job driving a bus when he gets sent back to Beruit

    • historiophiliac - Mar 25, 2013 at 7:48 AM

      Also, apparently you all missed that he was born in Beruit but was actually a refugee from the Ivory Coast’s bloody civil wars. But, hey, he’s a drunk, right? It’s totally fair to send him back for that. Maybe his bitterness at not making a better life in America won’t turn to lasting disgruntlement or support for anti-American feeling back “home.”

      • jlovenotjlo - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:03 AM

        Yes sorry for coming down so hard on this wonderful human being who tried to kill a bunch of innocent people with what he thought was a bomb. One can only hope that we treat him with so nicely that when we do send him him back to his home, he tells everyone how great America is, and all anti-American resentment in that area goes away. You are right on.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:26 AM

        It’s too bad your simple world does not reflect reality.

        BTW, you forgot to chant: USA! USA! USA!

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:15 AM

        Really?

      • jlovenotjlo - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:03 PM

        Sorry.

        USA! USA! USA!

      • historiophiliac - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:26 PM

        That’s better.

  10. takingbovadasmoney - Mar 25, 2013 at 7:41 AM

    heh….positive outlets in prison…..Bet someone gets some pretty damn negative inputs in prison. #soaponarope

  11. chill1184 - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    “The defense filing argues Hassoun deserves no more than 20 years, in part because they contend he was egged on by an FBI informant to concoct the bombing scheme.”

    __________________

    Hmmmm so the government manufacturing terrorists by targeting people who aren’t all there in the head in order to get them to carry out an “attack”? Sounds familiar

    http://lewrockwell.com/grigg/grigg-w302.html

    http://www.activistpost.com/2013/02/top-us-terrorist-group-fbi.html

  12. seattlenative57 - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    @blacksables

    Praise God my “attack” was merely words, while this convict physically threatened the lives of thousands.

    Nice to know you are balanced in your reasoning and grasp the relevance of who really has issues in this instance.

    Written disrespect pales in comparison to murder or are you just dim.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:29 AM

      Dial it down. He didn’t actually threaten anyone. There was no bomb.

      • bleedgreen - Mar 25, 2013 at 10:00 AM

        Actually, he did threaten. He thought it was a bomb. If someone THREATENS to do something, but doesn’t actually have the means to do it, doesn’t mean that he didn’t threaten.

        If you THINK you have a gun, and tell people you’re going to kill them, and actually try to pull the trigger on that fake gun, the THREAT has been made. Its the actual action that hasn’t been followed through on.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 25, 2013 at 10:06 AM

        Yes, I understand he was guilty in his heart and that gets you a conviction. Now, was anyone actually in danger of real harm? No. There was no real threat. But, feel free to over-react to this criminal mastermind at work.

      • jm91rs - Mar 25, 2013 at 10:22 AM

        Wait a minute. Because he had a fake bomb (which he believed was real), he didn’t actually threaten anyone? He’s innocent because his fake bomb (which was meant to kill hundreds) didn’t explode? Is the guy whose gun jambs in the middle of a robbery innocent as well because his weapon malfunctioned?

        Seriously. Politics and Anti-American sentiment aside, the guy had the intention of killing hundreds (or thousands). He should rot in jail for a long time. Maybe when he sobers up he’ll genuinely change his way of thinking, or maybe he’ll find someone that will give him a real bomb. I’m not willing to just let him out and cross my fingers.

        Sending him back is a bad idea as well, he can probably get his hands on a real bomb elsewhere.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 25, 2013 at 10:29 AM

        Firstly, where did I say he was innocent? I did not. I recognize that he was convicted. But, let’s not over-react to the “actual threat” here (which was NOT substantial). Put your thinking cap on and re-read what I said. Honestly, Staters seem completely incapable of understanding reasonableness of punishment. FYI, this is a fairly recent development. 150 years ago, people weren’t such chickenshits.

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:16 AM

        You are apologizing for this dirt bag Philiac!
        Dial…THAT down.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:21 AM

        I am not apologizing. I am pointing out that people are over-reacting and that, as is often the case, there are issues that make the situation grey as opposed to purely black and white.

      • toejoronto - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:14 PM

        His intentions were not at all grey. Perhaps he really is sorry and alcohol can be blamed. Perhaps the FBI egged him on too much. Regardless, he intended to kill thousands of people in a concert at Wrigley. That’s black and white enough for me.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:18 PM

        I did not say his intentions were grey (although it is likely that they were colored by his background) — I said the situation had issues that made it not a cut and dried case of extreme danger. Again, he did not actually do anyone harm and we ought not to have knee-jerk reactions to that. Why don’t you ask a cop to write you a ticket based on your intent to litter or run a red light and see how that stands up in court.

      • toejoronto - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:06 PM

        Yes, mass murder always compares nicely with littering. And I never said you claimed his intentions were grey, but I did say that’s enough for me to make my opinions on this particular case.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        That’s exactly my point: he did NOT commit mass murder. You all are acting like he did — therefore, you are over-reacting.

        I am suggesting that a better outcome here might have been mental health treatment instead of an FBI sting. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable solution. It did not happen, however, and now people’s reactions are creating a potential for this issue to continue rather than for the dude to get help and move on. It would be better to reform him than to make him an enemy for life.

  13. seattlenative57 - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    I wonder if ugglasforearms read the post?

  14. chacochicken - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    Yay, the FBI convinced an obviously mentally ill and alcoholic immigrant to try and blow something up…with their help. I’ve never felt safer.

    • chill1184 - Mar 25, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      How else would the government justify the national security state?

    • jm91rs - Mar 25, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      We have no idea how these things go down. Did he seek bomb building advice from someone or did they find him on some anti-american message board and egg him on?

      Either way, the guy was willing to kill hundreds of people and I’m glad it didn’t happen.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 25, 2013 at 10:36 AM

        Actually, we do know how this went down. There was a trial. There is a record. If you were interested, you could find that. You are making suppositions without the evidence at hand.

      • jm91rs - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:25 AM

        Then tell me, did the FBI search him out or did he find them? And then explain to me how a man that intended to kill many people was set up and this is just no big deal.

      • jm91rs - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:31 AM

        You know what, never mind. Please don’t waste your time telling me how it went down because I won’t come back to read it. I’m always wishing for more actual baseball news and stories on this site and I hate when it gets all political and non-baseball. Then I go do something dumb by chiming in on a non-baseball issue. Nothing you or anyone else can tell me will convince me that the man who admitted to trying to kill hundreds of innocent people is getting a raw deal, so I’ll just leave it at that. Agree to disagree.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:35 AM

        I don’t know all the details (as I have not read the trial record) and that is why I am not making assumptions not based on evidence…but I’m pretty sure he did not call up the FBI and ask for a bomb. This is not that big of a deal because the gentleman never actually had a bomb that could hurt people and he was apprehended without doing any real damage.

      • toejoronto - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:11 PM

        I have a little insight as I’ve followed the trial after learning that the bomb was intended to go off at a Dave Matthews Band concert that my daughter attended (against my advice, that band sucks!).

        This guy was a pretty angry dude. He spoke of plots to assassinate Chicago’s mayor and poisoning Lake Michigan. He believed his bomb was big enough to take out several city blocks so we’re talking about complete destruction of Wrigley and the THOUSANDS of people inside at the time. He spoke often of a revolution and the papers made it sound like he might be more anti-chicago than anti-america. He had some mental issues no doubt.

        I don’t recall exactly too much detail on how the FBI found him or if he found them. I have a feeling a was a little bit of both. A guy looking to do some damage and an undercover agent looking to “help” someone with a plot. I do remember that it was clear that they always try to give a guy a way out before the actual operation (probably to cover their own butts when the trial starts). They asked him several times if it might be too dangerous and if he wanted to back out, he repeatedly said no (again, I’m sure they’re hoping he says no, but they’re trying to make it a little less like entrapment).

        Regardless of how he found them, if this guy had found a real bad guy with a real bomb capable of what he had hoped, we would be looking at something on the scale of 9/11 when it comes to American deaths. Mentally sick or not, there’s no room for sympathy in my heart for him.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        If he had actually done anything, toejo, I would agree with you (to some degree — I doubt your assertion that he would’ve done damage on the scale of 9/11). He did not, however, and so I believe the punishment should fit the crime — and that we should not live in fear and over-react to “threats” like this. Being angry and talking about a revolution is not a crime. Again, it would’ve been great if he had gotten mental health help first, instead of aid of the undercover kind.

      • toejoronto - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:20 PM

        I believe that the punishment here does fit the crime. And I’ll agree with you that shipping him out is a bad idea. I think it would be a terrible idea to send him “home” after his prison sentence because he’s very likely to be celebrated elsewhere. Keep him here, on parole, keep an eye on him so he can’t conspire to do something like this again.

        To me I don’t see a lot of difference between his conspiring with a bomb or a gun. I recall that he was planning to assassinate Chicago Police Officers as well. He most definitely would not need FBI assistance to do that, so I’m very thankful that he chose to go the route that got the FBI involved, but I do believe he was very capable of killing.

        Being angry and talking about a revolution is NOT a crime. Being angry and trying to carry out a “revolution” by plotting the deaths of Americans IS a crime, as evidenced by his sentence.

      • blacksables - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:17 PM

        Go to Google. Type in: John DeLorean

        As someone who extensive experience working in the government, be happy that the American people are actually smarter than the people chosen to represent them.

  15. jlovenotjlo - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    historiophiliac

    You’re so incredibly off here. If one were to rob a convenience store with a fake gun, said person is still charged with armed robbery.

    Would you prefer we release him and put him in touch with some real bomb dealers? How about we put him next door to you? He’s a maniac capable of anything and should be locked up and deported to wherever he came from. It is extremely lucky the bomb dealers were working for the FBI.

    • toejoronto - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      I think exporting him is a terrible idea. Anti-American sentiment runs pretty strong in his country. Don’t send him home to be made a hero. If he’s truly sorry, keep him here and keep an eye on him.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:35 PM

      No, I would like us to give him treatment and maybe make a way for him to become a productive member of society — give him a chance at the better life he hoped to find here. I think that would make him very pro-American and resolve the issue. Stringing him up or locking him away forever does not rectify the situation and is very expensive. At no point did I say that he should not be punished. I just think it should fit his crime and be a path to rehabilitation.

  16. seattlenative57 - Mar 25, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    That’s a righteous solution: rehab the guy with treatment, mental health services provided by the state (law abiding tax payers), vocational training and rehab, food stamps, welfare subsidies including health care. Get the guy back on his feet. And guess what? Suppose the guy re-offends. Then well can all decry the nanny state and ridicule our legal system for not throwing the book at this lowlife. No, I’ll stick with his current punishment and continue to pray that he rots in hell.

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