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Wallace: Mailbox Bomb Symptomatic of Divisive Political Atmosphere

After having his mailbox bombed Thursday morning, Republican freeholder Larry Wallace says political rhetoric and actions are "out of control."

When Republican Larry Wallace and running mate Vincent Nestore broke the Democratic stranglehold on the Gloucester County freeholder board in their 2010 election win, Wallace had to figure he'd be on one side of more than a few heated arguments.

But waking up in the early hours of the morning Thursday , with shards of metal scattered about the edge of his property in the aftermath of a bottle bomb wasn't something he envisioned.

While he wouldn't lay the blame directly at the feet of his political opponents, a furious Wallace decried the divisiveness in politics driven by "fanatics on both sides," which he said could have precipitated the bomb.

“The political discourse in the entire country is just completely out of control,” Wallace said. “We should be allowed to agree to disagree about issues...without having to worry about our home or our family would be attacked over our disagreements.”

The bomb probably would've been powerful enough to take off someone's arm, Wallace said, given how things looked afterward, and though he said he has no proof yet, he doesn't believe it was a random act.

“If it was just a prank, it went way too far,” he said.

Though he acknowledged it was possible the bomb may not have been a political statement, Wallace said the makeup of his neighborhood off Oldmans Creek Road makes it less likely it was purely a prank.

At the same time, Wallace hasn't been the target of any recent threats, according to Jeff Morris, executive director of the Gloucester County Republican Party.

"There's been nothing to make him think anything like this might happen," Morris said. "I'm hoping it was just some local prank and not something targeted specifically at Larry."

No suspects have been named in the incident, which is currently under investigation by the county prosecutor's office and Woolwich police. Pieces of the mailbox were taken for examination by Det. Ron Koller of the prosecutor's office, who is part of the Camden County regional bomb squad.

And if the bomber were trying to silence Wallace, who has been outspoken as part of the opposition on the county board, that won't happen.

“I'm certainly not going to be intimidated,” Wallace said.

Debate and discussion with his detractors, whether in the freeholder meeting room, on the phone or one-on-one is something Wallace said he's always open to.

“I'd be more than happy to that—and I have done it,” he said. “I really wish people would understand that in this country you're allowed to disagree with someone and you don't have to resort to violence to get your point across.”

Still, Wallace called the incident disconcerting, and said his wife and kids won't go anywhere near the mail, out of concern for a copycat bomber or another attack.

“When I got into politics, I didn't think I'd have to hire someone to open my mailbox or start my car in the morning,” Wallace said.

Regional editor Tim Zatzariny Jr. contributed to this report.

J. Smith August 17, 2012 at 11:03 AM
So, with absolutely no evidence, Wallace concludes that this random act of vandalism is the work of "political fanatics". Most of his opinions have no basis in fact, so we should not be surprised. This guy has a martyr complex. Law enforcement should investigate this, but don't let it divert police from serious crimes, not the loss of a $100 mailbox.
fred August 17, 2012 at 12:27 PM
what if it was your mailbox j. smith and your welfare check was blown up would it be different then ?
Ryan Madsen August 17, 2012 at 12:27 PM
This man is so delusional it wouldnt surprise me if he set the soda bomb off himself to grab headlines.
Tom Stanton August 19, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Left wing Liberals at their finest. Take from the top to give to the bottom, turn our backs on tax payers and allow illegal (in other words, not legal) immigrants rights and access to our pathetic welfare system, and bombs are not a serious crime and that it was probably planted and set off by his own doing... And we wonder why this country is falling apart.
braggnrights August 19, 2012 at 11:32 PM
you hit the nail on the head Tom. my son and his wife moved to canada 3 years ago.thay both are in the medical field got good paying jobs and don't have to pay this country any taxes except when they visit and they can come here whenever they like. like you said this country is falling apart every single day. when we have apresident named Barrack who is anti american to begin with that's when you know this country is sliding downward fast. and the morons that come on here is so comical that a good laugh is what we need once in a while.
Ernest Kraus August 20, 2012 at 01:09 AM
What happened to real name instead of peudoname? What happened to that?
Bryan Littel (Editor) August 20, 2012 at 02:45 AM
You misread the other article, Ernest. That had to do with letters to the editor.

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