I Once Lived in Hillsborough, North Carolina, Where the Republican Campaign Headquarters Was Fire Bombed by Persons Unknown

I write a blog for the ‘TIMES OF ISRAEL,’ mostly about Team Effectiveness, Creativity, and Innovation, quiet stuff that helps some people, I hope. Once I squeezed in a blog about North Carolina where I live, not a big story, but quirky stuff that interested me, about 1,000 deformed pine trees in my town.

So imagine my shock when a big news story broke about Hillsborough, North Carolina, a town I once lived in on King Street, long ago.  I remember when the people of the town had a big dispute about whether to change the spelling of its name in the late 1960s from Hillsboro to it’s current name, Hillsborough, actually its original historical name.

Hillsborough is one of those old small southern towns (current population about 6,100), established in 1754, before the American-British Revolutionary War. The famous British General Cornwallis and his troops passed through Hillsborough, and stayed a while, on their way to Yorktown where Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington, ending that liberating war. Hillsborough people share their pride in their distant role in that incident.

A scant 11 miles south of Hillsborough you will find Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where I once also lived and was a professor at the University of North Carolina. After retirement, I wrote weekly columns for the Chapel Hill Herald, some of which focused on people and events in Hillsborough.

I mention all this so you can understand my startled response to reading about the fire bombing incident in a major story in the ‘TIMES OF ISRAEL’ (and everywhere else in the world). It was a big story about a little North Carolina town in which I once lived and knew well.

The October 19, 2016, story by reporter Bill Barrow in the ‘TIMES OF ISRAEL’ headlined (and said it wonderfully well)…

“At firebombed campaign office, Pence slams ‘political terrorism’ Republican VP hopeful defends claim election will be ‘rigged,’ says Trump supporters will not be ‘intimidated’ by attack” 

WOW. This was heady stuff to me. Bill Barrow’s excellent story went on to say that: “North Carolina authorities are still investigated the firebombing, which happened sometime overnight Saturday into Sunday. No one was injured.” Well, that’s a relief.

So far as I know, this is the first time a political campaign office was firebombed in the USA, and we all hope it is the last time we are subjected to such a horrific and totally unwelcome incident. It now remains the task of the Hillsborough police, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the SBI (State Bureau of Investigation), and the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), to find the evil doers and bring an end to this matter.

I must confess I was tempted to drive the three hours from my home in North Carolina to Hillsborough. Luckily my cooler self prevailed and I stayed home, realizing that a three hour drive to somewhere was really a six hour round trip. Instead I telephoned an acquaintance in law enforcement and asked about the case, and got nowhere at all.

I suppose we can speculate about who did it: a Democrat, a Libertarian, a Green, a Republican, some college students, some fraternity or sorority members, some farmers, an ex-spouse, a good old boy, an unhappy citizen, a disgruntled tax payer, or a childish prankster, but I view that activity as a useless, provocative struggle best left to law enforcement. After all, it is easy and at the same time futile to make a list of the suspects and accuse someone without evidence, so tear up your list, and no more firebombs, please.


Ed Glassman is a retired professor from the University Of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and a former columnist for the Chapel Hill Herald and the (Raleigh, North Carolina) Triangle Business Journal.

About the Author
Ed Glassman, Ph.D., is professor emeritus and former head of the "Program for Team Effectiveness and Creativity," in the medical school of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was also a visiting fellow at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina.