Non-Muslim Arrested with Explosives, Media Fail to Notice

On April 8, eight days before the Boston Marathon bombing, 27-year-old Mykyta Panasenko was arrested on a New Jersey Transit train carrying two homemade explosives. Specifically, Panasenko was found on a train leaving Hoboken, New Jersey, and bound for Suffern in upstate New York, carrying two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) consisting of a cylinder filled with Pyrodex, a black powder.

That’s a lot of dangerous materials to be carrying on a commuter train traveling through densely populated areas of northern New Jersey and midtown Manhattan.

Panasenko has been charged with “recklessly creating widespread risk of injury or damage to a building which normally contains 25 or more persons by constructing the explosive devices.” But for all this, as Areej Elahi-Siddiqui points out, there was no mention of Panasenko until last week when the Jersey Journal reported on his hearing at the Central Judicial Processing court on Wednesday. Why hadn’t the Jersey City police reported about him earlier?

Panasenko was not Muslim, dark-skinned or Midde Eastern, and Elahi-Siddiqui asserts that this — not that anyone would admit it — was why his arrest was not reported till after three weeks. Even then, the whole incident “still failed to grab any headlines by the usual fear-mongering news channels.” Panasenko was indeed caught before his explosive devices detonated and no one was hurt. Elahi-Siddiqui comments:

However, both the Underwear Bomber and the Times Square Car-Bomber had made headlines across America — for days, as I can vividly recall — despite the fact that their attempts at terrorizing innocents, too, had been just as unsuccessful. However, unlike Panasenko, they were the kind of terrorists who the media wants you to put a face to.

A native of  Kiev, Ukraine, Panasenko lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, and works as a mathematician for High 5 Games, which makes games for casinos. Someone who knew him reportedly tipped off authorities. Jersey City Police Deputy Chief, Peter Nalbach, says the Jersey City Policy Department’s Bomb Squad responded to Panasenko’s home after receiving information from the FBI and the NYPD. Materials used to make an explosive device were also found in his home.

Since media reports have appeared, Pashenko has been quoted in the Huffington Post as saying

“I decided, in a pretty foolish idea, to experiment with gunpowder and make little firework type things. I decided to take them to the woods somewhere where no one lives, and watch them explode, for fun – for lack of a better word. Of course this was a bad decision, I do admit that.”

Fireworks being illegal in New York and New Jersey, he could say “bad decision” quite a few times again.

According to a press release from Jersey City authorities provided late on Friday, “There is no indication at this point of the investigation that [Panasenko] intended to detonate a device in his building or on the transit system.” Panasenko was released without bail and now faces serious charges including creating a risk of widespread injury or damage, says Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Gene Rubino.

The Hudson County prosecutor also says that Panasenko “would not have been released without bail if anyone in law enforcement thought he posed a threat to the public.” In the Huffington Post, Panasenko also said that “because of misinformation, I now have to explain to everyone that I have no links to terrorism, which is pretty ridiculous.” Both the county prosecutor and Panasenko are underscoring his having anything to do with being a “threat to the public” (despite carrying explosive substances in public places). Would he have even been able to say the whole incident is “pretty ridiculous” if his circumstances had been different?

Related Care2 Coverage

How Even A Terrorist Can Buy Explosive Powders Without A Background Check

The Boston Bombings, Chechnya and the Tsarnaev Brothers

5 Reasons Panic is Not the Right Response

Photo via davidwhitewolf/Flickr


Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin2 years ago

If he'd been a muslim, carrying what some commenters judge as weak explosives, I would have been real surprised if he had been able to talk himself out of it, not to mention, being released without bail.

Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Kimberly J.
Kimberly J4 years ago

Dan B. Cheney & Perry helped to pass laws to keep the fertilizer plant from being inspected & allowing it to store more materials than it was legally allowed to.

Mari Garcia
Mari Garcia4 years ago

The media is very biased and has an agenda.

Jim N.
James N4 years ago

Ernest, evil doesn't have a skin color. Sure white guilt exists, for stupid whites. I only feel guilt when *I* have done something to feel bad about.

Ernest Roth
Ernest R4 years ago

“Panasenko was not Muslim, dark-skinned or Midde Eastern,” The Boston bombers were not Middle Eastern or dark skinned either, they were literally Caucasian. However they were Muslim, just like blond Muslims from Bosnia who also murder disobedient daughters. Can Care2 please knock off the racism ?

Ernest Roth
Ernest R4 years ago

"the usual fear-mongering news channels.” were quick to report the Boston bombing BEFORE there was any indication that it was a Muslim operation. @ Jim M. "I know, white people are evil and horrible" Many are, actually. But many of every other color are also. You may not feel white guilt, but you really should recognize it exists.

Ray P.
Ray P.4 years ago

This is unbelievable. The defense of Muslims in this country is astounding. The bombers bombed due to Islam and the media wants to blame it on everything else. If you can't name the enemy, how in God's name are we ever going to defeat it? The reason it wasn't reported was because it wasn't of a concern (have you read the articles out there about it?). You immediately jump on the "hey, look over here, regular white people might be thinking about doing something bad!". Islam is NOT a religion of peace no matter how much you and the other Muslim defenders of them want to convince the world they are. 21,000 acts of violence/terrorism and 99% of them were Muslims due to their "religion of peace".

Billie C.
Billie C4 years ago

i have news for you the boston terrorists are white. oops and they were reported on. my goodness this article sure has missed a few things in the racist department.
gotta play that race card even when it is not correct.

Sharon R.
Sharon R4 years ago

I agree with those who point out there was little story here to report. The guy had a weak form of explosives, apparently, and seemed to be out for his own bit of fun with them without hurting others. Meanwhile explosives are used in many Muslim countries to terrify their victims. Big difference, and that's also why many people associate Muslims with explosives.