The unprovoked attack by a stranger on a farm family sent shock waves throughout the whole of Minnesota two years ago. Michael Zabawa drove his truck into a ditch one snowy night and then went to the nearest farmhouse for help — and left a husband and son dead, a mother and wife badly injured. No one had the foggiest idea why anyone would do such a heinous thing.
But Jon Tevlin of the Minneapolis StarTribune has discovered some unsettling information about Michael Zabawa — information I had never before seen or heard in the two years this case has been in the public eye locally. Michael’s father, Donald Zabawa, was deeply involved in right-wing terror groups throughout the 1980s and 1990s, including the Posse Comitatus, the Christian Patriots Defense League, and the Christian Identity movement led by James Wickstrom, who he counted as a friend. The elder Zabawa once shot up a police car, beat up a GI in a bar using nunchaku, and traveled all over the Midwest, particularly in Kansas, plotting other violent actions with his Posse associates. He finally met his end in bizarre Spinal Tap fashion, choking on his own vomit after a night of heavy drinking in 1998, when his son Michael was fifteen. When Tevlin told a sheriff in Kansas that Donald Zabawa’s son had been arrested for murder, the sheriff replied "I’m not surprised one bit."
And yet it took two years for this to come out.
So I guess it shouldn’t be so surprising that it took over two months for it to come out to the world outside of Belfast, Maine that what had originally been depicted as a simple domestic-based shooting is what stopped a potential right-wing white-supremacist dirty bomber in his tracks. Or that the father of the would-be dirty bomber in Maine was himself cut from the same obnoxious cloth as his son, and ended up being shot to death himself as a result. (By the way, here’s the FBI report on Jim Cummings, Jr., the Maine dirty-bomber wannabee.) One wonders what else we’re not hearing about.