For all we know it could have been the Penguin Liberation Front
By Doug Porter
Rumors flew. They got shot down.
First there were three bombs. Then there were five. Then there was a related explosion at Boston’s JFK library. Twelve people were dead, according to the New York Post. Authorities were questioning a Saudi man as a ‘person of interest’.
All those things turned out to be wrong.
The media’s self generated pressure to be ‘first’ with breaking news was only slightly less ridiculous than the rumors flying over Twitter.
What seems to be true as I’m writing this is that two and only two bombs were set off. Three people are dead, including an eight year old boy from Dorchester, Massachusetts whose mother and sister were injured in the blast. The New York Times this morning says 176 people were treated at area hospitals for bomb related injuries and that 17 were critically injured.
Who Did It?
Again, tons of speculation was spewed, almost none of it factual.
Fox news talking head Eric Rush was one of the first out the gate, reacting to rumors about a Saudi person of interest. In Tweets (later deleted) he said:
“Everybody do the National Security Ankle Grab. Let’s bring more Saudis in without screening them! C’ mon!
“Yes, they’re evil. Let’s kill them all.”
Assorted members of the news media mentioned the possibility that the bombing might have come from a right wing militia group, given that it was Patriot Day in Massachusetts.
Nobody’s claimed credit. For all we know it could have been the Penguin Liberation Front, a group I just (hopefully) invented off the top of my head.
Here’s the best (IMO) analysis I’ve seen in print this morning, from the Los Angeles Times:
Indeed, some terrorism experts said they were puzzled by the selection of the Boston Marathon as a target. The race is a major event that attracts runners worldwide, but it lacks the high international symbolism of some other terrorist targets, including Times Square, the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. That choice may also lend credence to the theory that the attacker or attackers had ties to the Boston area.
“Those previous attempts on Times Square and the New York subway, had they succeeded, would have been substantially more lethal than this,” said Philip Mudd, a former senior CIA and FBI official and an expert in Al Qaeda operations. “Objectively I would say it leads me to question whether there is substantial overseas involvement. You’ve got basic devices without an iconic target.”
Who Didn’t Do It?
There would appear to be a whole cottage industry in the United States of conspiracy theorists, willing to blame just about anything that happens on the government. And those people were out front and center yesterday even before the wounded had reached the hospital.
The Marathon bombings were, they asserted, a false flag government operation designed (mostly likely) to justify seizing guns from Second Amendment loving citizens.
A Google search for “false flag Boston” turns up more than 1.5 million results this morning. I’ve decided not to link to, or even name any of the people pushing this stuff. It’s such obvious crap and a waste of time.
I say it’s highly improbable that the marathon bombings were part of a vast left wing, right wing or Muslim conspiracy. The Islomophobes in the US are sharpening their knives, hoping to gin up fear and loathing wherever possible.
What happened in Boston was a criminal act. I have no doubt that somebody somewhere who has an axe to grind thinks they made a statement yesterday. Whoever set off those bombs needs to be brought to account for their actions. It really doesn’t make any difference what that statement was. Unless we let it.
Why Boston is Different than 9/11
Are we to be defined by fear? That is the question.
The answer to that question is what differentiates yesterday’s acts of terror from those that took place on 9/11.
The reactions of people in Boston and around the country are vastly different. We (most of us, anyway) have learned something over the past decade-plus.
The stories of acts of human kindness, the accounts of the great work of the first responders (that’s why taxes are important!) and the ordinary people who jumped in to rescue their fellow human beings are the story.
Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
PS- I will publish a second edition of The Starting Line shortly with more about today’s news. I just wanted to get the Boston story off my desk first.
PPS- My old friend Chip Berlet, who’s spent his life poking around in the dark corners of our society, had these words of wisdom that I’d like to share:
10 Thoughts on the Boston Bombing
More mourning and prayers.
Lot’s of praise for all the first responders.
Less speculation and gossip.
Keep in mind that not all acts of violence are terrorism.
Realize that terrorism can be carried out by individuals, groups, or governments.
Talk to friends and family for support.
Don’t spread rumors or more anxiety in any way.
Confront the attention-seeking conspiracists spreading lies. Their swill is toxic to democracy.
The FBI has not stopped numerous acts of terrorism, they have entrapped numerous hapless people and then busted them for headlines.
Whoever is responsible, do not blame entire groups of people based on their political leanings, religion, or race.
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