Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fear and Self Affirming Blame in Boston

The cacophony of conflicting information adds self-inflicted insult to the injury of the bombing of the Boston Marathon on Monday. There’s a suspect now, we are told, but no arrest yet.

In the face of horrific random violence, people want to cling to whatever shred of certainty they have. If we can confirm our worldview in the face of such a terrible and unpredictable event, it will give us some miniscule piece of mind perhaps. We may be relatively helpless in the face of terror, but at least we’ll be right about who’s bombing us now.

Therefore we saw many people predicting government conspiracies, right-wing fringe groups, and Islamic terrorists. The Internet was alight with conspiracy theories before the debris settled on Boston’s Boylston Street.

Personally, I doubled down on Muslims being the perpetrator(s). Muslims can be counted on to blow shit up with a mind to take out lots of innocent people. Also, the same day as the bombing, Al Qaeda executed a series of bomb attacks in Iraq that killed 61 people. Also, the mailing of ricin to political leaders could be part of the same coordinated terror effort, with Al Qaeda trying to relive its September 2001 attacks.

Maybe I’ll eat crow. Maybe it will be a lone wolf just wanted to get their jollies killing people.

Either way, we’re going to shake this off and get back to business like champs. Let’s bring the bomber or bombers to swift justice and learn whatever lessons we can from it to prevent another bombing. Let the people of Boston overcome this horror quickly so we can go back to hating them again.

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