Saturday, April 20, 2013

was there ever any doubt?

As I tried to say earlier, theories that the Boston Marathon bombing were somehow linked to home-grown Tim McVeigh types or to Kim Jeong-eun (for God's sakes, what??) were asinine, as were the calls for "open-minded" consideration of who the guilty parties might be. It didn't take a genius to figure out that this was another instance of Islamic extremism, and sure enough, the perpetrators—caught with incredible swiftness by local and federal law-enforcement authorities—turned out to be two disaffected Chechen Muslims who were both biological brothers and brothers in arms. One sibling is now dead; the other was caught while bleeding from wounds suffered during a firefight.

I do respect the folks who caution us about jumping to conclusions. A witch-hunt mentality is never constructive. At the same time, when something is so plainly obvious that the only reason to turn aside from the obvious has to do with one's delusional ideology, well... that's not very constructive, either.

There's no triumph or Schadenfreude in saying "I told you so" here. I only wish certain politically correct folks would wake up, put aside their blinders, and stop pretending reality isn't real. These types are the ones written about by Douglas Adams: they'll go on to prove that black is white and get themselves killed on the next zebra crossing.

UPDATE: Comedian/provocateur Pat Condell on the distinction between "liberal" versus "progressive," a spiel that deals in part with the degree to which progressives are (willfully) divorced from reality.

UPDATE 2: Malcolm writes on how the plot has thickened around that "person of interest," a Saudi national tackled on the scene by authorities soon after the Boston Marathon bombing.

UPDATE 3: a quote found on Instapundit that seems relevant to the issue of reality-distortion:

So, the reason why conservatives get irked when “right wing” is used in reference to major acts of violence — often without an iota of evidence to back it up — is that the term “right wing” is broadly applied by the media to the entire conservative movement. I don’t think “right-wing” Jennifer Rubin and Sheldon Adelson get pumped every April for Hilter’s birthday, that “right-wing think tanks” like the Heritage Foundation burst out the champagne on the Columbine anniversary, or that “right-wing rock star” Scott Walker is a big fan of the Oklahoma City bombing.



Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Because there were two explosions, the terrorist attack fit the Islamist method of operations -- kill innocents by surprise, then kill the innocents running to help.

I mention the point to a colleague at work, but I didn't blog on the point because I didn't want to chance being wrong and accused of prejudice.

Jeffery Hodges

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Kevin Kim said...

I think the only people who'd have accused you of prejudice are members of the PC brigade who deliberately refuse to put 2 and 2 together. You've zeroed in on exactly the evidence that convinced me this attack was Islamist.

SJHoneywell said...

And yet it is still dismissive to suggest it couldn't have been the home-grown, McVeigh type. I'm far left of you in general and my first and immediate thought was still fundamental Islam with this as well. However:

Attacks occurred on April 15, the day taxes are due.
Attacks occurred in the same week as the Senate vote on background checks for guns.
Attacks occurred in a city highly associated with American freedoms and specifically American opposition to what is deemed an unfair tax.

Suggesting the possibility that this had come from home-grown, extreme Tea Party types seriously isn't out of the ballpark. Sure, all of that is circumstantial, but compelling when there aren't any facts known.

I'm not surprised it was Islamic, but I wouldn't have been surprised if it had been a warped protest of the current administration, either.

Kevin Kim said...


I think that the plausibility of the "homegrown" theory stems from a serious misunderstanding of Tea Party types and their right-leaning ilk. The media-generated stereotype is that these dumb hicks'll fuckin' kill ya' as soon as look atcha', which just ain't true. About the only major violent incident I can think of involving someone pissed off about taxes was that dude who flew his light plane into a small building in 2010 as a protest against the IRS. (Joseph Stack: see here.)

I wasn't at all moved by the wild-eyed speculation related to Tax Day. I mean, come on—Tax Day? That's the cause célèbre? By that reckoning, April 15 should pretty much be "Pick Your Own Reason for Celebrating April 15" Day. We'd have been sifting through speculation a lot longer if authorities had taken those alternative theories more seriously.

Of course, I concede that a miscarriage of justice is within the realm of the logically possible. Charging off to round up every Muslim in Boston, without having gathered any evidence at all, would have been appalling, and thank goodness that didn't happen.

I suppose I could put my position this way: if I had been the one in charge of allocating resources to tracking down the perpetrators, 80% of my resources would have gone immediately to focusing on Muslim terrorism. The remaining 20% would have been devoted to the quackery, and would have been quickly redirected to helping the 80% once my hunch had been confirmed.

Again, I concede that hunches can be wrong: with McVeigh in 1995, for example, most of the US was initially convinced that the Murrah Building's destruction was the result of Muslim fanatics. When it wasn't, that was egg on a lot of people's faces. So you see, I'm not trying to be unreasonable, here; I actually think my hunch (and yours, apparently, as well) is perfectly rational.

In other news: I may not like it very much, but I offer grudging praise to the Saudi government for its recent public condemnation of this and all acts of Islamic terrorism.

SJHoneywell said...

Yeah, that was more or less my point. Inductive reasoning is good to a certain extent, but even if all of the observations are correct, the conclusion reached can be the wrong one. As I said, my first thought was Islamic fundamentalists. My second wasn't tax day, but the background check vote or something related.

And while I don't think the entire Tea Party is made up of bumpkins, as the Boston event has shown, you only need one or two people with faulty wiring to cause a huge mess. Are you completely willing to vouch for the sanity of all of them?

Kevin Kim said...

Of course there'll be nutters out there; for any random sample of humanity, I'm sure there's some sort of bell-curve distribution in which most sane folks occupy the fat part of the bell curve, while the crazies are the outliers.

The question for me, though, was how anyone could seriously speculate, in this particular case, that the cause of the bombing was anything but Islamic terrorism. Sure, at the abstract level, any theory might merit consideration, but if you're thinking practically, then you do have to focus your resources more on one theory than on another. Which theory should merit the most serious consideration? Common sense suggests only one answer in this case, and really—it wouldn't have taken a deductive genius to puzzle this one out.

So other theories that have nothing to do with Islamic terrorism can have their day. They should be given all due consideration, but the operative word is "due."