Last night, it ended. The people of metropolitan Boston can relax, for the time being.
I happened to be in the Boston area when the bombs went off at finish line of the marathon. I was with my son visiting colleges in the suburbs when my sister called me in a state of distress. Her husband is a Boston Police captain who is normally stationed at the finish line on Patriots Day. Thankfully, this year he was asked to be elsewhere in the city at that fateful moment.
Still, he rushed to Boylston Street, along with just about every fellow police officer who could be found. The captain did not return home until the next morning, at which point he caught a few hours of sleep and went back to work. All Boston police were told they would be working 12-hour shifts until further notice. The work of medical professionals, along with local, state and federal law enforcement authorities was nothing short of spectacular — to say nothing of brave and heroic.
I followed the news on social media for the next several days. I was astonished at how quickly some people politicized the event. There were lefties on Twitter who were pushing the narrative that the bombing must have been the work of an NRA-inspired right-wing militia goon.
As Mark Steyn reported, NPR was also pushing this narrative.
“The thinking, as we have been reporting, is that this is a domestic extremist attack,” declared Dina Temple-Raston, NPR’s “counterterrorism correspondent.” “Officials are leaning that way largely because of the timing of the attack. April is a big month for anti-government and right-wing individuals. There’s the Columbine anniversary, there’s Hitler’s birthday, there’s the Oklahoma City bombing, the assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco.”
Others, such as Salon’s David Sirota, were openly rooting for the suspect(s) to be from white American.
I also saw right-wingers, many of whom are now gloating over the faulty logic of Temple-Raston and Sirota, who were unjustifiably sure that this act was the handiwork of a Muslim extremist from an overseas terrorist network. As is so often the case, the truth is somewhere in between.
The alleged perps were naturalized Americans. They were also Caucasians in the literal sense of the word since they were native to the Caucasus region. However, they were Muslims who had likely been radicalized while living in the U.S. But so far this incident does not appear to be the result of an extensive and coordinated 9/11-style operation.
The question on everyone’s mind is whether this is the beginning of smaller radical-Islam-inspired terror attacks on the U.S. I’ve always thought the best way al Qaeda and its affiliates could make Americans afraid was not through spectacular attacks such as 9/11. After all, folks living outside the major cities and landmarks never really felt threatened by such grandiosity.
But more frequent — and smaller — targeted attacks against citizens in the Heartland would set everyone’s teeth on edge. Send a Hamas-style suicide bomber into a crowded Kiwanis Club tent on the 4th of July in Iowa and no one in this country will feel safe. The effect would be to instill terror in every American.
Thankfully, the terrorist groups aren’t smart enough to figure that out — yet.