In defense of sanity after the Boston Marathon Bombings

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I don’t generally like to get in to politics. I’m a tech geek. But this is my personal website, click next if you don’t want to read this one. I, for one, need to vent. For historical reference of anyone reading this in the future: less than 3 days ago, make-shift bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

4Chan is a members only website. For geeks. It is the birthplace of many of the Internet’s most popular memes. They posted several pictures, including some circling a girl’s butt in spandex, and labeled “DaBombs.” Alex Jones posted these pictures on his website (which I will not link to because he is a hate monger) under the headline “Boston bombing culprits identified?” It’s very obvious that he and his web-lackeys ripped the images from 4Chan and pasted them as “news” without “proofing” them in the least, all for a few more web-hits and promoting his next podcast.

But before those photos were posted, I still had to hear things like some very depressing things from people I know from several walks of life. Let me explain.

After I hear the horrific news, I first come home from work and hop on Twitter, only to find the now infamous tweet from Erik Rush wanting to kill all the Muslims (later retracted and called a joke), and Alex Jones flying his “FalseFlag” twitter hashtag as though this was some kind of government conspiracy. Then complaints and finger pointing came. “Radical right wing groups!” “Radical leftists!” Example given: the Black Panthers. Really? The Black Panthers haven’t been that relevant in 25 years. Sure there was a little talk here and there of them intimidating people at polling places in the last election, but there were also reports of people not being able to vote without ID’s, even though there was no law enacted requiring such things. So I think that’s basically a draw. And I suppose the tax day thing could be someone who was more anti-government, but do I think it was someone like Alex Jones or one of his super-fans? Uh, yeah, I have my doubts about that.

Then I heard “I swear, if they come out and say this isn’t some sort of foreign attack, and they think it’s a bunch of right wingers, I’m going to be very suspicious.” WHY? Because you want so badly to perpetuate stereotypes and hate people who aren’t exactly like you? It’s so very sad that you will only believe the investigators if they come up with the exact conclusion you want them to. Anything else, and it must be a lie! This is a level of paranoia I had no idea existed, but it’s everywhere., famous rumor debunking site, has been working tirelessly to defuse rumors around the Boston Marathon, but people would rather believe something that some teenager Photoshopped to get a rise out of someone, than research the truth. Why people perpetuate sickening rumors like this is one thing I will never understand.

Then the 4Chan photos were posted…

Most important, and above all, it is vital to remember that YOU LIVE IN AMERICA. EVERYONE IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. Now, for those of you who have forgotten this, let me point out why it is so very important that you remember it right now: these pictures were not released by any official authority, but rather circulated by “the internet” at large. The people in these pictures are not suspects, are not wanted for questioning, and are not “the ones who did it.” Not until it is proven in a court of law, and only if the law even decides it needs to talk to these people. Let’s go over some of the pictures, shall we?

Wow, that backpack does look similar. And he is carrying it in a strange way – but it’s been a long day, we’re 4 hours in to the race, who knows how early the spectators got up to get spots near the finish line, sometimes you’ve got to shift the weight around. “Look at that beard,” I was told, “He looks Israeli.” Alright, first, the Israeli’s like us. Ya’know, in the general context of things, and at least right now. Second, are you saying that nobody but foreign terrorists have beards!?

Yeah, only terrorists have beards.

Here is what appears to be a better angle of the same guy:

Okay, the backpack thing is still weird. But in this picture, this guy doesn’t look much different from a lot of people I know. He even looks a little spaced out and disheveled. You know who else is disheveled, bearded, wears strange un-matching clothes, and carries things awkwardly? The homeless. Shopping carts piled high with trash and recyclables and everything they own crammed in to one bag? It’s entirely possible that this guy isn’t a threat in the least, just a citizen of Boston! But fine, let’s check out another good one:

Woah, those dudes look MILITARY! Look at those boots, and the hat has some kind of badge, and the pants, with those pockets…

No, they don’t look military. They look militant. There is a difference. You do know that I could walk in to a department store and a sporting goods store and walk out with those same outfits, right? Just because those guys are in better shape than big ol’ fatty magoo, they have to be military? Alright, I grant you that the backpacks are suspicious, and they do like they’re heavily loaded up… but why jump on the government / military conspiracy? I know lots of people with darker skin than that guy, it doesn’t mean he’s a foreign nationalist, it doesn’t mean he’s a secret agent from another country, or a government plant from our own. Why is it so important to you that this can’t just be something horrific plotted by a few people? Why does it need to be something bigger?

Again, the above people could be completely innocent, they could be among the dead or injured, they could be the most guilty people in the world – and if so I certainly can’t wait until the culprits are caught. I’m not defending anyone’s actions, here, I’m defending sanity. I’m tired of people jumping to conclusions, I’m tired of people disagreeing with or refusing to wait for facts. If you think the government is going to declare Martial Law and you’re wondering why the National Guard hasn’t left yet, it’s only because you’re paranoid. We’re not even 72 hours out from this tragedy, and you’re already worried about some secret government plot to overthrow Boston? Stop.

I’m pleading on behalf of sanity, stop. Whoever is starting these rumors? Stop. Whoever is perpetuating these rumors? Stop. Whoever will refuse to accept any result except the result they are expecting? Stop. The country is in mourning. A city is in pain. If the Yank’s and Bo’Sox can put their differences aside for a few days? You can take a step back and stop worrying about conspiracies and radical groups and possible outcomes. Just stop.

UPDATE: For the record, the FBI released photos of “Suspect 1” and “Suspect 2” today (below). None of the above are described even so much as persons of interest. See what I said? Stop letting your minds run wild with fantasy.