It’s weird to post a long-mulled-over essay about potential violence in America only to find one’s social page filled up with actual violence. I already put a stake in this ground but I’m not crediting myself with any foresight. Nobody knows anything, except for the investigators. It’s tempting to guess, but stupid.
After the Oklahoma City bombing, the initial guessing on US news was that it was the work of Islamic extremists. Only three years earlier, followers of the “Blind Sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman had tried to destroy the World Trade Center with car bombs.
The night of the bombing I was with a friend, switching news channels along with most of America. At one point when she left the room, I added Univision to my rotation. I admit I was unsure of my Spanish when a University of California professor suggested it might be the work of Americans disaffected with their government.
It was days before I heard the same on Anglo media. Nobody knows anything.
At this writing, the bombers of the Boston Marathon are unknown, as are their motives. The Pakistani Taliban has already disavowed it, which is itself surreal. The Christian Science Monitor among many others notes April 15 was Tax Day in the United States, a big red day for anti-government types, and that bombing happened at the 26th mile, which had been dedicated to the recent victims of the school massacre in Newtown. Anything is possible.
At the Atlanta Olympics, a Eric Rudolph killed two and wounded 111 to protest abortion. It took a year to identify him and five years to catch him. The first person accused was Richard Jewell, the security guard who discovered the bomb and got many people to safety; but his former boss called the FBI and said he was a loser and a martinet, so everyone turned on him, the media quickest of all.
Thanks to the legendary William Goldman for my title. Back to creaky reflection next time.