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What was at fault
Information still seems to be scant about Monday's events. Given the amount of photographic evidence, I suspect that the FBI will catch whoever did it, but it's still too early to make any sensible guesses as to who will turn out to be the culprit. Some on the left is desperate to pin it on fundamentalist militias, the right on arab terrorists; personally, I think it's about equally likely to be either, or some completely other cause. IMO, it's staggeringly irresponsible to be using this to drive partisan wedges, *especially* in the absence of any reasonably concrete information.

But I *will* make one guess, based on history, and I'd much rather say it now, before we know *who* was responsible. Ultimately, I would bet that one deep cause here was hate speech. Bombings like this are usually perpetrated by sad extremists (and this amateurish an attack was likely done by a small group), but even the isolated loonies -- maybe especially them -- generally get their triggers from outside.

The culprit of an act like this is usually angry with the world -- they feel disenfranchised and weak, and want to lash out at *somebody*. And along comes somebody preaching hate: hate against an ethnicity, a religion, a country, a class -- really, it almost doesn't matter who the target is. But the hate speech makes them into Other, and specifically an Other that has it coming to them. The message has to be sent -- loudly. And that excuse makes it easier to rationalize an act of simple evil.

We'll see -- I expect there will be some twists to the story yet. But I'd bet good money that when all is said and done, we're going to find a web browser whose history is full of nicely targeted bile. And in the resulting morass of partisan denunciations, rationalizations and conspiracy theories, everyone will forget the basic underlying lesson: when somebody does an effective job of preaching hate -- ANY hate -- this is what happens. Sadly, the end result is fairly likely to be the excuse for the next nutjob who can read basic bomb-making instructions...

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Yes, I bet you're right.

Humanity's tendency to divide people into "us" versus "them," has become a real problem for us.

That, and our desire for vengeance.

Edited at 2013-04-17 10:25 pm (UTC)

The desire for vengeance (bad as it is) isn't as much of a problem if it isn't joined with the us vs them issue. Finding the one or few people who did this and punishing them *might* even have a positive effect on the world. Assuming there is a 'them' and attempting to punish all of them, or even not caring about whether one of 'them' is guilty, and happens to get in the way of some punishment, that is where this escalates.

I expect you are right. And this type of bomb has been in use for 40 years; it's not like it's some kind of secret.

Bombings like this are usually perpetrated by sad extremists...

I bet you've called it correctly.

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