April 17th, 2013


Sometimes, the Internet does make things a little realer

The past six weeks have been beyond insane, as all of my deadlines have begun to crash in on me. But one of them has been the overriding priority: getting moved out of my house. Pretty much everybody I talked to agreed that, if I want to sell a house like this (well-suited to families with kids) efficiently, getting it on the market in the spring is essential.

So there were the mad packing parties (my thanks to everybody who came and helped), the big day with Gentle Giant, and in-between me spending practically all my waking hours there, packing and packing and packing.

(And a zillion trips to storage, and I believe nine full carloads so far to Goodwill. And of course, the epic trip to NH with 45 boxes of books to give to the Five Colleges Book Sale, which pretty much made *their* month. If you happen to be in Lebanon, NH this weekend, go to the book sale -- a fair fraction of it came from me.)

Today, for the first time in a *very* long time, I can't really come up with any reason why I need to spend any time there. I need to swing past and exchange cars (the Matrix is living there until I sell it, but I have it with me today to drop some stuff off in storage), and I need to check in on the enormous number of things I'm Freecycling (all of which I'm just leaving in the carport and telling people to come take them away), but the house is done. I finished packing the interior on Friday; the cleaners came Saturday; the first open house was Sunday; and yesterday I fetched the last items I really cared about. (Eg, bringing my bicycle to WheelWorks so I can start using it in town.)

But somehow, the thing that drives home that I'm really selling the house is finding that, yes, it's listed right there online. The project is now in the hands of the Stockmans. (My realtors, who are blessedly the sort of people I can just tell to make things happen and they deal with it nicely.)

So I am now starting to slowly get back to all my other projects -- and hopefully, soon, stop being quite so stressed-out. This one isn't quite "done", but my part of it mostly is...

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...