We don’t know what happened yet in Boston. Most people are holding back from blaming anyone yet. Some on the left are blaming right-wingers. Right-wingers are blaming Islamists. Islamists are denying involvement. Right-wingers are attacking left-wingers for blaming right-wingers. And far-right-wingers are saying it might even be a false-flag operation to start a war in Iran.
A few key elements have been pointed out: the bombing occurred on Tax Day, a day anti-government extremists are strongly offended by; the day coincided with Patriot’s Day, a day many of these same groups consider significant.
Less indicative of a source but still of note are the facts that the bombings were home-made devices, pressure-cookers, with crude shrapnel, packed into duffel bags—a weapon anyone could use, but leans towards domestic in nature; and the target was in Boston, a city identified with left-wing politics.
The general timing also coincides somewhat with Waco; although the siege ended in fire on April 19th, it was ongoing for a month and a half previous to that. Also, the Boston Marathon may have been too “good” a target to wait another four days.
Pointing away from an Islamist terror bombing is the lack of anyone claiming responsibility.
Right-wingers are quickly and sometimes preemptively denying right-wing involvement. Glenn Beck, for example, quickly came out with the defense that, “when our crazies go off, they target the government.” Other right-wing sites are simply venting that a few on the left are making such suggestions, while the comment sections of the articles sport a fair number of people claiming it was a false-flag attack by liberals to make conservatives look bad. (You may fully expect, when a suspect is named, that right-wing blogs will be rife with the phrase “Registered Democrat,” no matter what the suspect’s orientation.)
One thing that is kind of hard to ignore: while we are still a ways off from knowing who did it or why, the evidence definitely leans towards the right-wing-extremist theory. Not that this is what conservatives want—they are decrying this as evil as much as anyone else—more likely, if such extremists are responsible, they are likely crazies with their own deluded ideas.
It does, however, bring back into focus the fact that the rhetoric on the right is often fuel for such fires—one reason, perhaps, there is so much pushback from conservatives against what is now the most likely theory.
It may turn out it was just a demented non-political loon looking for thrills and attention, or who knows, maybe an extremist from an country we haven’t even considered yet. However, there is no bad time for discussing the dialing back of violent extremist rhetoric in our national dialog. I don’t think that it is too much to ask that this kind of messaging be denounced by everyone, whether or not it had anything to do with this week’s attack.