Boston Terrorist Attack: Speculation Abounds, Despite No Evidence
In the wake of the tragic bombing of the Boston Marathon on Monday in which 176 were injured, 17 of whom remain in critical condition, and an additional death toll of three perished including eight-year-old Martin Richard, the quest for answers has begun. As the media attempts to answer the thirst of the public for some type of explanation for the tragedy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has stepped in to take the reigns of the investigation.
The investigation quickly set off speculation as law enforcement officials searched an apartment in Revere, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Boston police and federal officials would only say that the search was related to the attack on Monday. But the search for answers in the wake of Monday's tragedy is leaving people on edge.
Despite President Barack Obama's plea in his speech in the wake of the tragedy "that on days like this there are no Republicans or Democrats — we are Americans, united in concern for our fellow citizens," Congress and the media punditry immediately ground itself into political and policy speculation speculation. Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) said that if the bombing came from a foreign individual or organization, that Capitol Hill would need to take a look at immigration in the context of "the big picture." Immigration is one of King's personal issues.
New York Times op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof shamed Senate Republicans for holding up the appointment of a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, saying in a now deleted tweet, "Explosion is a reminder that ATF needs a director. Shame on Senate Republicans for blocking apptment." Kristof later apologized publicly on Twitter for his early comments,
The quest to quench the public's thirst for information will be long given that this is an ongoing investigation. Although right-wing extremist Timothy McVeigh was arrested within two hours of the Oklahoma City Bombing that killed 168 and wounded 680, the speed of his arrest is an aberration compared to other incidents. The 1993 World Trade Center Bombing by Islamic terrorists did not see arrests for roughly a week afterwards. The Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, took over 17 years to be arrested by the FBI.
Already some theories are being ruled out. The Pakistani branch of the Taliban issued a statement on Tuesday denying any involvement in the Boston bombing, with their spokesperson Ihsanullah Ihsan saying, "Wherever we find Americans we will kill them, but we don't have any connection with the Boston Explosions." Experts in Pakistan have said the group does not have the capability to carry out attacks in the United States.
But the media was quick to jump onto any connection that could be made for a suspect. The dominant rumor that raced through the media was started by the New York Post and claimed a Saudi national was in the process of being questioned in connection to the bombings, the hanging implication that they were a suspect. Fox News ran with the story along with several other media organization such as NBC. However, Boston Police later said at a press conference that no one was being held at as a suspect at all. And Tuesday morning, Frances Townsend, CNN contributor tweeted:
Lacking in details of the specifics of the attack speculation abounds in the media. British papers were quick to speculate on little to no information, inviting "experts" who claimed it could be foreign terrorism, domestic terrorism, or a lone bomber scenario. Conveniently this response covers nearly every possible scenario outside of conspiracy theories and informs readers desperate for news with absolutely nothing.
The public and the media are desperately searching for answers in the wake of this tragedy. But the horrible reality of the situation is that it may be a long time before any clear idea of the "who" and "why" of this attack emerges.