some uncomfortable thoughts on the marathon bombing

I heard about the bombs at the Boston marathon about twenty minutes after they were detonated. My first thought — and it was an ugly thought — was this: homegrown terrorists. Why did I think that? Three reasons.

First, today was Patriot’s Day in New England. Homegrown terrorists invariably think of themselves as patriots. Whether they’re part of the Sovereign Citizen movement, anti-tax protesters, white supremacists, neo-Confederates, Posse Comitatus, Christian Identity members, racist skinheads, Constitutional Patriot militia groups, Christian Patriot Defense League — they all devoutly believe they are the True Americans. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them act on Patriot’s Day.

Second, today was the traditional deadline for filing US income taxes. For a lot of so-called ‘patriots’ the notion of paying your taxes is seen as government oppression.

Third, this week ends on April 19th, which is an important date in the warped mythos of anti-goverment hate groups.  It’s the date on which the American Revolutionary War started in 1775 (which is why it’s celebrated as Patriot’s Day). Many anti-government groups refer to the war as the First American Revolution, suggesting another revolution is coming.

Battle of Concord and Lexington

Battle of Concord and Lexington

April 19th is also the date in 1985 on which the FBI and the BATF began the siege of the compound belonging to The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord. The CSA was a Christian Identity and white supremacist hate group, with affiliations with the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nations. In 1984 one member of CSA, Richard ‘Wayne’ Snell, murdered the owner of a pawn shop in the mistaken belief that he was Jewish. Shortly thereafter, Snell murdered an African-American police officer. He was caught, tried, and sentenced to death. Richard ‘Wayne’ Snell — remember this name.

covenant sword

April 19th is the date in 1993 on which the siege of the Branch-Davidian compound in Waco, Texas ended. The BATF and the FBI had surrounded the compound for 50 days; on the 51st they decided to move in. A fire was ignited inside the compound, resulting in the deaths of 76 members of the Branch-Davidians. The government maintains the fires were started by members of the group themselves; anti-government groups claim the men, women, and children inside the compound were deliberately killed.

Branch-Davidian compound

Branch-Davidian compound

Even though most anti-government groups disagree with the religious philosophies of the Branch-Davidians, they still see the Waco siege in terms of a conspiracy — primarily because the underlying criminal complaint against members of the compound involved the possession of illegal weapons. Several anti-government activists traveled to Waco during the 50 day siege as a show of support. One of them was Timothy McVeigh, who was briefly interviewed by a local news affiliate.

Timothy McVeigh at Waco

Timothy McVeigh at Waco

Two years later, on April 19th, 1995, Richard ‘Wayne’ Snell — the member of The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord community convicted of murdering a pawn broker and a black police officer — was executed by the State of Arkansas. Christian patriots believed the date chosen for his execution was a deliberate insult.

On the morning of his execution, Snell asked the correctional officer assigned to his death team if he could watch the news on CNN. The officer agreed. Shortly after he changed the station, CNN reported a breaking news story. A massive bomb had been detonated outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. According to the death watch log, Snell “smiled and chuckled and nodded” as he watched the devastation. It’s worth noting that a decade earlier, Snell and one of his CSA compatriots had planned to attack that very same building. Their plan was scrapped when one of the rocket launchers they’d acquired for the assault malfunctioned and exploded.

Alfred P. Murrah Building, Oklahoma City, OK

Alfred P. Murrah Building, Oklahoma City, OK

Snell was unrepentant. A few hours after watching the destruction of the Murrah Building, moments before being given a lethal injection, Snell spoke his last words — a threat to the Governor of Arkansas:

“Governor Tucker, look over your shoulder; justice is coming. I wouldn’t trade places with you or any of your cronies. Hell has victories. I am at peace.”

Timothy McVeigh, who’d visited Waco to show his support for the Branch-Davidians, killed 168 men, women, and children that morning — April 19, 1995. He stated he’d chosen the site and the date intentionally.

Timothy McVeigh, terrorist

Timothy McVeigh, terrorist

Obviously, I’ve no idea who is responsible for this horror. What I know is my immediate thoughts turned to homegrown terrorists and hate-mongers. I hope that’s not the case. I also hope it wasn’t foreign terrorists. That leaves me in the unappealing position of hoping the bombing was the work of a lone crank — an angry, delusional individual who decided to punish humanity because his satellite television was disconnected or because he was ordered to do it by the voice of Siri in his iPhone.

If it was a lone crank, then we’re not in for more bombings leading to April 19th. If it was a lone crank, then Islamophobes might stop foaming at the mouth. If it was a lone crank, then it’s a mental health issue, not a terrorist conspiracy.

I hope it’s a lone crank. But I’m afraid it probably isn’t.

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “some uncomfortable thoughts on the marathon bombing

  1. I heard some similar theories on the radio this morning in an interview with PJ Crowley. I’d just read your blog, so it resonated.
    I just keep wishing that all kinds of terrorists would understand that their acts don’t help them and only cause harm to innocent people. I’m also wishing for better healthcare, and maybe a
    psychic-software update for Siri.

    Like

    • The problem is that some terrorist strategies have nothing to do with directly helping their cause. Sometimes they’re an act of revenge or retaliation, sometimes they’re just an expression of free-floating rage, and sometimes they’re an attempt to provoke a governmental over-reaction that will (they hope) turn public opinion against the government.

      In almost every case, though, the lives of the victims are either overlooked or dismissed.

      Like

    • Based on what? I can see circumstantial reasons to think the bombing might point to domestic groups; I see nothing at all at this point that suggests it might be an act of Islamic terror.

      I’m not trying to provoke you, by the way. I’m really curious why you think Muslims are more likely behind this.

      Like

    • Besides the circumstantial reasons pointing toward home grown terrorists given above, there are other reasons why NOT to suspect Islamic terrorists. First off, homeland security law enforcement have openly stated that there was none of the usual “chatter” coming from the networks they monitor typically associated with Islamic terrorist activity. I’ll concede that this is highly questionable at best, which brings me to point number two. Islamic terrorists organizations are usually very quick to claim credit for their “work.” This has yet to happen. Which has me leaning more in the direction of the local variety of terrorist. That said, it’s all just speculation, and with speculation comes the dangerous and blurry risk of confusing fact with fiction.

      Like

  2. Sadly, I agree with you. Sept. 11 killed thousands and brought a major US city to a halt for months; this attack was an entirely different scale. The scenes that stick with me most are all those people rushing to help the fallen and hurt. One or two lunatics may have caused this situation, but hundreds upon hundreds bravely tried to help.

    Like

  3. You know what the problem with you little self hating turds is that you would rather it be a white person then a muslim person, why is that. because you are a self hating anti-white pos.

    Like

    • Let me make sure I’ve got this straight. I write ‘I hope it’s not a homegrown terrorist. I hope it’s not a foreign terrorist. I hope it’s a lone nut.’ And based on that, you’ve decided I want the jackass who planted these devices to be a white person? Oh, and that I hate white folks? Including myself?

      Dude, that’s some warped logic, right there.

      Like

  4. What I took away from this horrific event is that most people…no, make that almost all people, are good, giving and ethical. That made me feel a little better about humanity, too, Greg.

    Like

    • I think you could accurately say that ALL people have the capacity to be good and giving…but lawdy, some folks demonstrate a remarkable ability to suppress that capacity.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s