James Joyner points out that the Keep Calm And Carry On graphic is showing up all over the ‘net
The Atlantic’s Bruce Schneier explains
As the details about the bombings in Boston unfold, it’d be easy to be scared. It’d be easy to feel powerless and demand that our elected leaders do something — anything — to keep us safe.
It’d be easy, but it’d be wrong. We need to be angry and empathize with the victims without being scared. Our fears would play right into the perpetrators’ hands — and magnify the power of their victory for whichever goals whatever group behind this, still to be uncovered, has. We don’t have to be scared, and we’re not powerless. We actually have all the power here, and there’s one thing we can do to render terrorism ineffective: Refuse to be terrorized.
It’s hard to do, because terrorism is designed precisely to scare people — far out of proportion to its actual danger. A huge amount of research on fear and the brain teaches us that we exaggerate threats that are rare, spectacular, immediate, random — in this case involving an innocent child — senseless, horrific and graphic. Terrorism pushes all of our fear buttons, really hard, and we overreact.
That’s are some good points. And we should not start the blame game, right, Bruce?
Terrorism, even the terrorism of radical Islamists and right-wing extremists and lone actors all put together, is not an “existential threat” against our nation. Even the events of 9/11, as horrific as they were, didn’t do existential damage to our nation. Our society is more robust than it might seem from watching the news. We need to start acting that way.
That’s weird. Blamestorming the right. Here’s one of the big writers at the NY Times
In a tweet during the aftermath of the apparent attacks, Nicholas Kristof wrote, “Explosion is a reminder that ATF needs a director. Shame on Senate Republicans for blocking apptment.”
He recanted the tweet later, showing that he has no cajones and also that he made his highly partisan point. And, of course, we have Chris Matthews
Just hours after explosions rocked the Boston Marathon on Monday, Chris Matthews speculated, “Normally domestic terrorists, people, tend to be on the far right.” He then reconsidered and suggested, “…That’s not a good category, just extremists, let’s call them that.”
During live coverage, the Hardball host highlighted a possible explosion at John F. Kennedy’s presidential library and thought this could be a personal attack on the Democratic Party: “…But going after the Kennedy Library, not something at Bunker Hill, not something from the Freedom Trail or anything that kind of historic, but a modern political figure of the Democratic Party. Does that tell you something?” (Police are now considering the incident at the JFK library to be fire-related.) One can only guess what it tells Chris.
And Chris Matthews and a sitting US Congress Critter, William Keating (D-Mass) wondering about extremists on “Tax Day”. And a CNN analyst. An Al Sharpton radio producer. Michael Moore. MSNBC’s Luke Russert. Balloon Juice blames the lone (right wing) gunman. Former MSNBC host Cenk Uygur threw in some raaaaacism for good measure. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow tells people not to speculate, but….
What’s more, there’s been considerable interest in the calendar — as the New York Times noted, this is a week that “has sometimes been seen as significant for radical American antigovernment groups.” Yesterday, for example, was Tax Day nationwide and Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts. This week is also the anniversary of the 1993 raid on the Branch Davidians in Waco, the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, Hitler’s birthday, and the massacre at Columbine High School.
Who did this and why? We don’t know. It could be a right wing extremist group (which normal Conservatives disown). It could be Occupy Wallstreet (most likely it would be the Black Bloc, which Occupiers disown). It could be lone wolf. It could be someone with an ax to grind which could be political but isn’t representative of the movements as a whole. It could be an envirowacko group like ELF. And, yes, it could be an Islamist attack (most likely). A Saudi national is being held as a person of interest. Authorities are also searching for a man wearing a black hood as a person of interest. Progressives are more interested in going political in order to attack fellow countrymen who are on the Right, forgetting that people on their side have been involved heavily in “domestic terrorism”, attempted and completed.