John A. Tures: Rush to clueless judgment

April 24, 2013 

When the New York Post reported that a Saudi national was the chief suspect in the bombing, there were more than 500,000 hits on Yahoo on the subject. A number of them emphasized that he was MUSLIM (and yes, they used all caps). There were another 1.4 million sites linking Islam to the Boston Marathon bombing.

There were 93,500 hits on Yahoo linking anti-government and the Boston Marathon tragedy, along with another 1.15 million tying conservatives to the terrorist incident in Massachusetts.

Sadly, accusations against both groups were equally disgusting. People put both sets of folks under the microscope, accused them of being behind the notorious act without a shred of evidence, except biases against both sides.

"Who do you think did the bombing, Dr. Tures?" some students asked me in my office.

"Some social misfit," I responded. Of course, the perpetrator could have sworn allegiance to some Islamic fundamentalist or politically conservative cause. But more often than not, these domestic terrorists are folks who couldn't fit in anywhere, and seek a higher purpose for their anger at being unable to fit in.

Listening to Sean Hannity's radio show on Saturday afternoon, the host and his guest talked about how the bombers were radical Islamic fundamentalists who tried to blow up the Boston Marathon because they hated our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, and our freedoms.

Do you think those dweebs, whose only notable accomplishment in life was not blowing themselves up when building the bomb, could name more than two of the first ten Amendments? Could those two losers, who evidently had one of the dumbest escape plans of any bomber, actually know a single article of the Constitution?

On their social media sites, you could see how they complained about not having friends, and one got in trouble with the law for punching out his girlfriend. Who knows whether they snuck off to the Caucasus Mountains for secret al-Qaeda training, or just downloaded a bomb recipe from the Internet? But these social losers picked an evil cause that would make them seem much cooler, part of something important. I sincerely doubt they could name a single pillar of Islam.

Take some of your home-grown terrorists like Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols and Eric Rudolph, or the guy who killed others at the Holocaust Museum. All would probably fail a grade school U.S. government course. Yet each of them felt like he didn't fit in society, and all sought to wrap themselves in something sounding patriotic, when instead it had a lot more to do with resentment at not being able to succeed in life, and jealousy at the success and happiness of others.

In reality, 99.999(and some more nines) percent of Muslims and political conservatives are decent, law-abiding citizens who would never contemplate a horrific killing. We don't need to be treating both groups as suspects who are guilty by simply having a different viewpoint than others. Chances are, even if a home-grown terrorist claims allegiance to some noble cause, most are simply societal losers who don't even know what the cause stands for.

John A. Tures, associate professor of political science, LaGrange College; jtures@lagrange.edu.

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