Jumping to conclusions

I went to law school in Boston, just a few blocks from the bombing. I traveled Boylston Street often — to get to the Copley Place subway stop or go to the great Boston Public Library for books or guest lectures. I lived in Boston for a total of twelve years and often think I never should have left.

So of course, like everyone, I looked for answers. Who would do this horrible thing? And why?

I speculated. It sure seemed more like a home-grown attack than a terrorist one. It happened on tax day, in the home of the original tea party. And as my friend, journalist Steve Vaughan (a/k/a “Virginia Pundit”) said, “I’m not sure the targets would have the same resonance with our ‘friends’ in the Middle East. Also, no martyrs. Whoever did this planted the bombs, walked away and set them off by remote. That sounds like Americans.”

That doesn’t mean Steve and I are right. Just wondering, and speculating.

However, many don’t seem to care about speculating. Fox News (through the New York Post) wildly reported that there was a Muslim suspect in custody. Even after the Police denied the story, they stood by it. By today, when it was made clear that the police had merely spoken to a Muslim kid who was a witness (along with hundreds of other witnesses) did Fox back away. Fortunately, all the other reliable media have learned not to repeat anything reported by anything owned by Rupert Murdock. No such restriction was held with the right-wing blog, who gladly proclaimed their “truth” of the matter. And some of my conservative friends reposted these accusations over and over on their Facebook pages, spreading the crap.

Now, I don’t know. Maybe it was some Islamic extremist. Or maybe it was a home-grown one. Or maybe just a crazy person acting on his own. We don’t know yet.

It’s one thing to speculate based on evidence and the methods by which the bombing happened, and quite another to make huge accusations based on fear.

So I advise everyone: Be cynical. Be skeptical. Demand evidence.

And never trust anything connected with Fox News.

And always check Snopes first!