Reactions to Boston: The Good, the Bad, and the Batshit Loony

Bombing Victim Jeff Bauman
Bombing Victim Jeff Bauman

A senseless act of violence (or a tragedy if you will) like the Boston Marathon bombing has a way of bringing out the best in most people. A wounded veteran of combat in Afghanistan comforted an injured woman, showing her his scars and assuring her that she would survive. An intern who had just finished a 14-hour hospital shift pitched right in and began treating the wounded. Hundreds of local residents rushed from their homes to supply water and first aid, sometimes using their belts for tourniquets.

Unfortunately, such an incident also brings out the worst in some people. For the right-wing fanatics, every such occasion is a golden opportunity to do what they live for: spread hate, divisiveness and paranoia — and try to score political points by taking cheap shots at President Obama and “liberals”.  Part of the spin after this particular incident was to declare that Obama is irresponsible and incompetent with national security because he allowed 3 Americans to be killed in a terrorist strike on American soil — while Bush kept us safe because he allowed only 3000 to be killed.

These folks can’t  even display enough respect for the victims or  basic human decency to wait a few hours before launching into attack mode; they start cranking out the venom as soon as the news breaks. Nothing is more important than giving voice to their irrational,  deranged, all-consuming hatred for the guy in the White House and anyone who might possibly like him even a little bit.

Naturally, guns always figure in the mix. Right on cue after Sandy  Hook, the gun lobby went into “it could have happened with a nail file” mode,  making puerile smears against anyone who dared challenge the supremacy of the almighty gun. The ever-entertaining National Review characterized Gabrielle Giffords’ outrage over the NRA’s grip on Congress as “childish” and “an embarrassment”.  The general attitude among right-wing reactionaries toward shooting victims is that by making their voice heard they are “bullies” and “props” of the Obama administration who have no business getting involved in the discussion over guns. And while the grief in Newtown was still raw, the NRA displayed its usual classiness by targeting the community with pro-gun robocalls and other propaganda.

But the attack in Boston wasn’t a shooting. So there was no reason to even bring up guns, eh? Do you really thing they’d let a little thing like that stop them? Sure, it took Wayne LaPierre a couple of weeks to proclaim that we obviously need more guns to protect us from pressure cookers —  to invoke the bombing in incendiary pro-gun rhetoric, and to exploit violence for personal gain, while accusing the proponents of “gun control” of doing the same, of course. (In case you didn’t know, when the president responds to gun violence by supporting measures to prevent it from occurring it again, that’s called political grandstanding and suppressing freedom; when the gun lobby exploits violence to whip up paranoia and increase profits, it’s called defending liberty. Everybody clear?)

But not to worry, Arkansas legislator Nate Bell took up the slack for LaPierre’s excessive delay. While authorities were in pursuit of the attackers, he Tweeted:

I  wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine?

This understandably sparked a great deal of outrage, especially among Bostonians.  Some of the responses were as crude as his comment solicited. Others were more sophisticated. My favorite was this:

I invite you to Boston. So you can witness true toughness, compassion and humanity. Toughest city on earth. No guns required.

That’s the Boston I know and love. Incidentally Bell, unlike others of his breed, at least had the decency to issue a half-assed apology — not for the “content” but for the “timing”. In other words, it appears he still believes that anyone who doesn’t hide behind a hunk of metal is “cowering”, but he realizes he didn’t select the most tactful possible time to say so.

Immediately after the bombing,  right-wing pundit Laura Ingraham seized the opportunity to ratchet up the hysteria over immigration, and Fox contributor Erik Rush suggested of Muslims, “Let’s kill them all.” Mind you, both of these responses were delivered before ANYTHING was known about the suspects.  After the suspects were identified, and one of the alleged bombers and three of his acquaintances were discovered to be students at University Of Massachusetts-Dartmouth,  Bill O’Reilly concluded that there must be a “huge problem” with the school itself.

The Westboro Baptist Church also weighed in, blaming the violence on Obama, abortion and gays. Makes perfect sense if you snort gunpowder and Bibles long enough.  At least a couple of right-wing gun fanatics declared that “liberals” love it when things like this happen. (If anybody “loves” it, it would have to be the people who seek occasions to make idiotic utterances like that.) And that dear old radio personality whose name rhymes with mush  concluded that the bombers were obviously influenced by the “liberal elite intellectual thought” in Boston. Can’t allow any of that intellectual thought, it’s quite dangerous — among other things, it might damage his ratings.

In fact, it appears the terrorists were influenced by rabidly right-wing slime merchant Alex Jones, whose tin hat delusions have been mainstreamed by Republicans in Congress (not the first time a terrorist has been a fan of his). Jones, who is gifted with an extraordinary capacity to find a sinister conspiracy in every leaf and snowflake, didn’t disappoint this time around.  Within MINUTES of the news from Boston, he was Tweeting things like this:

Our hearts go out to those that are hurt or killed #Boston marathon – but this thing stinks to high heaven #falseflag

Explosions at the Boston Marathon. Don’t that the FBI [sic] has been behind virtually every domestic terror plot in the US, as NY Times reported.

A false flag, in case you’re still unfamiliar with the term after all the batting about it’s been getting in the last few years,  is an incident in which a government attacks its own people (or even an individual fakes an attack on himself/ herself) in order to cast blame on someone else.  It has become an automatic response among the Alex Joneses of the world to declare that any terrorist attack, any disaster, any act of mass violence must have been staged by the Obama administration for some reason or other. The existence of emergency preparedness drills that utilize “crisis actors” is all the proof these folks need that the victims of actual disasters are merely faking it. There are people out there who believe that nobody really died in Boston, in Newtown, in Aurora, or even in the World Trade Center. And whenever you encounter such an individual,  the odds are excellent that he’ll be a fawning fan of Alex Jones.

It’s also an excellent bet that he’ll be a big fan of Alex’s chief rival for the Kool-Aid Crown, Glenn Beck — who also was true to form.  He declared not only that Obama was behind the bombing, but that he was shielding a Saudi who had carried out the deed at his behest. Furthermore, the Beckster gave the president an ultimatum to come clean by April 22, or else he would “expose” the administration big time. Don’t look now, Glenn, but April 22 has quietly come and gone, and you still haven’t exposed anyone but yourself — and most Americans are really wishing you’d zip it back up. By the way, don’t you and AJ even talk to each other enough to get your stories straight? Did the president orchestrate a real attack or a hoax? Sheesh!

Granted, some people also suspected initially that the culprits were connected with a radical Tea Party faction. (I was among them, but I exercised the discretion not to voice that suspicion in public.) After all, the attack occurred on tax day, and one of the primary objectives of the Tea Party is, supposedly, to protest taxes. It occurred in Boston, site of the real Tea Party. And Tea Party rhetoric tends to be incendiary, and often is laced with subtle and not-so-subtle exhortations to violence.  These are all solid facts, not just “evidence” pulled out of the ass of someone who’s been fed a steady diet of ideological frenzy. In any case, there’s a difference between entertaining suspicions and turning them into presumptions, paranoia, propaganda and perfidy.

The most sickening trope to make the rounds, for my money at least, concerned Jeff Bauman, who lost both of his legs to terrorism. The wingers circulated a graphic photo of him at the scene, falsely identifying him as a vet who’d lost his limbs in combat, and suggesting that he’d been fitted with prosthetics that day so he could add a touch of realism to the elaborate hoax. (As Snopes mentions, it’s a common tactic among perpetrators of such rumors to find a Person B who bears a superficial resemblance to Person A, and declare that they’re one and the same.)

In our own universe, however, Bauman’s legs were intact until April 15. But he did become a hero of sorts by assisting in the identification of the suspects. Heavily medicated in the hospital, and unable to speak, he nonetheless grabbed pen and paper and scribbled a note to indicate that he had seen one of the bombers. and the information he provided proved useful in zeroing in on the alleged terrorists.

This, surely, is Boston at its best. It’s what men like Jeff Bauman do while other people are using him as a prop to circulate nutty rumors about the president. And demonstrating their “patriotism” by venting their obsessive loathing for half of their fellow Americans.


  1. I sympathize with your initial tendency to suspect some radical faction of the Tea Party but decided to wait for the facts:

    “Granted, some people also suspected initially that the culprits were connected with a radical Tea Party faction. (I was among them, but I exercised the discretion not to voice that suspicion in public.”

    This is particularly important because it seems more and more that the real conspiracies are the incredible misinformation, false information, and outright delusional conclusions spread by various right wing groups and pundits. And, obviously, the goals of their conspiracy are to influence the public in a way that promotes their insane perceptions. If these right-wing propaganda masters really believe what they are saying, that means they must be insane, and if they don’t, that means they are among the most incredible political liars ever to use deception as a twisted form of public manipulation.

    I noticed the angry tone of your comment, and I agree with the appropriateness of that anger. When people like Beck, Limbaugh and others, use disasters like these to immediately set their latest conspiracy theories in motion, every American who honors truth and the integrity of the press in regards to factually reporting such stories should be angered. Sure, sometimes it takes awhile for the Conventional media to gather the facts after all the noise and confusion, but eventually they do correct faulty information—but don’t expect the same from the fine minds at Fox CNN. When supposedly intelligent men, use their influence over public thought to spread such lies, it is the equivalent of committing a vile crime like theft, or even, murder by political slander!

    Why does the (lamestream media) as Sarah Palin is so fond of calling it, tend to write unflattering things about right wing ideologies that any other sane person agrees are right on the money?–Because right wing ideologues really should be demonized and vilified (or at least honestly opposed by the press) for distributing willful distortions of the truth! After all, they are making a mockery of the first Amendment in order to deliberately spread such vile falsehoods, and to lie with impunity. What they don’t realize is that, the first Amendment also prevents manipulative people like themselves from being arbitrarily judged and punished by the government. Groups like the Westboro Baptist Church don’t realize what a friend they, or any other politically vocal group,has, in the protection offered by the ACLU. An organization like this is there to protect even the most controversial groups from being unjustly oppressed by the government—even though they often must hold their noses to do so!

    If all the propaganda mills that regularly churn out this “bat shit” really appreciated the freedoms they already have under the constitution, perhaps they would become patriotic enough NOT to level such biased and insane accusations at others, whenever they can use such claims to their advantage.

    As for your anger and disgust (POP) I find it refreshing! Conventional news outlets often find their hands bound by a sworn duty to present unbiased coverage. Usually this is a good thing, but in certain cases, the “facts” distributed by certain groups, are so obviously distorted, that the press shouldn’t be held back from telling the real and honest truth. It is “unfair balance” that prevents the public from fully understanding the truth behind events. One good example concerning “unfair balance” is found in the example of neo-natzis and other persons and groups (such as Iranian President Ahmadinejad ) who faithfully insist that the Holocaust never really happened—the Obvious fact that we know it really did, should not prevent the free press from saying so, when requiring that press to offer stories in support of claims made by outrageous deniers merely in order to be fair!

    Those supporting all of the BS surrounding the happenings in Boston need to realize that the “liberal mainstream media” is more interested in truthful reporting than in spreading their vile and intellectually crippled concoctions. The very reason they are free to continue their hoaxes at all, is because the media, the Congress (including Democrats ) and the courts in a free society, protect their right to free expression—no matter how outrageous! If they showed half as much ethical courtesy to the groups that, although considered by them to be liberally biased, back up their own 1st Amendment rights, the world would be an infinitely better place!

  2. This week’s _Libertarian Enterprise_ includes a graph of homicide rates from 1885 to 2012, and attempts to explain the ups and downs based on gun control vs. liberal carrying laws, especially the latest “shall issue” concealed carry laws.

    The graph itself is accurate, but I’ve seen this same argument used to criticize the end of school prayer and promote the death penalty. Depending upon how you fudge the placement of your arrows, you can make this kind of graph argue anything you like. Not to mention that the homicide rate includes non-firearm homicides as well.

    A more sober, rational evaluation would be that the homicide rate fluctuates according to cycles of human behavior. In which case the true cause is still unknown.

  3. Jeff Bauman is … ?
    Blast Victim ‘Jeff Bauman’ positively identified as Lt Nick Vogt?
    Why don’t Lt Nick Vogt visit Jeff Bauman life on CNN?
    It is implausible to dismiss amputees in less than three weeks from the clinic.
    Yes, It is possible that Mr. Bauman another actor as Mr. Nick.
    I want to see more.

    Sincerely, anonymouse

  4. Liberals claims conservatives spread hate, divisiveness and paranoia after Boston bombing. But they use the Trayvon tragedy themselves to spread hate, divisiveness and paranoia. Funny how these things work, bitch.

    • Are you serious? It was “liberals” who “spread hate, divisiveness and paranoia” after Trayvon Matin’s death??? Have you been snorting reality through the Fox Filter or something?

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