The responses from some irresponsible and frankly ignorant people out there to the Boston Marathon bombing today called up my memories from the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. When the Oklahoma City bombing happened, I was working as a young program analyst at the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, a bipartisan, blue ribbon, congressional commission in Washington, D.C.
As my fellow commission staffers and I watched the bloodshed and horror being covered on live TV, we all cringed and silently hoped, "Please don't let it be foreign terrorists" because the commission was working to develop sensible immigration reform recommendations to present to Congress and the White House. I remember the live TV commentary openly speculating that the target of a government building in Oklahoma City was surely designed by foreign terrorists to strike terror in "the heartland of America". A similar thing happened in the chaotic hours after the Atlanta Olympics bombing, a rush to judgement that it was foreign terrorists.
As I write this post, several websites are reporting a "suspect" being guarded in the hospital who has been referred to by one source as "Saudi", and another as "Saudi Muslim". Also, Binders Full of Women posted tweets by Eric Rush, a Fox News contributer who had the following to say:
This sort of ignorant hate should have no place in our society. Everyone remembers who actually carried out the Oklahoma City and Atlanta Olympics bombings: Timothy McVeigh/Terry Nichols, and Eric Rudolph. Let the investigative process play out! And even if it does indeed turn out to be a foreign terrorist, no racial or religous group has cornered the market on terrorism; witness the home grown terrorists: McVeigh, Nichols, Rudolph, and Adam Lanza, the shooter at Newton.
In breaking news, the Gang of 8 in the Senate has decided to postpone their Tuesday roll out of the immigration bill. The implications of the continuing Boston bombing investigation are clear though.