The human mind resists a vacuum. I’m watching the latest press conference with Gov. Deval Patrick, and unsurprisingly the theme of the entire thing is “no comment”. I know many of us have an expectation that the responsible parties for the Boston marathon bombing will be known to us soon, but it’s worth remembering that it doesn’t always happen that way. We don’t want a repeat of the horrible Richard Jewell situation, where an innocent man who helped people got fingered in the media for the Atlanta Olympics bombing because of goofy theory that he was attention-seeking. In reality, it was Eric Rudolph, an anti-gay and anti-choice militant who escaped justice for years, sadly because he was almost surely given plenty of help from other right wing extremists. Already I’m seeing a lot of people making more than they should out of the questioning of a Saudi national who is here on a student visa, even though the officials are denying that anyone is in custody. We must resist letting our hope for immediate answers trick us into thinking we know more than we do. Innocent people get hurt when you do that.
The fact of the matter is that while the internet and the age of rapid information is mostly a good thing, it does create a competitiveness that works against us in times like these. That’s how Ryan Lanza’s picture and name got spread rapidly after the Newton shooting, even though he was alive and posting on Facebook during that period.
So far, the only people I’ve seen floating information they don’t actually have are on the right, with the inevitable Alex Jones claims that this is a “false flag” operation and the NY Post pimping the “Saudi national” story while also getting the casualty count very, very wrong. Their motives are obvious here, and I’m glad to see that liberals are falling into the same trap. We honestly don’t know what’s going on. That’s painful and hard to take, but it’s important to learn to live with it. Hopefully we will soon know more. But until then, we must accept that we really don’t know anything.