Finger-pointing in the wake of the Boston attack


FBI crime scene investigators stand near an evidence marker on Boylston Street just past Berkeley Street as they sweep up towards the bomb scene of the Boston Marathon April 17, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.


Darren McCollester

BOSTON, Mass. — Bombing attacks are always accompanied by more than just the loss they entail. People and media outlets, still reeling from the shock of the event, often provide an all-too candid portrait of attitudes that can come to the fore at a time of crisis.

As tragic as they are, massive bouts of violence stir up plenty material for anyone looking to spout out prejudices, provoke political aggression or simply profit from the paranoia and fear that naturally follow any calamity.

The Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three and injured more than 150 people, is hardly unique in bringing people and ideas of all sorts out of the woodwork and providing them with a perfect platform.

In the mere two days that have followed the event, everything from right-wing extremists to Islamic fundamentalists to government conspiracies have been blamed for the attack. All of these accusations are made despite the lack of conclusive evidence in an investigation that FBI officials admit is still in its “infancy.”

False flag: One theory that has leapt into this void of information is that of the “false flag,” notably propagated by radio host Alex Jones. The US government planned the bombing under the auspices of a terrorist organization, Jones claimed, so that fearful citizens would give up more liberties to the federal government.

North Koreans: Others were quick to point at any foreign country that has been in the news lately, even if experts and officials have not in any way connected them to the attack.

That Twitter user was not alone in debating the potential for Pyangyong's involvement. A group of South Korean Internet commentators who would like to see the North invaded are hoping that user's sentiment catches on in the US.

Tax Day: Governments have not been the only scapegoats. The Marathon bombings can seemingly be construed to meet any political or cultural end. Some Twitter users connected tax day and the Tea Party to the violence. Others quickly determined that Islamic extremists were responsible.

Muslims: Columnist Erik Rush did not stop at extremists, and distributed the blame across all Muslims. “Kill them all!” he tweeted, though later explained he was being sarcastic.

Conspiracy domains: With technology that makes possible the instant, unfiltered spread of ideas, no one is immune to accusations, sarcastic or otherwise. But unfiltered does not mean incurable, as the purchasers of domain names http://bostonmarathonconspiracy.com/, bostonmarathonconspiracies.com, and bostonconspiracies.com can attest. On these websites, you won’t find any premature or outrageous theories. Instead, visitors are met only with the message, “Please keep the victims of this event and their families in your thoughts. Thank you.”