Editor's Note: We've corrected the attribution of a quote below suggesting that if the attackers were antigovernment they would have attacked a government target, rather than random Americans. The quote actually came from Mike Lackomar of the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia. Hatewatch regrets the error, which was the result of an editing mistake.
Who was responsible for the deadly Boston terrorist attack?
The Muslims did it. No, it was an illegal immigrant. Think again – it was a gay guy. Wait, you missed the key signs: Our own government once again pulled off an act of covert terror to promote its nefarious aims.
Fingers have been pointed in all of these directions by conspiracy theory peddlers and professional hatemongers since the bombings Monday.
“It’s a pretty safe bet right now that this attack was carried out by an Islamist,” declared a post on the Tea Party Nation website Tuesday. The obvious cause for the violence? “We have a government that is not committed to protecting America.” Linking Islam with Ronald Reagan’s “evil empire” of Communism, the post warned that the Boston bombings are just another event presaging future violence in “an ideological war” that can only be won if we have tougher, more anti-Islam U.S. political leaders. That, of course, would be the Tea Party cabal.
Pamela Geller, the raging Islamophobic activist, immediately declared “case closed” in a Monday blog headlined “Jihadi Arrested in Horrific Boston Marathon Bombing.” Boston police released the Saudi Arabian college student whom she incorrectly referred to as “arrested” and said, after questioning him, that he was no longer a suspect.
But maybe the man foolishly released by police is not a Jihadi but rather planted the bombings because he’s gay. That’s the implication advanced by several right-wing web sites such as Free Republic and Gateway Pundit. They took the initiative to post information from the Facebook page of the Saudi youth. They claimed he was “guarded by federal agents” and was surely either gay or bisexual because he expressed interest in “men and women,” had vacationed in Key West and “liked” the Ellen Degeneres Show.
Erik Rush, a periodic Fox News guest, set a more urgent tone, tweeting, “Everybody do the National Security Ankle Grab! Let’s bring more Saudis in without screening them! C’mon! #bostonmarathon.” When asked online if he was blaming Muslims for the bombings, Rush replied: “Yes, they’re evil. Kill them all.” Later, he claimed he was just joking and deleted the post. But Right Wing Watch captured it for posterity.
Anti-immigrant activists seized on the terrorism to fuel fears about pending immigration reform legislation. Right-wing talk show host Laura Ingraham tried Tuesday to goad Rep. Mike McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, into blaming undocumented immigrants for the Boston attacks. When he didn’t bite, she advised closing our borders as the logical solution.
Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican and leading opponent of immigration reform, portrayed the terror acts as a clear indication that reform could threaten Americans. Before anyone had been arrested Tuesday, he told National Review Online, “If we can’t background-check people that are coming from Saudi Arabia, how do we think we are going to background-check the 11 to 20 million people that are here from who knows where?” He said the Boston violence should slow action on immigration reform.
Several leaders in the antigovernment militia movement told Buzzfeed their activists wouldn’t have done it. “(It) had nothing to do with militias – that’s a bunch of bullshit,” Dave Trochmann, co-founder of the Militia of Montana said. “It was probably a raghead.”
Mike Lackomar, a spokesman for the Southeast Michigan Volunteeer Militia, said that “somebody pissed off at the government” wouldn’t attack civilians but would rather choose a government target. John Levengood of the Kansas State Militia cast suspicion, however, on a “skinhead type of militia where it's all about race – that’s those guys in Montana and Idaho – and they don't like society integrating the way that it has been. They could have done it very easily."
The most déjà vu explanation of all came from Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist and radio host. He suggested the bombings looked like a “false flag” operation by the government. Militia activists also widely voiced this “false flag” refrain after the Sept. 11 attacks and the Oklahoma City bombings. To folks like Jones, it makes perfect sense. In a webcast Monday, he said: “You saw them stage Fast and Furious. … They staged Aurora, they staged Sandy Hook. The evidence is just overwhelming. And that’s why I’m so desperate and freaked out. This is not fun you know, getting up here telling you this.” But, alas, the burden falls on Jones. “Somebody’s got to tell you the truth.”
And, of course, Westboro Baptist Church, arguably the most hated hate group in America, had the answer: God sent the bombs in retaliation for Massachusetts' decision to allow same-sex marriage. “Thank God, for his righteous judgment,” says Westboro’s Sam Phelps-Roper in seven-minute video posted Tuesday on the group’s GodHatesFags website.