Nobody Asked Me

by wjw on April 16, 2013

I’m still in England, and will be for another couple days. The news here is dominated by two huge stories, and though absolutely no one asked me for my opinion, I’m going to give it anyway.

The ghastly, pointless bombing in Boston has filled me with sorrow for the victims and their families, but mostly it’s pissed me off.  The perpetrators were feeble-witted jackasses who sacrificed lives for no other purpose than air time.  The bombings do not threaten the U.S., do not make us more or less safe than we were before, and will not affect American policy in any way.  Nobody’s cringing in terror, afraid where the bad guys might strike next.  All the bombers got out of their action was television time, plus mutilated bodies.

My guess is the perpetrators aren’t affiliated with any terrorist group.  Al-Quaeda would have claimed credit by now, and so would any other organized group.  It’s what they do.  Modern terrorists are media whores, they need modern media in order to function at all.

So my guess is the Boston bombing is down to a small group of more or less amateur terrorists, maybe a single person.  There may not be any political objective, or any motive more rational than that of George Metesky or the Beltway Snipers, but on the other hand there’s the fact that the attack happened on tax day, near the site of the Boston Tea Party, and around the anniversaries of Waco and the Oklahoma City bombings.  I suspect that may give us a clue as to the bomber’s political orientation.

But of course we don’t actually know anything, so maybe such speculation is out of place.  In the meantime, I suggest you all follow the sage advice of Bruce Schneier.

The other big story in the media here is the funeral of Margaret Thatcher, from which I plan to stay away.  (I don’t want a rubber bullet in my kidney, for one thing.)

Folks are outraged that people are celebrating Thatcher’s death, and that some plan to demonstrate during the funeral.  After all, that’s the sort of thing the deranged loons at Westboro Baptist Church do.

I’ll leave comments on Thatcher’s legacy to those more familiar with her milieu than I, but I will point out that in this case the protests are perfectly justified, if not perhaps in the best of taste.

Mrs. Thatcher didn’t want a state funeral, she wanted a private ceremony.  So did her family.  But the Cameron administration created this not-technically-a-state-funeral for their own political reasons, and since it’s become political theater, it’s also a legitimate venue for political protest.

Plus of course there are plenty of people on both ends of the political spectrum who want the protests to happen.  Leftists and anarchists want to prove that they exist, and rightists want the protests to happen so that they can have headlines in their newspapers reading FILTHY HIPPIE RIOT SPOILS SOLEMN FUNERAL.

Because, y’know, the level of political discourse here isn’t any better than it is at home.  Sadly.

TJIC from Boston April 16, 2013 at 9:59 pm

> Al-Quaeda would have claimed credit by now

Not so sure.

For several months after the 9/11 attacks, no one, nor any group, claimed responsibility for the attacks

That aside, yes: this was horrendous and stupid and useless. Whether it was AQ, lefties, righties, or whatever, no purpose at all was served.

James R. Strickland April 16, 2013 at 10:31 pm

It’s almost reassuring that the British are as politically dysfunctional as we are. Perhaps it proves how little political functionality you really need to get by for centuries.


Ken Houghton April 17, 2013 at 1:12 am

I’m still down with Ken Loach’s comment, roughly: “They should privatize her funeral and sell it to the lowest bidder. She would have wanted it that way.”

Ralf The Dog. April 17, 2013 at 6:12 am

I don’t think, the bombing was part of some greater conspiracy, however, strange stuff is happening. The day after the bombing, American Airlines was taken out by something that looks like a big DOS attack. While the potential DOS attack was attacking, a letter was intercepted at a DC post office that set off the ricin alarms.

My thought, when the marathon bombing took place, it put us all on edge. Things we would have ignored, if not for the bombing are setting off alarms in our heads. The Conspiracy freak part of me wants to think, someone is setting off little events, all over the place, to keep the FBI JTF running and distract them from the big assault on the 19th.

The wiser if more boring part of myself tells my conspiracy freak part to sit down and grow up.

Zora April 17, 2013 at 7:25 am

People should just line the funeral procession route wearing vivid, colorful clothing and turn their back on the hearse. In silence.

Iain April 17, 2013 at 9:13 am

Turning-the-back etc. is indeed what many (most?) of the more sensible protesters plan… and the police have said they wont be trying to stop it. Can imagine that the BBC etc. wont be too keen to show it on TV, though.

Dave Bishop April 17, 2013 at 10:34 am

According to Tory mythology, Mrs T. was supposed to have saved us Brits from something or other … can’t think what though!
In 1972 I decided to leave home and was offered the first job I applied for – I suspect that that wouldn’t happen now. A few years later I was able to buy my first house – houses are, proportionately, much more expensive now.
Now the whole country seems to be run by and for the benefit of property developers who are busily covering what remains of our countryside with expensive ‘executive style’ houses. Meanwhile, there is a dearth of social housing, for those who need it, partly because Mrs T. sold much of it off (it was mainly bought by ‘entrepreneurs’ who now charge extortionate rents for it).
Many of our, once distinctive, towns and cities are now ‘clone’ towns dominated by identical shopping centres. Many of the big high street chains who, historically, could afford the rents in these monstrosities are now going bust and, as a consequence, the ‘clone’ towns will soon become boarded up ‘ghost’ towns.
Apart from the fact that our economy is in a mess (almost certainly, in my opinion, down to the neo-liberal, deregulating, privatising zeal of Mrs T. and her successors) our environment is too – and the latest batch of politicians still regard this as an irritating irrelevance.
So goodbye Mrs T. – rest in peace but don’t come back to haunt us because you didn’t save our country from anything – in fact, you helped to ruin it!
As for the dreadful thing in Boston, it fills me with horror and sadness – as do all such foul atrocities! My deepest sympathies to the bereaved and the injured.

Ralf The Dog. April 17, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Where is Westboro Baptist Church, when you need them?

wjw April 17, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Every English person I know hates Margaret Thatcher. Isn’t there someone who voted for her?

In the event, there were no protests worthy of the name. Or maybe just worthy of the BBC’s attention.

Come to think of it, American political discourse seriously degraded after a certain Australian press baron started buying American papers and turning them into British-style tabloids. Not to mention buying a major publisher so that he could give enormous advances to political allies like Lord Archer and Newt Gingrich— can’t call them “bribes” if they’re advances, can you?— and of course starting his own news channel.

Ralf The Dog. April 18, 2013 at 3:15 am

Looks like another terrorist attack at Waco Texas. Normally, I would not attribute a fertilizer plant exploding to terrorists, however, Waco Texas has a big April 19, Patriot Movement connection.

Not looking forward to April 19. I live in a city with an April 19 history. I was close enough to the Murrow Building explosion to feel the ground shake.

Joseph J. Wolfe April 18, 2013 at 4:22 am

I have to agree that this seemed more like a first attempt at plating the terrorist than what we’ve come to expect from the ‘professional’ terrorists. Evil for the sake of doing evil and watching the chaos that follows has not been new for quite some time. However, it does appear to be on the increase in recent years. What a sad commentary upon modern society.

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