David is catching flak from two blog articles he posted on Slate.com, the first titled Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American and the second titled I still hope the bomber is a white American. Since David Sirota himself is a white American, that's as close as we have come yet to a claim of responsibility for the attack.
The reasoning in his original post managed to be simultaneously convoluted and highly insulting to the dead and injured:
If recent history is any guide, if the bomber ends up being a white anti-government extremist, white privilege will likely mean the attack is portrayed as just an isolated incident — one that has no bearing on any larger policy debates. Put another way, white privilege will work to not only insulate whites from collective blame, but also to insulate the political debate from any fallout from the attack.In his followup, he walked that back only a bit:
It will probably be much different if the bomber ends up being a Muslim and/or a foreigner from the developing world. As we know from our own history, when those kind of individuals break laws in such a high-profile way, America often cites them as both proof that entire demographic groups must be targeted, and that therefore a more systemic response is warranted. At that point, it’s easy to imagine conservatives citing Boston as a reason to block immigration reform defense spending cuts and the Afghan War withdrawal and to further expand surveillance and other encroachments on civil liberties.
"The reason to hope that the bomber is a white American is because in a country where white privilege and double standards so obviously affect our national security reactions, that outcome will better guarantee that the reaction to Boston is a bit more measured."I would posit that the straight line from Lee Harvey Oswald to the escalation of the Vietnam War entirely negates his point. But let's accept the premise, it is certainly possible that the bomber is a white American, and could very well be a specific white American, David Sirota. And that would have certain advantages:
(1) It's easier to impose the death penalty on a white males like Timothy McVeigh and David Sirota than on a white female such as Kathy Boudin or Judith Alice Clark, or a nonwhite male such as Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. True, there's no death penalty in Massachusetts, unless we make a federal case out of it.
(2) But for fellow white male Rand Paul extracting a promise not to do this from the Obama administration, David Sirota would be the perfect opportunity to test the use of armed drones for domestic law enforcement. I note that the administration can always claim the promise was given under duress.
(3) David Sirota used to work for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and that connection would be a lot of fodder for the Presidents of Iran, Egypt, Alex Jones, and all the other conspiracy nuts out there. OK, maybe that's not an advantage.
(4) We know what David Sirota looks like and the FBI could probably find and arrest him fairly quickly.
That last one is the most important, because as someone living in Metro Boston, my first hope is that we catch whoever did this before they set off any more bombs. While I have as much curiosity as anyone in whether the attacker is domestic or foreign and is acting alone or in concert with others, I can't say I really have any "hopes" in that regard.
Meanwhile, it does appear they have arrested the ricin letter writer in Mississippi. The man taken into custody has been identified as Paul Kevin Curtis, which is consistent with the "I am KC and I approve this message" signoff on the letters that tested positive with the poison ricin that were sent to the White House and U.S. Senator Roger Wicker from Mississippi. I was ready to implement the anthrax mail attack protocol from 2001, which is to place the recycle bin directly under the mailbox so that junk or suspicious mail never gets through the front door.
In any case, maybe Paul Kevin Curtis will satisfy David Sirota's hopes for a white American perpetrator.
Update: The FBI now has two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings, and two makes it a conspiracy.
All of David Sirota's hopes appear to have been answered at least as to Suspect No. 2, but it remains to be seen whether these guys were McVeighites or Occupyistas or some new strain of conspiracy we have not before seen or just innocent pedestrians with backpacks.
Update 4/23/2013: The FBI has released Paul Kevin Curtis and dropped the charges against him in the Ricin case - it looks like the dots connected a little too well because he was framed. I suspect David Sirota.