Last year President Obama was roundly criticized for not calling the Benghazi attack “an act of terrorism” so it’s no wonder that the administration quickly labeled the bombings at the Boston Marathon an act of terrorism this week. At a press conference the morning after the explosions Obama said, “This was a heinous and cowardly act. And given what we now know about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism. Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians it is an act of terror.” Thank you, President Obama, for finally being honest.
Too bad some of our newspapers and news services don’t have the guts to do the same. The print edition of the Los Angeles Daily News not only didn’t use the word “terrorist” in their story, they couldn’t even bring themselves to report that the bombs were purposely set by anyone at all. Someone reading the story who just flew down from Mars would think that the explosions were some natural occurrence or a broken gas line.
The paper used the words “bombs,” “blasts,” and “explosions,” to describe what happened but never gave a cause for the bombs, blasts, and explosions, even though within hours of the attack investigative officials said that the bombs contained shrapnel made up of ball bearings, nails, and other metal fragments put together in the same fashion as roadside IEDs in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The online version of the paper did use the dreaded “t” word but with the weasely caveat “That terrorists might have struck again in the U.S.” MIGHT have? Using the word might is the cowardly way of dancing around what we know was most definitely an act of terrorism. It MIGHT have been terrorists or it MIGHT be the work of undocumented leprechauns. Or it MIGHT be spontaneous combustion. Who’s to say?
I can’t explain why the media skirts the use of the word terrorist, except that I guess they don’t want to hurt the feelings of terrorists.
As I write this, investigators still haven’t found the perpetrators of this terrorist bombing and no one person or group has taken credit for it. Hopefully by the time you read this, they will have found and arrested the responsible evil bastards. The good news is that only three lives were lost, it might have been many more – the Boston Marathon attracts thousands to its streets.
This is the first terrorist bombing in our country since 9/11 and because of that it jars us, bringing back all the horrifying memories of that fateful day. Authorities are saying that we Americans are a strong people, a brave people, so we will not let this terrorism frighten us. That sounds good, but it actually isn’t true. Government authorities will react.
What this means to us all, in our everyday lives, is we can count on even tighter security being put into play by government. More barriers will be put up, more security guards and increased scanners will be used at ever more sporting venues, theme parks, and other places where large numbers of people gather. We will lose a little more of our precious freedom to move easily and without fear throughout our country.
Just as the hijacking of those planes on 9/11 brought about tighter security on airplanes, look for this incident to increase security at marathon races, parades, street fairs, circuses, community open houses, and any number of other like events which attract many people to one place. Will we be seeing pat downs at parades? Will we have to go through security screening before entering our shopping malls and every single office building and store?
The monsters that blow up innocent people have not succeeded in taking down western civilization or destroying America, not by a long shot. However, they have succeeded in altering the way we live and move about. We Americans aren’t quite as free and easy as we once were.
As we mourn for those who were killed and maimed in Boston, let’s remember that if we are ever to defeat terrorism we need to call it by its proper name. There is such a thing as evil in our world and we must identify it whenever it rears up. Newspapers and other media need to be honest in their reporting. Even if it means that calling terrorists “terrorists” offends the feelings of terrorists.