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April 16, 2013


Eric Chen

Professor Nacos: "In short, this is a climate similar to the post-Waco years in the early 1990s."

I disagree. You're leaping to sketch a tenuous connection. My understanding of the Oklahoma City VBIED attack is that McVeigh's purpose was targeted revenge against the federal government for the Ruby Ridge and Waco incidents. That's not a similar climate to the gun control debate and calendar dates. Nor is the choice of target similar.

As well, at the time of the Oklahoma City VBIED attack, a libertarian militia attack was not precedented, whereas Islamic terrorists had recently used a VBIED on the World Trade Center in a publicly declared, organized, and escalating anti-US campaign. In context, public suspicion of Islamic terrorists was reasonable and prudent.

Public suspicion of Islamic terrorists in any terroristic attack - both in the US and other nations targeted by Islamic terrorists - is at least as reasonable and prudent now as it was in 1995. Like VBIEDs at the time of the Oklahoma City attack, pressure cooker shrapnel IEDs, while not limited to Islamic terrorists, are recognizable as a recent method employed by Islamic terrorists.

Since the 1st World Trade Center attack, Islamic terrorists have of course added to their track record of terrorist attacks and their anti-US campaign, while degraded by Bush/Obama counter-terrorism, continues to be active. With their organization degraded, Awlaki-brand self-actualized 'lone wolf' Islamic terrorists have emerged.

To my knowledge, libertarian militia have not developed a track record of terrorist attacks since the 1995 Oklahoma City VBIED attack. Neither has there been a recent incident like Ruby Ridge or Waco involving paramilitary federal agencies to motivate a McVeigh-type outlier.

That said, part of the problem with Islamic terrorists is they spread their disease, such as their viral marketing of pressure cooker shrapnel IEDs. Instructions readily available, easy to make from common materials, hard to prevent, and proven effective.

It's reasonable to suspect self-actualized Islamic terrorists for Boston Marathon attack. However, I suspect, with no evidence backing my suspicion, that the Boston Marathon IED attack was committed by a mass-murdering crazy of the Lanza, Holmes, Loughner, Cho variety, or maybe the Klebold/Harris variety. Except this one opted to stir things up and make the world dance to his tune in anonymous hacker style, rather than in murder-suicide blaze of glory style.

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