Jim Geraghty observes how the initial absence of a suspect in the attempted bombing of Times Square revealed much about those making assumptions about his background and motivations:
This is how I like my counter-terrorism: No casualties and the good guys seem to be hot on the trail of the bad guys. As of this writing, we don’t know precisely who placed that car with various sundry incendiaries Saturday night, and the first 48 hours offered everyone a chance to suspect their favorite foe – Islamists, South Park critics, militia members, lone nuts, and in the case of New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, health care bill critics.
Emphasis added. Each person who made a speculation about a suspect revealed the type of person he believed was responsible for such evil acts. The real villains of his imagination.
Roger offers an important insight into the imaginations of aging baby bombers and their hangers-on in younger generations:
If you were listening to Geraldo on Sunday night (okay, I apologize), you would have thought the would-be Times Square bomber was either the illegitimate son of Timothy McVeigh or an evangelical minister overdosed on steroids looking for an abortion clinic. Geraldo was practically fulminating at the mouth — it’s a white man, it’s a white man — in nostalgia for the good old days when the true enemy was some evil Ku Kluxer waving his hangman’s noose.
Whenever something goofy happens — bomb in Times Square, mass shootings at a US military base, etc. — there seem to be two kinds of reactions:
a) Some people go, “Hmm. I wonder if this involves some guy with a name like Mohammed who has e-mails from Yemen.”
Unfortunately, everyone in category (b) seems to work for the government.