OK

Like many people in this country, I spent the day of the bombings at the Boston Marathon trying hard to wrap my head around it all, scanning for whatever new info might be known, and feeling awful for the folks there.

Like many people in this country, I really hope they catch the ass(es) who did this. I cannot fathom why anybody, from any political persuasion, or from any set of other grudges or personal frustrations, would choose to address them by putting stuff in a crowd of random strangers, on a happy day, who have no particular connection to anything except marathons, that is designed to maim them horribly and perhaps kill them.

Like many people in this country, have plenty of my own random out-of-my-bum speculations and thoughts on likely and unlikely scenarios, motives, whatever. There are plenty of reasons to suspect any number of things, and the human brain does this searching for a pattern thing pretty much constantly. It's what we do.

Like many people in this country, I DO NOT KNOW BUPKISS. I am not that particularly special. I don't have a trained eye, I am not privy to all information from the scene, and this means that I have no special reason to think I get to know before anybody else, or that I have some unique ability to sniff it all out, or that my own personal image of "The Bomber" has anything to do with anything.

The media has been packed with misinformation since this set of events unfolded. I went to bed that night thinking there were an unknown number of bombs still being discovered all over Boston. I went to bed that night thinking there could be as many as 12 immediate deaths. Then, of course, we all got to discover that a "Saudi National" had been arrested! And that his apartment was "raided!" And bags of evidence were seen being removed!

That poor kid, so far as any of us know at the moment, was just some student here on a visa who got hurt in the thing and then got to be treated to -- if not immediate law enforcement "guilt" -- at the very least, guilt via trial by public.

I have seen more random photos going around the internets in the meantime, picking people out of crowds for daring to be, like, wearing a black backpack, or setting down a black backpack, or not looking the same direction as everybody else for a second, or ducking out of the way for a minute to probably just put a water bottle into a black backpack, or something, than one could possibly shake a whole backpack's worth of assumptions at. Photos of the explosions, and the minutes before them, and "This Must Be It!" declarations, and suspicious looking people with suspiciously shaped black backpacks on ("suspicious," of course, being, um, one of those things -- we know it when we see it, right?)

I have an enjoyment for puzzles, and for things that require looking for clues and trying to think about them in various ways. But this is not a game. YOU are a random person on the internet, who is looking at random photos with no context, with a few pieces of information that -- while not unhelpful -- also don't narrow the range of possibilities very well. This is not Clue (TM). You are unlikely to figure out that it was Colonel Mustard-Colored Cap in the Stands with the Black Backpack.

Likewise, not every report from every random, anonymous "source" in the media is going to turn out to have been right. In fact, the track record in these events has been startling in its badness. Grains of salt.

Likewise, the fact that this happened on Patriots' Day, or on Tax Day, or whatever -- that's interesting, and it could be related. But it could not be related. The fact that you don't want it to be a man of Middle Eastern descent does not mean that it isn't. The fact that you suspect that it is probably a homegrown winger type -- so do I, for the record -- doesn't mean you are right, at all, nor that I am, nor that our reasoning wouldn't look incredibly stupid if we had access to more of the relevant evidence, which we don't, and should not.

Please, please, please accept something: you don't get to know "The Truth" any faster than the rest of us do, when those directly doing the investigations here tell us what they know and what's up. And even then, it may or may not be right, though it's far likelier to be mostly right than anything else we've got right now.

Speculate if you want, it's half of what the internets do. But understand that you are speculating. And please stop posting photos of some random guy who probably just went to the marathon that day with a backpack that looks like half the backpacks in the US, he doesn't probably deserve it. We'll know stuff as we know stuff. Until then, just, I mean, chill. You're not gonna know until then.

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