DAVID ROSMAN: Don't jump to conclusions in placing blame

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:17 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston. The Marathon. Bombing. Words that never should have been in the same sentence.

It is just past midnight on Tuesday morning. Nightline is over and the news remains grim. Three dead and 144 injured. (CNN just confirmed the numbers.) A day of celebration became a day of terror and mourning. This is not what Patriots' Day in Boston was supposed to look like.

I had just come home from a doctor’s appointment and was trying to catch up with my email, always a long endeavor on a Monday. I try, but I'm not always successful at staying off the computer on the weekends. Curious enough, my smartphone had remained quiet for most of the morning. No “pings” telling me a new text had arrived. It was just after 2 p.m. when the song of the text was followed with “Explosion at Boston Marathon.” My heart, like yours, sank.

I used to be a runner but can’t do that anymore — knees will not let me go for more than a few blocks right now. But I have friends who still run, a few are marathoners. I know none had qualified for the Boston race, but I am worried about them just the same.

The explosions were caught on video and were shown over and over again. So much so that it became mesmerizing. Much like the 1986 Challenger disaster, watching the explosion over and over again, at least 1,000 times in the hours after the disaster, engrained into memory. Boston created the same hypnotic spell of unimaginable death. I could not stop watching.

We seem to forget the sheer number of terrorist attacks, foreign and domestic, on United States soil.

The first I really remember was the 1975 Christmas Day bombing at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

The 1993 on the World Trade Center. I watched the imagery repeat on a continuous loop — people leaving the WTC 1 with injuries and scenes of the massive crater in the parking structure underneath.

The 1995 domestic terrorist bombing at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the mortally wounded building that became the death bed for 168 men, women and children, with another 680 injured.

Atlanta’s 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing, again domestic terrorism.

Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and the attempt for the White House.

This only a partial and very long list of attacks on American soil.

My concern is over the unnecessary loss of life and for those injured physically and mentally from these and the dozens of other attacks since the 1970’s. I am also deeply concerned with the commentaries that already have surfaced, placing blame on a foreign terrorist organization without considering domestic extremists.

If one looks at the history of terrorist attacks in the U.S., most were carried out by Americans against Americans. I will continue to say that I am more afraid of domestic terrorism than of al-Qaeda, Iran or North Korea.

I am angered that commentators, journalists and news organizations are already placing blame without having all of the information. Nightline opened with a listing of foreign terrorist attacks, taking too long to suggest that the attack could have been domestic based. New York Congressman Peter King, a Democrat, already suggested an al-Qaeda connection.

I am sickened by Monday’s cowardly attacks on hundreds of innocent men, women and children celebrating life by the yet unknown and unnamed terrorist(s). But I warn you, our state and federal legislators and officials, and the media not to jump to conclusions without facts, without knowledge.

Now is the time to honor the sentiments of our founders and show the world that the United States is governed by law and reason, not mob rule. We must reject those who claim knowledge with no proofs, whose sole purpose is to create fear for fear’s sake and their own political and professional advancement. For these people are as much terrorists as the bombers.

It is raining hard outside. It seems that nature is reflecting my mood and sorrow.

David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. Questions? Contact opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.

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Ellis Smith April 17, 2013 | 7:18 a.m.

Mark this day on your calendars: Rosman and Smith actually agreed on something. But it was very easy, because the advice makes sense.

In any rush to place blame we also need to remember that the SECOND MOST horrendous terrorist event to date within our national boundaries was foisted upon us by an American who, so far as is known, had no connection with international terrorism or with any specific religion.

How soon we forget! I am of course referring to the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma Ciity, an event that caused the deaths of several children (present in day care) as well as the deaths of adults.

And TO WHAT PURPOSE? The criminal responsible seems to have assumed that all it would take was one spectacular act of terror and some group or groups of American citizens would be inspired to stage a rebellion against the federal government. RIDICULOUS!

When further information about the Oklahoma City bombing became known, some "suspect" domestic groups and their spokespersons recoiled in horror, and I will argue with anyone that the horror they expressed was genuine. Americans aren't arming themselves in an attempt to overthrow federal and state governments; they are doing so because they are genuinely concerned about our situation, and understandably so. Only an idiot would not be concerned about our present situation.

Unfortunately, we don't have a shortage of idiots.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 17, 2013 | 7:54 a.m.

The first one you can remember is "the 1975 Christmas Day bombing at New York’s LaGuardia Airport"?

You're older than that.

I'm confident you remember 1968 and the next 5 years.

Of course, given your political bent, you might not consider those events "terror."

I do, tho.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 17, 2013 | 8:23 a.m.

I haven't seen the "who did it?" bias that Rosman recounts; the outlets I have been perusing have left open possibilities for both foreign and domestic origins. Perhaps we're just watching different programs; mainly I've been concentrating on several newspapers, CNN, and Fox.

Regardless the source, the main emphasis of news reporting seems to be a "Watch this show! Watch this show!" effort than anything else. My main objection is the use of (paid?) "talking heads" whose main contributions seem to be....what? Their presence is air-time filler designed to give the impression that THIS news outlet is the ONLY accurate source of information in the whole wide world.

It's unseemly and most certainly shameful, although I doubt the media would admit to that. Unfortunately, once things like this are over and the news turns to other events, there is little public recounting or review of performance.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 17, 2013 | 8:33 a.m.


Terror is as terror does. [That's not copyrighted; employ it when, where or how you choose.]

Also, it is simply moronic to believe - let alone espouse - that our government can protect us from all harm. Let's recall that the late but not lamented Third Reich and Uinon of Soviet SOCIALIST* Republics typically defended depredations against their citizens as "protecting" those citizens.

*- Oops! I must have accidentally depressed the "caps lock" key. Sorry about that. Yes, truly sorry. :)

(Report Comment)
David Rosman April 17, 2013 | 12:50 p.m.

Michael - Yes, I am older than that, but my memories are strongest starting with the LaGuardia bombing. That one was only a few miles from home and my father's private airplane (at that time a Piper PA-28-180) was based at Flushing Airport, only two miles from LaGuardia.

Yes, there were bombings and domestic terrorists before that, beginning with the Whiskey Rebellion. However, I am speaking to my memory, not history's.

Also, I am not sure how the USSR became part of this discussion.

(Report Comment)
David Rosman April 17, 2013 | 1:11 p.m.

UPDATE - New York Times 4/18/2013

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 17, 2013 | 1:23 p.m.

A private plane, no less. Impressive.

Since we're traveling down memory lane, I recall that my father only owned two new cars during his entire lifetime - lowest Ford sedans available, but he DID pay cash for them. :)

(Report Comment)
David Rosman April 17, 2013 | 1:32 p.m.

AP is reporting that a suspect has been taken into custody for the Boston terrorist attack according to KRCG News 13 in Jefferson City, MO

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 17, 2013 | 1:46 p.m.

AP and CNN report an arrest has been made of a dark-skinned male.
Fox reports no arrest has been made.
CNN does a Rosanne Rosanadanna and says, "Never mind."
CNN shows pic of suspect dropping bomb.
Ain't dark skinned in the pic they showed.
Lot's of reporters outside Federal building where arrestee is supposed to be coming.
Chaos reigns in the media.
A lot of "finest hours" created as we speak........

Back to the title of this article........

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 17, 2013 | 1:51 p.m.

"...but my memories are strongest starting with the LaGuardia bombing."

Selective memory?

SDS, Weathermen, Black Panthers, Diana Oughton, Ted Gold, Terry Robbins, Bill Ayers, Democratic National Convention, urban riots, burn down your community, etc.

You should know better, especially since some of us have been around as long as you.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 17, 2013 | 1:57 p.m.

I'd be surprised a suspect would even be acknowledged for several days....if one had been arrested.

To much work to do first...........

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 17, 2013 | 2:01 p.m.

Dave: You mentioned the "Centennial Olympic Park" bombing.

Do you also remember that a whole bunch of news outlets paid dearly, in cash, for reporting mistakes made during that fiasco?

Gee, turned out Richard Jewell didn't do it after all......

So sorry.

We are real time....a full-blown meltdown by the media.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 17, 2013 | 2:02 p.m.


My daughter has developed a technical term for this situation: "journalistic masturbation."

You know - and this is not meant as a joke - growing up and during most of my adult life I do not recall hearing about the now popular concept of "do overs."

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 17, 2013 | 2:45 p.m.


Yes, I most certainly recall the Centennial Olympic Park bombing. A truly low point in federal law enforcement, as well as any adverse journalistic aspects.

But something like that could only happen in a police state, right?

(Report Comment)
David Rosman April 17, 2013 | 2:56 p.m.

UPDATE - CNN is now reporting now arrest has been made and that the AP is incorrect.

(Report Comment)
David Rosman April 17, 2013 | 2:57 p.m.
(Report Comment)
Tom Warhover April 18, 2013 | 8:50 a.m.

Reports of the arrests were wrong:

(Report Comment)

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