April 19, 2013 at 12:01 am (Uncategorized)

A few years back I worked at a place with a significant number of Sri Lankan Tamils. Not surprisingly the subject of the war back home came up…. often. For the most part, the people I regularly discussed politics with were supporters of the Libertation Tigers of Tamil Elam. The so-called Tamil Tigers were a fairly ruthless national liberation organization oddly divoid of ideology: No pseudo-socialist trappings; no religious wrap. Simply an independent Tamil homeland. Ruthless? Yeah. They were early enthusiasts of suicide bombings and were not above killing rival Tamil militants who they deemed insufficiently resolute (or more often simply rivals). In the west, they were terrorists. To many Tamils they were freedom fighters. I guess a lot of the time it depends upon which way the gun is pointing.

Which brings me to Boston and the events of this week. The reasons behind the bombing remain unknown. I don’t think I’ve heard an Islamic terror angle, but plenty of conspiracies are floating around. From false flag arguments to survivalist rightists to lone wolf nuts. Plenty of theories, little evidence. The thing that struck me about it was the explosive itself. Apparently ball bearings inside a pressure cooker device. When the device went off it sent thousands of tiny pieces of metal through the air 22 times faster than a bullet. What it didn’t kill, it would maim. Blood, body parts, screaming. Terror. People make arguments for this strategy and in particular military targets. It’s hard to fathom this one. It’s also hard to belive that no matter what the “cause,” those involved are dreaming of a better world. It’s easier to believe they’re simply blood thirsty sociopaths.

And in the interests of equal time, and in no way to diminish the events in Boston, it’s important to remember that this sort of thing happens on a regular basis in many places. Civilians become merely poker chips in larger events. A market place in Iraq, a drone in Afghanistan. Tomorrow, it will be something else.


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