On September 16, Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice would take five separate interviews to pound on the theme that the movie and its producer had caused a protest, which led to the attack, in Benghazi. “What sparked the violence was a very hateful video on the Internet. It was a reaction to a video that had nothing to do with the United States,” Rice said.

The Obama White House backed her to the hilt.

Liberals like Bill Press and Tim Wu piled on, questioning free speech while condemning Nakoula Nakoula as if with one voice. President Obama himself would condemn the movie on September 26th, in a speech before the entire world at the United Nations. In that speech Obama declared that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” There was a movie-making monster on Benghazi Avenue.

In “Monsters,” the neighbors’ paranoia leads to a tragic end. They blame a child. They commit murder. Chaos. Mayhem. Civil war. It’s at this point that we learn the truth: Actual aliens have instigated the confusion to demonstrate how humans will behave. “Understand the procedure now?” one alien says to the other while they watch Maple Street’s descent into madness. “Throw them into darkness for a few hours, and then just sit back and watch the pattern. … They pick the most dangerous enemy they can find. And it’s themselves.”

By comparison, Nakoula Nakoula should consider himself lucky. He has merely been imprisoned in the land-of-the-free United States of America for slandering the prophet of Islam. The Americans in Benghazi were far less fortunate.

But how about the rest of us? How should we treat the scapegoat, and the powers who goaded us to hate him?

Related: Hillary Clinton, From Watergate to Benghazi-gate