[UPDATE AT END}
Despite the vehement protestations of partisans on cable news, Twitter, etc., it shouldn’t matter whether a crazy of the right or left sent the growing number of crude pipe bombs to Democratic Party politicians and their supporters in the media and Hollywood.
But I will get to that in a minute. First, let’s examine the suspects.
The possibility a foreign power is trying to disrupt our political system, as the Russians did to some extent via the Internet during the presidential election, exists but is remote. It seems unlikely another country or its intelligence agencies would risk being unmasked in a matter of potential violence against our officials. The results could be catastrophic for them and they know it. Of course, it could be unsanctioned, or supposedly unsanctioned, behavior by foreigners. So give it two or three percent.
This leaves us with right-wing and left-wing actors and the similarly remote wild person with no real affiliation or intention other than causing mayhem weeks before an election. Call that the mega-malignant-narcissism motive, in other words me-me-me.
Actors of the extreme left and right have plenty of that too, but we’ll discount this supposedly impartial character for now and get down to the left-right nitty gritty.
In a country of 320+ million (or even just in Florida with a population of 21 million — reportedly the mailing point of at least some of the packages) we can assume there are more than enough crazies on both sides to undertake such actions and then some.
At this juncture, it is impossible to determine whether it was done by someone on the right (as a direct attack or threat against its targets) or the left (as a “false flag” operation aimed at discrediting Republicans and Trump in advance of the election).
What we do know is that if the intent was to kill or maim, the perpetrator or perpetrators were extraordinarily inept. With all the successful bombings going on in the world, literally on a daily basis, this amateur — or deliberate amateur or amateurs — is no candidate for al-Qaeda or ISIS. This is all the more true with bomb-making instructions of all sorts readily available on the Internet, many of them quite accurate. (No, don’t go there. You will be tracked.)
Under the (predictably) misleading headline “Investigators treating packages as ‘live devices,’ not hoax” (of course, they are — they’d be imbeciles not to), the AP tells us late Thursday:
Law enforcement officials said the devices, containing timers and batteries, were not rigged like a booby-trapped package bomb that would explode upon opening. But the officials were still uncertain whether the devices were poorly designed or never intended to cause physical harm.
So we have ten packages, none of which, as far as we know, have gone off or could go off. No one has so much as a broken cuticle. Moreover, it has been acknowledged the white powder found with the package for John Brennan (apparently misspelled) was harmless.
Even if Brennan was misspelled, Occam’s razor is beginning to spell “HOAX” correctly. But by and for whom? Here as well we don’t know, but again followers of William of Ockham would tend to point you toward the left wing — a single leftie nutcase or some Antifa types, perhaps. After all, cui bono? With Kavanaugh and the caravan, things were not looking good for the Democrats. The subject had to be changed before it was too late and the blue wave turned red. So far, however, it’s not working.
No wonder the reliably left-leaning Chuck Todd is suddenly pointing toward Russia, not some MAGA-hatted redneck with a Confederate flag tattooed on his chest, as the perpetrator. It’s a dead giveaway. He’s probably hoping for the Russians now. Because if it goes as it’s currently looking, it’s bad news for his team.
But back to my opening paragraph. In a rational world, this does not matter. Certainly whoever is responsible for this heinous activity should be taken off the streets for life as soon possible for the protection of the public. But their identity and motivation mean very little ultimately. Quite simply, whatever “side” they’re on or think they’re on — they’re nuts.
In a giant country like ours, simple math tells us there always will be a percentage of truly aberrant individuals on all sides ready to act out. The politically correct thing to say is we should “cool our jets.” But, in truth, even if the rhetoric dies down, even if Schumer and Pelosi find it in their hearts to forgive Donald Trump (not likely) or Donald promises to throw away his iPhone, forego Twitter, and invite Rosie O’Donnell to have her wedding free of charge at Mar-a-Lago, it will not change. Such disturbed people will always exist. The Unabomber pre-dated all the contemporary online noise. There’s no way around this behavior unless we start controlling our DNA, not an appealing prospect, except perhaps to the late Margaret Sanger.
In a very odd way, this whole event is not news. It’s a sideshow.
UPDATE: I obviously blew it last night when I uploaded my column predicting the bombs or whatever you want to call them were a product of a left-wing loon They are the product of a right-wing loon. So I’m eating crow this morning. I was obviously worried about the election. The moral of the story is you shouldn’t let emotion overwhelm good sense. No one really knew where this insanity was coming from, at least no one outside the FBI. Now the question is how much this will affect the midterms. Some, obviously. The good news, if you can call it that, is that madman was apprehended quickly. A few more of these bombs may surface, but he will be largely (not completely, of course) off the front page in two or three days to be superseded by the approaching caravan. That crisis will tilt in the direction of the GOP. Of course, there may be more October Surprises. It’s only the 26th. The month still has five more days.
Roger L. Simon – co-founder and CEO Emeritus of PJ Media – is a novelist and screenwriter.