Following the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev last night, President Obama gave a brief statement.
In his statement, Obama praised the professionalism of state and local authorities in Massachusetts and paid tribute to Sean Collier, the MIT police officer who was gunned down by the Tsarnaev brothers on Thursday night as well as the three people who died in the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday. Obama also took a moment to give a thought to West, Texas which was devastated by an explosion in a fertilizer factory on Wednesday night which claimed 14 lives and injured over 200.
Yet President Obama could not refrain from the temptation to once again lecture the nation about jump to conclusions:
That American spirit includes staying true to the unity and diversity that makes us strong — like no other nation in the world. In this age of instant reporting and tweets and blogs, there’s a temptation to latch on to any bit of information, sometimes to jump to conclusions. But when a tragedy like this happens, with public safety at risk and the stakes so high, it’s important that we do this right. That’s why we have investigations. That’s why we relentlessly gather the facts. That’s why we have courts. And that’s why we take care not to rush to judgment — not about the motivations of these individuals; certainly not about entire groups of people.
From where I sit, the only people jumping to conclusions are the likes of Chris Matthews who said that domestic terrorists “tend to be on the far right.” You may recall there was a fire at the JFK Museum and Library at around the same time of the bombing. Matthews believed it was part of the terrorist attack and speculated “going after the Kennedy Library, not after something at Bunker Hill, not something from the freedom trail or any kind of historic, but a modern political figure of the Democratic Party. Does that tell you anything?”
Then, of course, there was David Sirota who wanted the terrorists to be “white, Americans.”
As for President Obama, the last time he spoke about law enforcement in Massachusetts; it was to say they had “acted stupidly” in the arrrest of his friend Skip Gates even though he admitted, “I don’t know all the facts.” It didn’t prevent Obama from jumping to conclusions and rushing to judgment about the role race played in the arrest.
Obama also told us not to jump to conclusions during the Fort Hood shootings. Despite the fact that Nidal Malik Hasan shouted “Allahu Akbar!!!” bearing a business card with the inscription SoA (Soldier of Allah) as far as Obama is concerned it is an act of “workplace violence”, not terrorism.
Thus Obama is in no position to lecture us on jumping to conclusions and rushing to judgment.
Yet when Obama spoke of “entire groups of people”, he was referring to Muslims. As a resident of Boston, I can tell you that no one jumped to conclusions about Muslims being involved in the Boston Marathon bombings. In polite society, it is frowned upon to place Muslim and terrorist in the same sentence. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that this state of affairs will still prevail despite the fact that we know the Tsarnaev brothers are Muslim, were radicalized and inspired to commit murder in its name.
We may never entirely know why the Tsarnaevs unleashed this act of evil. But we do know that a critical mass of the Muslim world is at war with the United States and, as we have now learned, part of that critical mass resides on our soil.