Right wing bloggers are always quick to assume that any bomb blast is the result of Islamic terrorists and object strenuously to any suggestion of responsibility by the extremists on their own side. Yesterday’s bombing attack on the Boston marathon brought instant and unapologetic speculation from Pamela Geller and a list of the usual suspects, yet mere speculation by one CNN analyst that right wing extremists “could” be behind the incident drew flaming reactions from Breitbart.com’s John Nolte and NewsBusters.com’s Matt Hadro. How dare anyone suggest our self-styled “patriots” could be responsible for this?!
But as ThinkProgress reported last year on the seventeenth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing,
Fifty-six percent of domestic terrorist attacks and plots in the U.S. since 1995 have been perpetrated by right-wing extremists, as compared to 30 percent by ecoterrorists and 12 percent by Islamic extremists. Right-wing extremism has been responsible for the greatest number of terrorist incidents in the U.S. in 13 of the 17 years since the Oklahoma City bombing.
A Muslim is far more likely to be the victim of religious violence in America than a perpetrator of it. In fact, anti-Islamic violence spiked in 2010, the most recent year for which statistics are available. FBI numbers also show a rise in attacks against Latinos. Both trends are directly attributable to the heightened rhetoric of right wing pundits and thought leaders who refuse all responsibility for the outcome of their words. And until they are held accountable by the media and society, that disconnect will continue to produce tragedy.