The terrorism Jump to Conclusions mat

For the last year, the story has been the same – voters are upset with and distrustful of government, meaning we should be on guard for violent outbursts from the right.  It’s going to happen at one of these tea parties, we’ve been told.  Glenn Beck and his ilk are spurring violence, and not-so-secretly happy about the idea of angry mobs spurring armed revolution.  Democrats must live in fear, because Republicans are willing to stop at nothing to stop them!

So here’s a thought: just this weekend, New York faced a bomb threat.  The suspect is in custody, but there’s no indication on motive yet.  In fact, in stories buried under a sensational headline about South Park’s recent controversy, Rep. Peter King actually makes exactly that point:

Though King said the “hostile remarks” raised after the South Park incident were worth investigating, other potential targets – such as nearby financial institutions – needed to be looked at as well.

Financial institutions?  Well, let’s think about that.  Plenty of lawmakers have been taking shots at Wall Street, lumping the entire financial services industry in with the fraudulent and dishonest players.  The President himself has made a bit of a political comeback thanks to rhetoric based on widespread popular distrust of these financial institutions.

So if you have a “Jump to Conclusions” mat about the recent failed terror attack in New York, doesn’t one of all those “conclusions written on it… that you could… jump to!…” have to be that the Times Square bomber could have been operating based on what he has been hearing from Washington?  It’s perfectly logical if you buy the argument that harsh rhetoric from media mouthpieces incites acts of violence.

But like the jump to conclusions mat itself, it is a terrible, terrible idea.

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