The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Simultaneous Bombs

Rich Galen

Thursday October 25, 2018

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  • The seven (as of this writing) bombs that were delivered or left at the offices or homes of what someone considered political opponents of Donald Trump scared the hell out of me.

  • I have been in that CNN bureau in New York City dozens of times. It's not so easy to get in.

  • By my count there are five security-related stops to go through from the time you push through the front doors from the street until you get to the green room outside the studio.

  • At the Washington, DC bureau of CNN there are usually four security stops from the street to the green room. And, that's assuming you can find the place.

  • At the Fox bureau in DC you have to call from the building's reception desk on the ground floor to be cleared before you are given a pass to get you through the turnstiles, which get you to the elevator, which gets you to the correct floor where you have to wait in the hallway to be buzzed into the Fox lobby and then buzzed in to the bureau itself.

  • At the NBC bureau in DC you have to be verbally cleared to drive through a barrier maybe 200 yards from the building. After parking, you are buzzed in by a guard inside the building. Then you are left in the lobby until rescued by a greeter who uses a fob to get you out of the lobby to the interior of the bureau, then through another locked door to get into the green room.

  • I might have missed a step or two in all that, but I wanted you to know that these networks take security very seriously.

  • After the Anthrax attacks after the 9/11 horror, most - if not all - government installations have mail, letters and packages, routed to an offsite facility where it is tested and x-rayed before being sent on to the appropriate building and specific office.

  • As I am writing this on Wednesday afternoon, we don't yet know who left/mailed the bombs. We don't know if it was one person, a cell of people, Americans, or foreigners.

  • It is easy in this era to blame Donald Trump for - as he did the other night - extolling the violence visited upon an reporter by a candidate for Congress. "Body slammed him," Trump said miming the action.

  • It's a long way from exciting a crowd at a rally to taking the time to buy the parts, assemble the pieces, wrap the final product, figure out the postage, and put them in the mail such that they all arrive on the same day.

  • Any more than it makes sense to blame Robert De Niro in his "Taxi Driver" role as Travis Bickle for John Hinkley's attack on President Ronald Reagan.

  • There are a lot of things not to like about what Donald Trump says, but inciting someone to send bombs to the Clintons and the Obamas, and the rest is not one of them.


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  • Neither was the sending of all those bombs a symptom of the end of civilization as we have known it since the end of the Middle Ages. Civilization is nothing but a mutually agreed upon set of criteria that define how we act toward one another.

  • We don't stab one another while waiting in line at Starbucks. We don't intentionally run over pedestrians at intersections. We don't push people in front of oncoming subway trains. And we don't send bombs to CNN.

  • We have a social contract that says, in effect: "Thou shalt order decaf at Starbucks if you get cranky."

  • These things happen, but they happen so infrequently they typically lead the local evening newscasts.

  • There have been times when politicians have acted reallybadly. Not just yelling at one another but, as in 1856 when Sen. Charles Sumner was attacked by U.S. Rep. Preston Brooks, of South Carolina with a cane while sitting on the Senate floor.

  • Maybe, as Shakespeare said of Brutus, "the fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves."

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the NY Times coverage of the bombs, to the Anthrax attacks of 2001, to the attack on Ronald Reagan, and to the caning of Sen. Sumner.

    The Mullfoto is of a plant that looks the way I feel sometimes.

    -- END --

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