"He was from Saudi Arabia, which is around where the logic stops."

April 17, 2013

In the immediate aftermath of the bombing in Boston, an injured marathon spectator was tackled by another bystander and then taken into police custody. His apartment was searched. Read Amy Davidson's post

People thought he looked suspicious.

What made them suspect him? He was running—so was everyone. The police reportedly thought he smelled like explosives; his wounds might have suggested why. He said something about thinking there would be a second bomb—as there was, and often is, to target responders. If that was the reason he gave for running, it was a sensible one. He asked if anyone was dead—a question people were screaming. And he was from Saudi Arabia, which is around where the logic stops. Was it just the way he looked, or did he, in the chaos, maybe call for God with a name that someone found strange?

Yesterday, authorities clarified that this young man isn't a suspect. It still isn't clear why—other than the way he looked/sounded—anyone ever suspected him in the first place.

We don't know who did this, or whether it should properly be called "terrorism" of any kind. And the more I see things like this and this and this, the stronger my sense of dread. If—not when, if—it comes to light that Islamic extremists were behind this attack, a whole lot of American ugliness is going to get a whole lot uglier.