The Boston Marathon bombing was horrible. The two brothers who carried it out were monsters. But let’s keep this episode in perspective. In the scheme of U. S. history, terrorist bombings are not that rare and they have been perpetrated by domestic terrorists more often than foreign ones.
While Boston was the first bombing since 9/11, the 1990s were plagued with bomb attacks from both domestic and foreign sources. From Oklahoma City to the Olympic Park to the first World Trade Center and numerous other politically motivated bombings, authorities used conventional law enforcement techniques to capture and prosecute the perpetrators. Throughout the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, groups from both the left and right bombed churches, government buildings and private residences. No one ever suggested classifying them as enemy combatants and suspending their rights.
However, in the period following World War I, the government cracked down on immigrants following a series of bombings perpetrated by anarchist groups. Under the guise of protecting the country from outside revolutionary groups, thousands of immigrants were arrested, imprisoned and deported illegally. That period is a stain on our history and we don’t want to go down that path again.