Not 15 minutes after finding out about the Boston Marathon bombing, I overheard someone snidely declare, “I don’t believe in terrorism.” What followed was a vague and sprawling account of half-baked conspiracy theories on international terrorist events of the last ten years. As the individual continued, my mind couldn’t help but drift north to Boston where sidewalks were still being washed clean of blood, limbs were being amputated, and lives were expiring, or else undergoing tectonic shifts.
Waking up this morning to a new crop of conspiracy theories came as no surprise—they trail all catastrophes like dark shadows. And like shadows, most conspiracy theories are insubstantial, and ultimately useless. Too often they siphon our attention away from the disaster at hand and disguise a calamity like this one as something more sinister, but less immediate and real than it really is. If you want a touching response to the tragedy of yesterday, read this Facebook post by Patton Oswalt. If you want to keep posted on the story’s developments, change your homepage to BostonGlobe.com. If you want a detailed analysis on how similar tragedies occur every day around the world, take a look at Glenn Greenwald’s post over on The Guardian. But whatever you do, don’t indulge in unfounded speculation—you’re doing a disservice to yourself and the people around you.
Oh, and if you simply must visit one conspiracy theory website out there, just go to this one: bostonmarathonconspiracy.com