Pretend for a moment that you are a New York detective. It is May 1, 2010, and a hot dog vendor has discovered a green SUV parked on West 45th Street near Broadway, just off of Times Square, emitting smoke. The bomb squad has already determined that the vehicle contains propane tanks, gasoline, fireworks and an alarm clock rigged to set off a massive explosion.
Imagine you are tasked with finding the perpetrator. Where do you start your investigation? Do you start with: (A) a right-winger opposed to the health bill; (B) a Swedish grandmother upset at losing the ticket lottery for "Next to Normal"; or (C) a radical Muslim trying to kill Americans?
If you're New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, your answer is (A). "If I had to guess, twenty five cents, this would be exactly that," Bloomberg posited. "Homegrown maybe a mentally deranged person or someone with a political agenda that doesn't like the health care bill or something. It could be anything."
If you're Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, your answer is (B). "Right now, every lead has to be pursued," said Napolitano the day after the attempted bombing. "I caution against premature decisions one way or another." Napolitano's Homeland Security Department immediately released photographs of a white guy changing his shirt in the area and plastered those pictures all over the Internet. Turns out the guy was probably just warm and wanted to shed his overshirt.
If you're a rational human being, your answer is (C). Since President Obama took office, there have been four Muslim terror incidents on American soil. On June 1, 2009, Muslim convert Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad drove up to a military recruiting station and opened fire, killing one private and wounding another. It took President Obama two days to comment on the shooting. On Nov. 5, 2009, Muslim militant Nidal Malik Hasan murdered 13 people and wounded 30 others at Fort Hood in Texas. Obama's immediate response: "I would caution against jumping to conclusions." On Dec. 25, 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to bomb Northwest Airlines Flight 253 with 289 people aboard. Obama responded by giving Abdulmutallab a lawyer and reading him his Miranda rights. Finally, there was the attempted Times Square bombing, during which the Obama administration reacted with confusion and caution.