Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Just Give Reddit A Few More Decades, They'll Crack This Boston Thing Yet

Entrepreneur Jason Calacanis made the call yesterday to speculate and crowdsource about the Boston bombings—"'Shut up and let the cops do their job’ in the case of a terrorist attack is EXACTLY wrong"—but he needn't worry, Reddit is all over it. They have a spreadsheet even! So let's find out how the nice folks at /findbostonbombers are doing.

• "I hate to even bring up this point, but when I have seen videos of radical Islamists yelling 'allahu akbar' in the past, I seem to recall seeing them make something like the pinched thumb and forefingers gesture he is making in the second picture."

• "also could it be possible that slinging it on and off your shoulder could make the bomb unstable and prematurely go off? the way hes holding it here though, he could easily set it down and walk away without drawing a lot of attention. he also stood out to me because of his look. he fits the profile of the kind of person i think did this.i think it was not a foreigner, i believe it is a white, mid 30's to 40's, possible anti government individual. also, he doesnt fit in with anyone in the picture to me, although he could be there for a wife, son, daughter etc cheering them on."


• "The perpetrator could even be a person on here or another website identifying other people instead of themselves or editing others' images."

• "sorry, but that appears to be a simply orange orange juice."

• "As has been pointed out before – if you DO find a suspicious buyer, it is not a good idea to actually post about them here, in case they are a bored college student like many of us (and 25%! of Boston during the school year). Directly contact the FBI."


Don't worry, FBI, the Internet will have this thing taken care of in no time.

24 Comments / Post A Comment

hershmire (#233,671)

In times of distress, confusion and fear, some people want to feel needed, feel as though they're making a difference in a cruel, unfeeling world. And these people should be ruthlessly mocked in an public forum, because, hey, tearing others down is easier then building them up, AMIRITE

frontsidebus (#5,387)

@hershmire In times of distress, confusion and fear, some people want to feel needed, so they engage in racism, unhelpful speculation, and rumor mongering!

@frontsidebus And Photoshop. Don't forget Photoshop.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@hershmire Yeah, fanning the flames of racist hysteria sure will make a difference at this time and in this world. Just not the difference that I would be hoping for, so forgive me for daring to mock it.

Non-Anonymous (#19,293)

@hershmire So, hershmire, wanting to feel needed in a time of fear grants you carte blanche to act like an idiot and potentially endanger innocent people? I'll have to remember that if I'm ever charged with drunk driving.

skahammer (#587)

@Non-Anonymous Carte blanche! Everyone thinks they're giving out cartes blanches these days! Delusions of grandeur, everywhere you look!

I think hershmire's point is simply that it's generous to be tolerant of people who feel unsettled and afraid. This seems wise to me. If you jeer at such folks instead, then surely you're inviting everyone to return the favor when you're the one who feels uncertain and fearful. And that's just ridiculous.

BadUncle (#153)

@skahammer "People who feel unsettled and afraid" are the substance of lynch mobs. And being generous towards self-deputized justice is, at best, the very opposite of wise.

jolie (#16)

You know what Boston needs more of? Racial profiling.

SkinnyNerd (#224,784)

This is nothing new. Here is Errol Morris discussing the umbrella man at the Kennedy assassination.

deepomega (#1,720)

Where's Jim Garrison when you need him?

coalbaron (#11,105)

Who fucking gives a shit? People got their legs blown off. Luxuriate in your contempt for Reddit next week.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@coalbaron You just couldn't take your own advice, couldn't you? I suppose it goes without saying that it doesn't apply to Your Moral Highness.

BadUncle (#153)

@coalbaron So, we should unleash the Nancy Drews so they might – at best – completely fuck up some bystanders' life with unsubstantiated, racist innuendo?

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

"Ethnicity: Ethnic"

This is why the world hates you, Americans.

@Niko Bellic : On the Internet, nobody knows you're an Ethnic.

@Niko Bellic They should probably have used colors of crayons.

"Ethnicity: Burnt Sienna"

SkinnyNerd (#224,784)

Several comments in this thread trouble me. Is generalizing about racism just as bad as generalizing about race? I clicked through to the subreddit mentioned in Choire's post and noticed people of a variety of races being identified. Most of the people pointed out were people with backpacks. I am not saying racist comments were not made, but it was just a small group of people that was responsible for them and most of them were downvoted. Then I went to 4chan which oftentimes is the source of reddit images and noticed that many of the identifications were accompanied with satiric text (in many cases mocking racism, although in 4chan's caustic manner). So just please, research something well before accusations start flying. Having said that, I am not comfortable with this whole picking through people in a crowd trend nor am I comfortable with the racist statements. But I expect more from Awl commenters.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@SkinnyNerd "Is generalizing about racism just as bad as generalizing about race?"

Are you serious?

Forget all of the hand-wringing about race. You really trust these sleuths to help find the culprits when they can't tell the difference between a blue robe and a polar fleece??!?!?

@SkinnyNerd : But I expect more from Awl commenters.

And that was your first mistake, etc. etc.

the fridge (#217,591)

Sure, Reddit is an easy target, but how could you pass up mocking Calacanis's article? There's really no other appropriate response to hilariously myopic gems like "Twitter is where all the smart and important people in the world spend their time" and "smart people favor Twitter over any other social network by far" and "Is there a cost to speculation? I’ve given that a lot of thought. The only cost is that you might encounter speculation you don’t like" and "We can debate if we want to live in a world with vigilante justice." LOL. Except he's apparently serious.

skahammer (#587)

@the fridge Eh, there's such a thing as being beneath mention. If Calacanis doesn't fall into that category for you, then who does?

the fridge (#217,591)

@skahammer That is an excellent point well made. I'd be happy to never see/hear his name again.

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