What began as a trickle of violent threats has become a storm. Federal law enforcement is finding similar manila envelopes containing explosives sent to the homes of George Soros, the Obamas, and the Clintons, as well as CNN's New York bureau and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Florida office. While the perpetrator has not been publicly identified yet, it's not hard to condemn these attempts for what they are: barbaric and horrific acts of political violence or intimidation.
Last summer, a terrorist opened fire on a baseball field full of congressional Republicans, nearly murdering House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. Ever since then, uncivilized political dissidents have only become more incensed. Ricin packages have targeted — thankfully, unsuccessfully — Sens. Ted Cruz and Susan Collins, CIA Director Gina Haspel, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and even the president. A Republican congressional candidate was the victim of an attempted stabbing. And now, at least five calculated attempts to terrorize two former Democratic presidents, a prominent liberal billionaire, a former head of the DNC, and a cable news channel have been intercepted in the last 24 hours.
Now is not the time to break out your tinfoil hats. Trump's very own Secret Service valiantly intercepted the bombs, which themselves have been reported to be fully functional. The sinister notion popping up among corners of the right-wing commentariat that the bombs are a false flag operation designed to garner public sympathy for Democrats is dangerous, deluded, and dumb.
While the overwhelming majority of conservative commentators and GOP politicians have wholeheartedly condemned the attacks for what they are, a flailing fringe has sought to unearth a vast, left-wing conspiracy.
"Just too coincidental that two weeks before Election Day, as the ‘blue wave’ has turned into a ripple, and the left is losing ground because of incivility and violent rhetoric, explosive devices show up in the mailboxes of Soros, Clinton, and Obama,” wrote right-wing radio personality John Cardillo on Twitter. Since deleting the tweet, he posted that at least only the security details, not the targets of the bombs themselves, would have been at risk. (Oh, really.)
Conservative columnist Kurt Schlichter wrote of the bombs, "Now I'm really sure it's a hoax," after the extremely compelling evidence emerged that some liberals blame Trump's rhetoric for the attacks. Perhaps Schlichter later realized this wasn't terribly compelling, as he later downgraded his certainty to "Nut or hoax — pick one."
While it's obviously fine to withhold judgment on the attacks until law enforcement addresses more of the public's questions, the rush from some on the Right to use a lack of facts to justify promulgating ridiculous conspiracy theories is both fallacious and irresponsible. Lies poison the well of truth, especially when the majority of Republicans in the White House and conservatives across the country have gone to such great lengths to condemn mob violence.