After yesterday's bridge collapse in Minneapolis, a lot of people started speculating as to why it happened. Much to my chagrin, a number of conservatives piped up and said it was definitely terrorism. Of course, my mind said the exact opposite because, as nice as Minnesota and particularly Minneapolis is, there really isn't much justification to take out a section of a bridge connected to Interstate 35.
Remember a few weeks ago when John Edwards said Republicans were turning the war on terror into a bumper sticker? When we rush to judgment about incidents like the bridge collapse, we're proving Edwards right. And Lord knows if he ever catches wind of that, he'll be even more unbearable than he already is. Instead of looking for Osama Bin Laden under every bridge in Minnesota, we should really start thinking logically.
And the best place to start is with consideration to the purpose of terrorism. Contrary to what some will tell you, terrorism isn't random, nor is it without a purpose. Every terrorist act is designed to, at the very least, instill fear in a desired target. Sometimes the terrorism, such as what the IRA has done over the years in Ireland, has been with a political purpose. Other times, as is the case in the Gaza Strip and in Israel, the terrorism is for religious purposes. Even our homegrown terrorists, like EarthFirst! and the Animal Liberation Front, have a reason to commit acts of terror. (Granted, with the last two groups, it's something utterly stupid, but you get the point.)
So, that brings us back to the question of why terrorists would try to take out a section of a bridge in Minneapolis. The answer: they wouldn't. There's no real payoff to it. It doesn't help a cause, it doesn't make a statement, it doesn't even really instill fear in the general public. It's a bust as a terrorist act.
Yet, there are people who, I think, may be hoping it's linked to terrorism because it fuels their preconceived notions about Muslims. I actually had someone tell me point blank that the proof that the bridge collapse was terrorism was because Minnesota has a high Muslim population. That's it. I won't use his name to protect the innocent, the guilty, and the insufferably stupid.
Folks, not every bad thing that happens in the post-9/11 world is connected to terrorism. Kevin Bacon, yes, but not terrorism. So, let's use our heads for a change and realize that the bridge disaster yesterday might just be a mishap, not an attack.