While most observers are witholding judgment about what caused the two explosions at the Boston Marathon this afternoon, right-wing conspiracy theorists already know what’s going on — the government did it and is going to pin the blame on them because today is Patriots’ Day, a special day in the militia movement.
Alex Jones, who has become the country’s preeminent conspiracy theorist, wasted no time. As with 9/11, Sandy Hook and other national tragedies, he sees the Boston explosions as a “false flag” attack committed by the government. The objective this time: Expanding the Transportation Security Administration’s reach to sporting events:
On his radio show, Jones speculated that it may have to do with the sudden drop in the price of gold, a favorite commodity of paranoids everywhere. “With gold plunging, what could this signify?” he asked rhetorically. He also noted that Boston has special significance in American history, and because it’s where one of the planes took off from on 9/11. “I said on air that they’re getting ready to blow something up. To fire a shot heard round the world like at Lexington and Concord, and then they do it at this same place on the same day!” he said.
As Alex Altman of Time noted on Twitter, “Today is Patriots’ Day, which has significance for militia movement. McVeigh bombed Murrah Bldg on Patriots’ Day in 1995.” Patriots’ Day, a civil holiday in Massachusetts, commemorates those battles outside Boston that sparked the American Revolution. The holiday is now celebrated on the third Monday of April, though the battles actually took place on April 19, meaning the two dates are often conflated.
In addition to the Oklahoma City Bombing, which occurred on the 19th, the date also coincides with the deadly raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. As John Avalon wrote for the Daily Beast in 2010, the day has “emerged as a ‘Hatriot’ holiday for some anti-government activists and militia groups.”
This year, Patriots’ Day also falls on Tax Day, another important date for right-wing extremists. For all these reasons, Jones predicted that while “they might blame it on the Muslims, they’re going to blame it on the Tea Party.”
Conspiracy-themed message boards didn’t need to be asked twice to take the bait. “FALSE FLAG ALERT !!! Explosions at Boston Marathon!” one post said, “Boston False Flag Attack Right Now. Why Control! Next 911,” another read.