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One of the first things to look for in a terrorist attack is the motive of the terrorist. There are lots of motives out there, and we know about most of them —hate of many varieties, mental derangement that leads to a weird connection of violence and virtue, money, power, vengeance, religious differences and ethnic problems.

Solving the crime should be an act of honest endeavor and not a search for political leverage. If you do not know the concept of a “red herring,” it is a planted clue that is intended to confuse an investigation. The Boston bombing might be related in some vague way to the fact that we do not educate our children well, but that is not a relevant place or effort to start the investigation. I am firmly convinced that many of us are asking if this is a fault of Democrats or Republicans, and that does not seem to be the proper question until we know what happened and why it happened. At some time in the future, we will need to consider all of these questions, but it is too early at this time.

If we are to have good government and adequate national security, we must look with open eyes and open minds at the deficiencies in our system. This may require the correct placing of blame, but that is different from placing the blame as a matter of political speculation and self-serving political agendas.

If we start out with the compelling urge to find some way to pin the guilt for a national tragedy on one party or the other, we are very likely to find grist for our mills.

Putting country over party does not mean that we have to abandon our party concerns, but country should always trump party. Wanting the perpetrator to be a native white American might be the same as wanting to decrease the religious, sectarian and racial aspect of the tragedy, but it does have a strong aroma of bias to it.

Ultimately, the use of profiling will be a major tool in finding the people who set off the bombs. However, it will not be senseless, generalized thinking of a blind nature.

We have all been influenced by distorted cultural ideas, indoctrination, manipulation, the use of fear and hatred as tools of manipulation. Slick, self-serving rascals take advantage of our religious fears.

An open mind is surely a state of uncertainty that leads to nervous anxiety, and nervous anxiety leads to poor thinking. On the other hand, it may be that I was just born a simpleton and have been a little mad about it ever since my birth.

As a high school principal, I did once catch a bomb-threat caller, and I have a bevy of trained witnesses to prove that I did.

The government has never asked me how I did it, and that is just as well because some of the details would give me a bad name in today’s culture.

TOBY HIGHTOWER is a retired educator and former Hopkinsville High School teacher. His email address is Write to him at 222 S. 25th St., Apartment 434, Terre Haute, IN. 47803.

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