I love my boyfriend. He is the light of my life, apple of my eye, and the conspiracy nut in my mixed-nut can. As an avid terrorist watcher (hey, some people watch royals, others keep up on terrorist bombings) he has noticed that certain groups tend to "commemorate" special days by blowing themselves and other people up. It's not just him doing this noticing, it is a national pastime in Israel. So of course, with the most recent bombing in London, the pattern loving half of his brain began calculating. The following is the revised (do you really expect me to remember verbatim?) transcript of the conversation.
T: There is a pattern between bombings, groups like this are obsessed with numbers.
T: Really, there is a thousand days between 9/11 and the Madrid bombings.
(delay as Erin does some math)
E: No, there are 912 days.
T: See! Wait, not 911?
E: There would have been 911, but 2004 was a leap year, you have to add an extra day in Feb.
T: So there were 911 days between the two attacks.
E: Or if the so-called mastermind behind it wasn't smart enough to add that extra day, he would have thought that 3/11/04 *was* 911 days later.
T: Um-hm, see. There is a pattern. Now how many days were between Madrid and London.
(delay as Erin does some more math)
T: Ah-ha, and if you divide 911 in two what do you get? (Thomas is much faster at math then me)
(delay as Erin uses her calculator)
E: 455.5... Oh weird.
T: Ah ha, see!
E: Okay, so it is weird.
T: So if it is half of 911, then what is half of that?
(again with this math stuff)
E: 227-228 days, meaning that the next bombing, assuming that your conspiracy theory is right...
T: I'm not saying it is right, what if they set up a pattern so we all get hyped up and then they strike on a different day!?
E: (long look)
T: (innocent look of someone convinced that "they" are up to no good, but glad he knows that "they" are up to no good)
E: February 19 or 20 2006. (sudden dismay) Oh that's no good.
E: That falls during the winter Olympics. Which this year, is being held in northern Italy. Italy, coalition member.
(meanwhile on news they mention the Bali bombing)
T: And what are the days between all of those bombings.
E: (grumbles) Wait a minute, this is hard. (muttering) Thirty days have September....
(long delay as Erin does math)
E: 397 days between 9/11 and Bali. Or one year, one month, and one day as previously noted on the news. 515 days between Bali and Madrid. No pattern.
T: Yeah, but one year, one month and one day? That was definitely by design.
So conspiracy? Are mathematician Islamic extremists hard at work cranking out numbers to make their explosions more meaningful? What about the G-8 conference in Scotland and the announcement that London would host the 2012 Olympics, is it just a coincidence that these things just happened to come at the same time as this mathematical equation demands a bombing? Or are we, pattern seeking creatures of habit, desperate to find a pattern, to be able to predict the next wave of horror?
Alas, since I live with a believer, we shall not be going to Copenhagen those days in Feb. or is it likely we'll go to the Olympics. But then, as my devils advocate side argues, does not going validate the terrorists plan to strike fear in the hearts of the common person? Does not going because of a crazy whim (aka complicated mathematical formula) let the terrorists win?
I am at a loss.
Meanwhile, would anyone like to open a macabre betting pool: Where and when will the next terror attack in Europe take place?