Southern Poverty Law Center's Mark Potok Talks Recent Attacks


By Ashley Thompson

The FBI is saying the Boston Marathon attacks are not connected to the ricin-laced envelopes.


Authorities are pursuing leads and possible suspects following the Boston Marathon bombings. Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center has worked to battle domestic extremism for years. He says the law center is following the attacks but like many others, continue to be puzzled.

"The truth is, we have really no idea whether it's foreign or domestic," says Potok. "It's also perfectly plausible this is a mad man, someone like Adam Lanza, the kid who shot up Sandy Hook."

Potok says there is potential for others to want to imitate whoever committed the attacks.

"Sad to say but there are people in this world and in our country in particular that do actually go out and kill other people because somehow they've seen something on TV that makes them feel that it's cool or that it's going to get them a lot of attention."

Authorities arrested Paul Kevin Curtis of Mississippi for allegedly sending suspicious envelopes containing the poison ricin to the offices of elected officials, including President Barack Obama and Alabama Senator Richard Shelby. Potok says he believes the sender is trying to send a message.

"The ricin attacks seem to be an attack on simply the government in general," he says. "So maybe it's some kind of anti-government extremist."

Although Potok believes an anti-government extremist may have sent the poison-laced envelopes, he can't figure out the motive behind the Boston Marathon attacks.

"In the case of the Boston Marathon, I think it's almost impossible to understand what the protest is, what issue they're calling attention to. "

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