If authorities tricked you into buying stolen merchandise without knowing it, then arrested you for it, most folks might say you were set up.
But if authorities pretended to help you with a plot to detonate a bomb in the middle of a town Christmas celebration, and you went along with it eagerly and knowingly, that's hardly being set up.
It's more like being exposed.
Yet, friends of Somalia-born 19-year-old Mohamed Osman Mohamud say he was tricked into accepting the help of undercover officers to detonate a bomb at the Portland, Ore., Christmas tree lighting ceremony last week.
"If you talk with someone enough, they'll be convinced they need to do something," a Muslim observer in Portland claimed.
What undiluted drivel. You can't be stung by a sting if you don't have your hand in the hive. No one is going to be fooled into going along with a bomb plot unless it's in his heart and mind to do so.
From what we know, it sure was in this guy's. He reportedly talked excitedly about killing people, even children. Authorities say he "chose at every step to continue" with the plan to kill masses of people -- and that it ended with him "feverishly" dialing a cell phone he thought would set off the bomb.
Yeah, he was set up, the poor baby.
Well, except that he told undercover agents he'd been wanting to participate in violent jihad since he was 15.
The FBI also alleges that Mohamed Osman Mohamud has written articles for the online al-Qaida-linked magazine Inspire that encourages jihad against the West. One article, written by Inspire editor and New York-raised Muslim Samir Khan, is titled, "I am proud to be a traitor to America."
Oops. Sounds like poor Mohamed might have fallen into another trap!
The truth is, once you cut through the cynical claptrap coming from defense attorneys and jihadist sympathizers, entities such as Inspire are targeting American Muslim youths for extremism and terrorism. Like radical remote madrassas -- Muslim schools that preach hatred of Jews and Christians and are essentially factories for radical clerics and terrorists -- they seek to brainwash the young in abject hatred of all things non-Muslim.
As the PBS show Frontline put it, these radical madrassas, especially in Pakistan and Afghanistan, are "not so much concerned about scholarship as making war on infidels."
Now they have the Internet to create a kind of online madrassa.
Thus, the real trap: hatred.
It is world-wise and worldwide, showing up now even at Christmas tree lighting festivals in America's Great Northwest.
Mohamed Osman Mohamud isn't being set up.
But maybe the rest of us are.