Yesterday was a sad day.. Who would’ve thought an exciting, highly anticipated and celebrated event like the Boston Marathon would turn to utter chaos and destruction.. 2 dead and over 150 injured.. yesterday caused us all to pause.. In looking at yesterday’s events it was hard not to remember the emotions and disbelief that surrounded the 9-11 tragedies 12 years ago. It’s hard to look at the bombings that took place in Boston without having a degree of caution and skepticism.. We saw a tragic event like 9-11 that was supposed to unite us and help us see the humanity in one another evolve to where we are divisive, uncaring and inhumane with our actions.. On top of that we moved to a point where we are willing to surrender our power and civil liberties to those we put into positions of power to further agendas that are Draconian ..
After 9-11, when we heard reports of police flowing out into the streets a thousand at a time to patrol stadiums and subways, we greeted the news enthusiastically and gave them a thumbs up.. Now when we hear such news we think of intrusion and unnecessary abuse..We think of stop and frisk and harassment before we think protection We hear about extra cameras being put up and we think undeserved surveillance and privacy invaded before we think a necessary sacrifice to catch those responsible for causing so much harm and terror.
They say one should not politicize a tragedy, and ideally one should not, but as soon as we turn on the TV, the politicking is in full swing.. It ranges from the wording the President uses to describe what took place to the music, signage and footage shown endlessly on news outlets to gratuitous headlines like the one put out by the NY Times designed to shock vs inform? What’s being presented seems designed to keep us agitated and in a constant state of fear, with politician after politician using the event to hold press conference to supposedly to ‘ease those fears’. Ironically their announcements about some mass security action they are going to order winds up stoking fears..
After the yesterday’s bombing I don’t think there was a city or town in this country where a mayor or police chief did not hold a press conference explaining how they were gonna ramp up security..For example, here in Oakland, I heard our police chief on the local media talking about how extra police were gonna be on hand making sure fans attending the Oakland As and the Warrior games were ‘protected’.
Afterwards they shifted to LA where we heard similar announcements of extra police in Hollywood and on the subways.. Then we saw press conference in New York where Mayor Bloomberg was talking about sending extra cops out on the streets to protect everyone.. Then it was back to the Bay Area to talk with officials in San Francisco where they were talking about beefing up security for next month’s Bay to Breakers race. After that we saw press conference in London to explain how security details were being tightened to make sure Margret Thatcher‘s funeral goes on without a hitch… As I’m writing this column the local news has just shown the SF police chief talking about extra patrols and now they switched over to the BART subway officials who are announcing they have extra police on deck, all designed to protect us..
Call me skeptical, but the first thoughts that ran through my head was; after 9-11 didn’t we create a Department of Homeland Security that was supposed to be keeping us safe 24/7? Didn’t we open up the government purse strings and pour seemingly unlimited amounts of money to make sure all the right agencies and new technologies like face recognition cameras, bomb sniffing robots, x-rays, listening devices etc, are always in place at high alert? Such questions need to be asked especially when our recent history is showing that over the past 15 years all sorts of horrific upheavals have taken place around this time.. From Columbine to Virginia Tech school shootings. From Waco to Oklahoma City bombings. Hitler’s birthday and Tax day with more and more people with each passing year vocal in
Are all these police chiefs and officials just doing a dog and pony show, one that was replicated all over the nation? One might ask what’s the end goal? In almost every press conference we saw the request from officials to report anything ‘suspicious’, but there was no description as to what suspicious means? Is it Muslim, Latino? teenagers, white guys with shaved heads? The seeds of distrust are being planted when we ideally should be coming together..
Whatever the case, this Boston Marathon tragedy seems like field day for the media.. Reporters and anchors seem more frantic than the people I see walking the streets outside.. It all seems manufactured even when they highlight the heart-wrenching story of the 8-year-old, Martin Richard being killed or the young 12-year-old boy from the Bay Area who was watching his mom run and was seriously injured…..Absent from all this coverage is the human touch..
Absent from the coverage is the heroism from folks helping out in the mist of the chaos those 130 people injured. Absent from a lot of the coverage is the fact that people from over 90 countries run the Boston Marathon..It’s like a mini Olympics. Were any of the international folks running or watching injured? Why no news about them vs showing the same video footage over and over again? But that might too much since we hardly cover the numerous bombings that take place sometimes daily in countries all over the world. There was hardly a peep of the bombings in Somalia where 30 were killed and Iraq where over 50 were killed over the weekend? Our outpouring of grief should be for loss of life everywhere…Why not show the first responders and doctors who were on hand tending to those injured and seriously saving lives in the most challenging conditions vs showing officials beating their chest talking about they got guns and firepower to deal with any sort of threat..Fear and Distrust is big business for many.
One of the hardest lessons we learned after 9-11 was during those times after 9-11 where many grieved that those with nefarious thoughts went to work and snatched away civil liberties and took us into wars that had nothing to do with the days horrific events..It wasn’t long before we wound up being no different from some of the countries we once criticized all in the name of fighting the new War on terror. In the aftermath of Boston one has gotta wonder, what’s in store for those seeking to game moments like these?
Writer Naomi Klein calls it shock and awe..so while we should keep our eyes and ears peeled for those who might wanna plant a bomb, we best keep our eyes and ears on those who wanna plant bombs of distrust and have us turning on one another. We best keep our eyes on those sitting in halls of power who will use this tragedy to plant legislative bombs that cripple our freedoms vs underscoring them.. All of this being done in the name of fighting the war of terror..