Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Keep your cool Though you can't see what's in front of you

Some random thoughts on the Boston bombing yesterday:


-          Road running is about as egalitarian a sport as there is. All you need is -- well, I was going to say a pair of sneakers, but you don’t even need that. Or feet. But most people can do it for free, with minimal equipment. That an event like that is terrorized speaks volumes about the cowardice of the bomber(s).

-          That said, a few things should be noted about this particular race:

1.    While marathons are generally viewed as peace time activities, we should not forget that they have their roots in war. The first marathon was run to celebrate an Athenian victory. Was the bomber aware of this? Who knows?

2.    It was the celebration of Patriot’s Day, the day when the American Revolution kicked off (actually, that’s April 19, but the celebration is always the third Monday of the month.) The bomber most certainly was aware of this.

3.    The race is run in the city most synonymous with an event that probably instigated the fierce British response that triggered the Revolution full stop: the Tea Party. I’ll let you draw whatever conclusions you may from that, but it’s an eerie note to make.

-          Already on Twitter, some morons on the right are comparing Boston to Benghazi and complaining about the “tepid” response to yesterday’s act of terror. They’ll even blame Obama for lax oversight on homeland security, conveniently forgetting that even George W Bush screwed the pooch any number of times in his administration and was bailed out only by the incompetence of potential terrorists. From the Virginia assassinations to the anthrax mailings to the Times Square bombing, Bush was ineffectual about all these events. He was worse than Obama, who is trying to maintain a calming influence on the nation. To call this a terrorist act (as opposed to an act of terror) is to raise the spectre of, let’s face it: Islam, when it could just as easily be any number of domestic morons or moronic organizations on both sides of the political spectrum. For instance, as I noted above, just because it’s the city of the original Tea Party, this does not mean the bomber was celebrating the right. It could just as easily have been an attempt to associate the Teabaggers with death, and emanated from the left. We don’t know, and Obama is correct not to label anything prematurely.

-          Which of course, is contrasted with Bush’s cowardice (ignore the ridiculous rhetoric at that link and focus on the facts of his reaction) in the aftermath of 9/11, when he flew across country twice to avoid any possible plane attacks (there were none) on Air Force One, then lashed out at a nation that had nothing to do with the destruction, all in the name of appearing strong. It was America’s weakest moment, and we should make a strong note of that. We allowed terror to rule our actions. And that’s being charitable towards the then-President.

-          Police are questioning a Saudi national who was detained at the scene of the explosion by a bystander, who might have made a terribly bigoted mistake. He saw a swarthy man running and tackled him. That’s all we know right now. Did the bystander see something or was he reacting to “bomb/Arab”? This is why the President’s caution is warranted.

-          You know those people running towards the bombs? Union men and women. All paid for with our taxes. Those people are in danger of being cut by the Republicans, Inc.

-          Most of the injuries were caused by flying shrapnel, specifically some form of BB or ball-bearings encased in the bomb itself.

-          Finally, today, we are all Bostonians. I know I’ve spent more time in Boston than any other city in America save my home town. I know this area. I’ve been in Copley and on Boylston and it was a dream as a younger man when I was a runner to run the marathon. There was an innocence shattered yesterday. This was not a Federal building or a building on a college campus associated with a war, or a bank. This was a group of people, some American, some not, who had their most innocent pleasure ripped from their hands.