Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Observations from the Coffee Shop 4.16

Shannon Stapleton / Reuters
As I write this 3 are dead and 126 are still hospitalized, 17 of them in critical condition, after two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon finish line yesterday afternoon. These are just some of my random thoughts from the morning after.

I was working in mid-town yesterday afternoon. It was one of those rare moments when I have my phone turned off but I still knew something happened, something not good. Live in this city long enough and you start to notice when the police are on edge, that and the fact that there were suddenly more and better armed police on the street. Another sure sign is when there are police cars everywhere with their lights on, no sirens, just lights, as if they were putting on a show of force for somebody. It only took a moment to find out what had happened at the Boston Marathon.

As with any news terror in the age of twitter is instantaneous. Rumors are reported as fact and you have to be really careful and think about what you are reading. One thing I found a bit disgusting was how wingnuts of the right immediately blamed middle eastern (read Muslim) terrorists while those of the left were just as fast to blame home grown crazies of the right. Michael Moore simply tweeted "Tax Day? Patriots Day?" and left it hanging. Right wing bloggers attacked the left for politicizing such a sad event but failed to mention that Fox News and the New York Post both reported a Saudi national was in custody and suspected in the bombings. The Post is still reporting today that the Saudi man was being grilled by the FBI because he 'smelled of gunpowder.' Both the Post and Fox News are owned by Rupert Murdoch.

I read somewhere that any normal person would drop to their knees and pray to god upon hearing the news. I have to be honest and say I'm far from normal but I did think of god later in the day. I want to know what kind of supposedly all knowing god kills an eight year old boy in a bomb blast. Indeed this all knowing god seems to have a thing for kids lately. But enough of that, that's a line of thought that never fails to bring me grief.

We like to think we're lucky in this country because there are parts of the world where terror on this scale is a daily occurrence but are we really that lucky? What is a mass shooting if not a pathetic, lonely, and non-political form of terrorism? As happened after Benghazi President Obama is again being criticized for not immediately calling Boston an act of terror but that would just be stating the obvious. Of course it was an act of terror, gas lines don't spew ball bearings when the explode, the question is terror from who. The word terrorism has political connotations that sometimes are best left to the wingnuts.

I saw former Pennsylvania Governor and the first Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge interviewed last night. The reporter was asking Ridge how something like the combing could still happen without any warning when he changed tone asked what person could do to protect themselves. Ridge simply shook his head and said, "Just live your life, just live your life." I found myself nodding as he said it because, for more than one reason, those are words to live by.

Sadly it's the world we now live in now and frankly I don't think it's ever going to change.