The International Writers Magazine: Reality Check USA + Readers Letters 5.10.13
The Lessons of Boston
So what will be the monthly flavor of scapegoat now that crudely homemade bombs are the latest to invade our cushy national illusion?
The very week the Senate, as expected, voted down any measure of background checks in the pursuit of our weaponry, we have new villains with new devices in which to wreak havoc.
More shrieks of horror and glimpses of carnage on jumbled amateur video played incessantly across television-land, later joined by the obligatory analysis from "experts" in law enforcement, national security, terrorist activities, psychologists, clergymen, and a parade of stunned witnesses. Tearful tributes from statesmen, politicians, celebrities, and another fanfare-induced appearance by the president, interrupted by half-assed reporting about arrests and suspects -- on FOXNEWS it's the "brown-skinned Saudi running from the scene" and on MSNBC it was TEA Party Right Wing maniacs protesting tax day.
CNN's John King, who was amazingly not fired on the spot, egregiously reported for nearly an hour that there was an arrest, prompting hundreds of people and media to converge on the city's courthouse. King, who made a mockery of the only presidential primary debate he was allowed to mediate, is the latest poster boy for knee-jerk uncorroborated showbiz that passes for journalism on every cable news outlet.
Not to be outdone, the NY Post, arguably the worst piece of shit printed on a daily basis since Randolph Hearst dropped dead, not only reported far more causalities than occurred, but later slapped two innocent young men on its front page as guilty.
Shock, panic, disdain, confusion, grief, racism, and erroneous innuendo passed off as news; these are the offspring of what has become an all-too familiar scene of destruction at the hands of some lunatic.
But what is it that we've learned?
Not the obvious; for instance, it's fortunate that everyone everywhere now has a camera and the Lord & Taylor's department store chain has a better surveillance system than the Pentagon. Or two young American brothers (legal immigrants from the Caucuses region of Russia) with baggie jeans, baseball caps and duffle bags filled with basement bombs they probably built with the help of YOUTUBE, were able to pull this off.
Nah, I mean what have we really learned?
To hear Senator John King tell it, (not a good week for people named John King) if nothing else we must continue to dump even more money we don't have into the sinkhole that is Homeland Security. It doesn't hurt that America's favorite xenophobe was formerly the chairman of that aforementioned boondoggle.
One thing we've not learned, and no interrogation nor its ensuing trial will shed any light on it; why some kids were motivated to play revolutionaries. This unsophisticated clusterfuck, which ended up more like the dark-comedy plot of a Coen Brothers movie than terrorism, is what happens when the end game for the disappointments, insecurities and general confusion in life is violence. These coddled, selfish, lazy-ass whiners had no better reason to leave explosives in a city street than walk into a school and begin shooting or blowing up a government building in Oklahoma City.
It's only been a couple of days since they've apprehended the surviving 19 year-old little sheetheel who perpetrated this atrocity, and we're already trying to diagnose insanity. How did he become radicalized? Where did he get this insatiable need to destroy and kill? Hell, I was radicalized at the library. Go into any library, and thank the great notion of free speech and expression there is radical thought --but please don't equate correlation with causation; that way lies damnation or at the very least the national nightmare we endured the months and years after 9/11 when we lowered out intellectual standards to satisfy our bestial, chest-thumping jingoistic ritualism. It wasn't the first time, and, sadly, to listen to the maniacal voices that have emerged in the wake of this horror, it shan't be the last.
Remember, the freedoms we enjoy that celebrate this nonsense of American exceptionalism can create a Steve Jobs, a Jay-Z, a Lebron James, builds skyscrapers, discover cures for diseases, experiment with the cosmos, but it also breeds narcissistic mutants, who believe their little corner of the psyche is more important than anyone else sucking air.
Fortunately, what we did learn is that what happened at the Boston Marathon was actually, considering the odds, a pretty rare event. Why doesn't this happen more often? Because people are basically good, or if you don't get into existential reasoning, then people are generally accepting of the societal collective; that everyone has a right to exist, even if it doesn't jibe with your myopic, bullshit view of the world. If not for the rest of us, this would happen two, three times daily. And if not for us, there could be no more marathons or any public event outside of an arena or theater where they can't wand, frisk and pat you down every which way.
If people were not generally "good" then all the law enforcement and gun checks and Homeland Security would have no shot at keeping you or your family free from the crazies.
In fact, the greater good was on display the day the crazies slithered through the cracks again. The greater good rushed to help the injured, tying make-shift tourniquets, carrying the fallen, tending to the hysterical. Homes were opened to the wounded and triages set up in parking garages. Boston channeled its inner NYC, circa 9/11/01, and displayed a greater confirmation about our humanity than could ever be torn to shreds by bombs.
I'm not sure how many of these things I've written about now, but there really is no lesson to any of it, except, of course, that we are all in this together. Either we act more civilly than not or this whole shit house goes up in flames. Simple as that.
We're running out of analysis.
We're running out of laws.
We're running out of fact-finders.
We're running out of excuses.
We had better not run out of the "good".
© James Campion April 22 2013
READERS RESPONSES May 10 2013
This column is chilling. (THE LESSONS OF BOSTON -- Issue: 2/24/13) Not sure I can agree with most of it. I think there is something that can be done to halt this madness, and not just increased spending on Homeland Security and spying and a lean on our Bill of Rights, but a serious look into the general mental health and education of our youth in this country. There are far too many lost souls, many of them are shoved to the side and ignored and in many cases mislead by radicals at home and abroad and cannot think for themselves because of a pathetic and ineffectual education system.
I think as a society there needs to be accountability to what are neighbors are up to. By this I do not mean we need to be in everyone's business, but this sense of community that was so prevalent in previous generations but has been abandoned in favor of social media, the Internet and television. There is no community interaction with our youth anymore. Our institutions have let them down. We have let them down. When the president or any congressmen stand up for increased educational funding or to make sure our children are prepared for a predatory world through learning and interaction, it is met with cynicism or religious backlash. These head-in-the-sand opinions have kept us in the dark for too long. I ask you or your readers: Since 9/11, has all this violence and ramped up security or anything cut down on or in some cases increased this hatred towards American ideals? We never treat the cause only the symptoms.
Before background checks for gun owners, before increased security, before all of that over reaction to tragedies such as this, there needs to be a microscope pointed at a society that pays more attention to sensationalism and celebrity than to our own friends, neighbors and children.
I agree with almost none of what you wrote here. I think it is the height of cynicism and has a blatant give-up attitude that I feel is far too prevalent in your work. However, I cannot agree more that what happened in Boston can in no way shape or form; socially, militarily, nationally or politically be compared to what happened on 9/11 in New York.
To not sound harsh, but to take your lead and at least be blunt: This would be like comparing a backyard touch football game with the Super Bowl. Yeah, they're both football, but come on.
You're an idiot and a weirdo and this insanity has to stop. What the hell are you going on about? There are monsters out to kill us! We need to wake up to the Islamic war against America, against our citizens and freedom. We need to stop babying these killers and stop wining about rights and stop wining about singling out a certain race or religion and come to the facts. This is an all-out war. I support droning Americans if it prevents this. These assholes stopped being American once they began plotting to harm and kill Americans. Where was the FBI? Letting one of these monster go? Where is our intelligence or this useless Homeland Security? I am outraged. This is not something that we have to live with. And I won't live with it. I will give up every freedom and every right I have to keep myself and my family safe.
You prove my point that "extended" background checks and "assault" weapons bans would do nothing. First off, neither of those Borat wannabees had a weapons permit when they lit up that poor security guard and last I checked Pressure Cookers were not on any weapons list either banned or accepted.
You are correct about the "good" in people. If it weren't, this place would be a bloodbath the way that NRA members and gun owners are kicked around, mocked and blamed for every fucking thing that happens in this country. If these legal gun owners weren't kind hearted and good at their core, you would have ammo flying at a remarkable rate but no....it is Obama supporters turning cookware into IED's.
I blame the government for using tragedies like these to further their destruction of our Constitutional freedoms and we allow it to happen and even cheer on and praise those that are doing it.
The good is indeed running out and I believe the man at the top is anxiously awaiting that moment.
Good column. I, too, have been wondering recently how the U.S. would be if this type of thing happened daily, such as with suicide bombers in the Middle East. Our nation was scared, disturbed, and freaked out about a bombing that killed three people -- something that's essentially considered chump change in Middle Eastern countries. Those attacks overseas kill dozens daily and not a peep is heard or acknowledged over here. I guess it's a good thing this is a rare event in the U.S.
I love this. I agree with this. There is "good" that will eventually out-duel the "bad". I believe that on 9/11 and this latest terrorist tragedy, what eventually and forever resonates are the heroes and those who came to the aid of the injured and fallen and the incredible national law enforcement agencies that were able to effectively track these murderers down with little fuss, quickly. Amazing that this was wrapped up in less than a week. And if the terrorism that hit us at the beginning of the last decade is any indication of how we respond, it should be this way. Hard and quick and not to over react, because then terrorism is its most effective.
In the end, after 9/11, if you really think about it, bin Laden ended up achieving his goal. He yanked us into a Jihad, but had we handled things as efficiently as this, then maybe thousands of lives and billions of wasted dollars would have been spared.
My favorite was when FOX NEWS had a Saudi guy guilty and then that moron Glenn Beck told everyone he had it cold that he knew who this guys was and how he was behind this or involved and then I stupidly tuned in and this goofball has nothing! I am sick of these Howard Stern clones posing as actual commentators. It is treasonous and should be investigated. How is it that someone is not allowed to cry fire in a crowded theater, but give him a radio show or a blog or a streaming Internet show that shut-ins and paranoids listen to so they can all wait for end-times like cultists, and this is not a crime?
Here's the "Lesson of Boston": Find every loner shithead Muslim or Islamic "freedom fighter" and drag his sorry as to Gitmo and pour water into his face until he tells us where the next carnage is coming from. How's that for a lesson, bub?
Do yourself no favors and "like" this idiot at www.facebook.com/jc.author
Springtime for North Korea
Be Careful + Readers Responses
Edmund Burke is an interesting cat. I like to read him when alarmists shout incessantly about how things are worse than ever. Things are not worse than ever. It is far better
Getting hyped about North Korea saber rattling in spring is tantamount to being floored about the flowers budding in the backyard. It is a rite of the season. Many of the nation's goofy ritualistic observances happen around now.