I just read the latest marathon-bombing news this morning. At least some of it. Was surprised at the level of some of the response.
Two kids shut down Boston? And got the attention of the entire nation? And were killed/apprehended almost live on nationwide TV?
After the latest suspect was arrested, residents of Watertown, “took to the street en-masse… cheering on emergency workers and chanting ‘USA! USA! USA!’” (source)
It’s like the end to a movie, except real people were killed. With this much attention, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are copy-cat crimes, though I sincerely hope not.
The LA Times wrote an article, Boston bombings: Social media spirals out of control, with the subtitle, “Web sleuths cast suspicion on innocent people and spread bad tips and paranoia.”
From my limited perspective, there was a fair share more paranoia than necessary, considering the threat. Shutting down the entire city of Boston, population 4+ million, was perhaps out of proportion to having one man running around with a gun (or, as the facts would show, a wounded 19 year old hiding under a boat).
In the greater Boston metropolitan area, all businesses were closed and everyone told to stay inside. This article described the city as a ghost town, adding, “John Fox, the official historian of the FBI, said that the shutdown of such a major city was virtually unprecedented in recent U.S. history.”
From photos of empty Boston streets, “Cant believe Mass Ave is so dead today On a Friday This is unreal” with the Instagram picture below:
I was glad to read one jogger had the nerve to leave his home and face the danger dire to go running along the Charles river on Memorial Drive, in outright rebellion of the standing orders. Perhaps he was a descendant of an original Boston minuteman.
My friend here, Beth McHoul, reposted the following quote on Facebook: “If you’re trying to defeat the human spirit, marathoners are the wrong group to target” -unknown
Beth is a native of Boston, and has run in that marathon more than once herself. She is an amazing woman. Last Monday, her sister was running and only a mile from the finish when the bombs went off. I’m not trying to downplay the awfulness of the attack.
But in light of how things went down the last couple days, I just have to wonder, “Are Americans at large prone to overreaction?”
For contrast, here’s a local anecdote:
One day last week our Haitian worker Pierre arrived late to work. He said he ran into a police/gang shootout on the street. He turned his motorcycle around and waited it out at a nearby gas station. When the shots died down he drove through the mayhem, continuing on his way to work, dodging several bodies laying on the road. Pierre noted that business was as usual at the next intersection (Jerald Batay), as if nothing had happened right down the street.
In light of a story like that, when I read about the drastic measures taken in Boston, I have this distinct impression us American’s are becoming soft.
Logistically, it’s even surprising to me Boston could be shut down with so little notice. Apparently, residents were awoken to reverse-911 telephone calls instructing them to stay indoors. I didn’t even know they could do that. Reminds me of Orwell’s 1984.
Something else that reminds me of Orwell’s 1984 (and while I’m on my soapbox) is how smartphones are changing the world. Whether in regards to how an investigation is done of a terrorist attack like the Boston Marathon, or whether it’s the Pope’s inauguration:
I’m thinking there is no going back. The times we live in just ain’t like the olde days.