Monday, April 22, 2013

The Boston Rag

I've been posting small things on the blog over the weekend because there's more to say about what happened in Boston last week than I can express adequately. You can pull on the threads a lot of ways and, frankly, I'm not certain which thread deserves the biggest tug. A few thoughts:
  • A lot of people are confused about the potential Chechen angle, which makes sense since the struggle between the Chechens and the Russians isn't particularly germane to life in the United States today. Then again, the internal struggles in Somalia aren't particularly germane, either, nor were the causes of the Irish Republican Army. While that is the case, it's never stopped people who come here from looking back to the old country and trying to remain involved in the events that drove them away. And I think that's often especially true for people who are really a generation removed from the struggle itself. From what I can tell, the Tsarnaev brothers were children when they came to America and the older brother didn't have much luck sussing out American culture and his place in a society that is as open and kaleidoscopic as our culture is.
  • I have recommended Eric Hoffer's book The True Believer on multiple occasions and I think it again is a source of significant insight into what the Tsarnaev brothers were thinking. The quote that I posted yesterday is on point, to wit: "Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life." It's become apparent that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was something of a loser. He tried boxing, but that didn't really work out. He tried other ventures and those didn't work out. He wasn't hesitant to knock his female companions around. He didn't fit, which made him susceptible to the call of a holy cause. Radical Islam of the sort that al-Qaeda espouses is operationally quite similar to any number of holy causes that have plagued us. After all, what is a higher calling than fighting evil? So if you kill a few 8-year old boys, that's just collateral damage.
  • I hate that Gov. Deval Patrick shut down Boston on Friday, but I've since read that shutting things down is how things often operate in Boston, especially when a bad snowstorm hits. That does explain what Patrick was thinking. Still, I'd be highly concerned that a local protocol becomes the norm elsewhere when the next terrorist strikes. Yep, I'm looking at you, Mark Dayton, the man who shut down his Senate office in 2004 when everyone else kept their heads.
  • If you'd ever wondered where the billions, perhaps trillions, of dollars that were spent on homeland security went to, we got a glimpse of it this week. Government at all levels has acquired a lot of firepower and equipment and much of it was on display in the streets of Boston last week. Does that comfort you, or trouble you? Think hard about your answer.

3 comments:

R.A. Crankbait said...

I don't know that I want to think hard right now, because there are dark conclusions on that path for those who want to observe and hypothesize.

I will think randomly, however, and share some of those thoughts:

1. 99 red balloons flew over Boston.
2, When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
3. Once Christmas I got a shiny new bicycle. I waited months for the slightest opportunity to take it on a test-ride, even when there was still a foot of snow on the ground.
4. Was Boston any more protected by this show of force than it would have been with a distribution of photos and a BOLO?
5. What are the legal sanctions for violating a "Shelter in Place" order? What if I decided I was going to rake my yard regardless? Also, having seen the video of the small army forcing a family to evacuate it's home with arms over their heads (and being shouted at and shoved if they didn't), what would happen if a "front-porch lawyer" told the troopers to get off his lawn until they had a warrant?
6. Hey, the helicopters really are black!

Rick M. said...

Great insight. Please don't hesitate to share your "random" thoughts. They contain gems.

Bike Bubba said...

Hmmm....at about $1500 a pop for both gun and vest, I'm thinking that the firepower of the militarized police does not begin to cover the hundreds of billions we've sent to the "Heimatssicherheitsdienst." Not by a long shot.

That said, I'm not convinced that the money is doing us much good. They've got "jackbooted thugs" down pretty well, but not "who might we be looking for?"

In fairness, I'm reading Sherlock Holmes right now, and Arthur Conan Doyle notes that the police aren't always the brightest bulbs, either.