Archive for the ‘Boston’ Tag

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Fareed Zakaria “But first, here’s my take. We’re learning a great deal about the two men who planted bombs at the Boston Marathon. The brother Tsarnaev. And we will learn more, including on this program today and in the weeks ahead and better understand a terrible story of alienation, radicalization and brutal murder.

Were these men an unusual case, loners, or are they part of something larger? How and when did they turn?

In one important sense, however, this was textbook terrorism. The plan was to frighten us. Terrorism is an unusual tactic in that it depends for its success on response of the onlooker, that’s why people have often said about terrorists they want a few people dead and a lot of people watching.

But if we who watch are not terrorized, then almost by definition it didn’t work.

On that count, how did we do? Pretty well. The people of Boston handled the crisis with calm and determination. The authorities did shut down most of the city on Friday for the manhunt, a decision that could be debated, but the people of Boston stayed steady and are already getting back to normal.

I spent seven years living in Boston. And I was always struck by the city and its people’s strength of character. They have a tough New England spirit, a Puritan ethic that prizes doing one’s job and not making a fuss.

But beyond Boston, we Americans may have come to realize, finally, that the most important counterterrorism program out there is resilience. Things were different after 9/11, that was a much larger attack raising much larger concerns. Many of the things that followed: security measures, the overthrow of the Taliban, were necessary. But others in retrospect were not. The vast new homeland security bureaucracy, shutting down travel, turning counterterrorism it into an ill-defined and ever expanding war on terror. Osama bin Laden saw the rational for 9/11 in precisely the overreaction it produced among Americans and he said so on several occasions.

Resilience is partly a matter of character, but it’s also one of public policy. Steven Flynn, a scholar at Northeastern University who has written widely about this, argues that despite the billions spent, we never made it a priority. In written testimony given last July to the Senate committee on homeland security and governmental affairs, Flynn predicted that small attacks carried out by one to three operatives particularly if they reside in the U.S. can be carried out with little planning and on relatively short notice. As such, they are unlikely to attract the attention of the national intelligence community and the attacks once underway are almost impossible for the federal law enforcement community to stop.

So how to make ourselves more resilient? The steps we need to take are not that sexy. We need to upgrade our transit systems and infrastructure so as to make them less vulnerable to attacks. For example, Flynn notes, the U.S. Navy has invested more in protecting the single port of San Diego that is home to the Pacific fleet than the Department of Homeland Security has invested in the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, and Tacoma combined, upon which a bulk of the U.S. economy relies.

We must strengthen public health rapid recovery in the event of a biological attack, which is still the most worrying threat out there.

We need to make sure that the public understands the nature of these threats and how it can help identify and respond to them.

Above all, it needs to understand how not to respond to them. When bad things happen, it’s easy to react out of fear, emotion and anger. Let’s hope that in Boston this week we begin to chart a different course.”

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Bill Maher “A lot of news today, and the people of Boston finally heard the words they’ve been waiting for all week, the bars are open again…..

The guy who sent the ricin, did you read about this guy, Paul Kevin Curtis is his name.  He believed he had uncovered a conspiracy to sell human body parts on the black market, and the government was in on it.  Well, he’s been apprehended, he’s facing jail time, and he’s leading in the polls for the Republican nomination for President in 2016……

But, after a very difficult week that we have had, it’s good to know that bad guys don’t get away with it.  We caught the ricin guy.  We caught the bombers.  This is a powerful message from our government.  We will not be intimidated by bombs.  We will not be intimidated by poison.  This is America.  If you’re a violent paranoid lunatic, you must use a gun.  That’s the other depressing news from this week.  The Senate failed to pass the world’s weakest gun control bill.  That’s right, even though 90% of the people in this country supported background checks, nope, the Senate stood up to the vast majority of Americans and said no.  When a man is buying a machine gun from another mans trunk, and the first man has to ask, are you crazy, freedom dies.  90% of people support background checks.  That means even people who can’t pass a background check, support background checks.”

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From the April 15, 2013, edition of “Viewpoint.”

John Fugelsang:

We can now report that The Boston Globe confirms that the Boston police commissioner has said there has been a third confirmed death from today’s bombing. Now, Ralph Waldo Emerson said “all violence, all that is dreary and repels, is not power, but the absence of power.” Emerson was born in Boston, a city that’s seen its share of violence since the very beginning of the American experiment.

The Boston Massacre in 1770 was a foreshadowing of the American Revolution, and the Siege of Boston was one of the significant victories of the early war for independence. The city’s crime rate has been famously documented, so much so that an area was for years known as “the combat zone.” But in the 1990s, the Boston police department worked with neighborhood and religious groups to bring about the “Boston Miracle,” where people working together reduced violence and murders in the city dropped from 152 a year at the top of the decade to just 31 in 1999.

People working together can do that because for every example of humans resorting to violence there are untold, unreported thousands of humans who reject it and find another way.

So here’s what we know:

Police do not believe the JFK Library fire was related to the bomb. We know The New York Post was wrong when they said a Muslim suspect was in custody. We know that today was not Hitler’s birthday, it was not the anniversary of Waco or Oklahoma City.

A lot of people really want to assign blame; many are politicizing the attack. As of this broadcast, we don’t know if it’s cowardly right-wing homegrown extremists, cowardly foreign terror organizations, or a deeply cowardly individual.

What we do know is that whoever did this was influenced by violence, and allowed themselves to be guided by the propensity for violence that exists in all of us.

Whoever did this was influenced by the seemingly quick, easy and powerful temptation of violence to achieve a desired result. Whoever did this was influenced to believe that violence would give them satisfaction, change — they’re wrong and you know it.

We know that terrorism is a tool, and it has a purpose. It’s deliberate violence designed to use fear to stimulate change. We know it doesn’t work.

We know the U.S. Constitution was written to ensure domestic tranquility.

We know that in the Gospels, Jesus says, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” He also says, “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.”

We know the holy Quran says: “If anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or to spreak mischief in the land, it would be as if he killed all humankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all humankind.”

We know that the world’s great religions all preach against this kind of violence — yet the fundamentalists devotees of religion continually think their piety gives them a pass. But again we don’t know if this terrorist attack was that kind of terrorism.

We know that Ralph Waldo Emerson influenced Henry David Thoreau; Thoreau’s writings on nonviolent resistance influenced Gandhi; and Gandhi influenced a young man who attended Boston University; a man who later said, “it is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence.” That young man was Martin Luther King Jr. — who went on to become the greatest American voice for nonviolence in the 20th century.

And we know for everyone who’s influence has driven them to destruction and violence there are thousands more who reject it. Look at the people who ran into the bomb site to help the wounded. That’s the reality.

So if you’re on the side of every Christian, Muslim or Jew; every progressive or conservative who seeks to end our conflicts nonviolently, then congratulations — you’re already part of the solution.