Woburn, MA may be the modern Northeastern equivalent of Andy Griffith‘s Mayberry, but it’s only 12 miles northwest of Boston. Boston, where I lived for 18 of my 38 years in New England. In all that time, I’ve seen far too much violence, crime, death, disease and destructive behavior, but I don’t recall ever seeing any real acts of terrorism.
Let me be clear. Terrorism is defined as The calculated use of violence (or threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political, religious or ideological in nature. We tend to throw that term around nowadays, with the same nonchalance that we have for phrases like schizophrenic and Holocaust. Just because my wife gets a little pissy now and again, doesn’t make her schizophrenic – and not every act of senseless murder can be compared to the unmitigated and industrialized evil that was the Third Reich.
So, what I’m trying to say is that until we catch the perpetrators of yesterday’s tragic bombing of the Boston Marathon, and discover what motivated them to commit such an atrocity, we have no business labeling it as terrorism. Tragedy? Sure. Horror? Of course. We can call it a crime, a senseless act of violence, a day of mourning – but until we’re sure, we can’t call it terrorism.
America – I’m begging you. Don’t let this send you spinning into craziness like September 11th did. Don’t go off on a vendetta of war, murder and wrongful prosecution. Don’t further stuff our over-sated jails and prisons with anonymous boogeymen. Don’t attack any sovereign nations, and above all let’s don’t declare a War on anything.
Back then, I was teaching analog electronics at a small college in Brookline. Our meetings were about how to reach problem students, how to best convey information, how to inspire interest, best practices in teaching and making lessons accessible to people with disabilities. After 9/11, the meetings became about security, how to catch cheating and plagiarizing students and what to do in emergencies. We were bade to stop being teachers and become cops. I actually got in trouble with my Department Chair, for turning in a lost backpack, rather than calling the police. The backpack could have contained a bomb.
My students built projects of their own choosing, for their final exams. Things like small preamps, fuzz-boxes, wah-wah pedals and guitar tuners. These projects would take several weeks, and the students would commonly bring them home to work on them at their leisure. I had so many students complain that transit authorities would confiscate these projects, that I had to make the rule that nobody could take their projects home. I guess to a cop, an unfinished fuzz-box looks enough like a bomb to warrant confiscation. I get the need to protect – to prevent – but at what point do we cede all that makes us Americans, for a fleeting sense of security?
As a Bostonian and a distance runner, I mourn for the victims of yesterday’s tragedy. And I, like everyone else in this state – and this nation – want to see justice done. But I’m begging you. Let’s do that justice fairly, calmly and with no eye to revenge. Let’s let cooler heads prevail.
BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.
- The message sent by America’s invisible victims | Glenn Greenwald (guardian.co.uk)
- TERROR THREAT: Centerville Man Charged (whotv.com)
- Studying The “Wicked Field” Of Terrorism: Starting With Basics – Analysis (eurasiareview.com)
- URGENT – obama statement boston (wyff4.com)
- Obama Calls Bombings ‘Act of Terror’ (kcrg.com)
- Five questions about terrorism in the wake of the Boston Marathon explosions (pennlive.com)
- Tragedy in Boston (jk1211.wordpress.com)
- S.A. expert on terrorism: Boston bombings work of Islamic extremists (kens5.com)
- Terrorism on Obama’s Watch (conservativebyte.com)
- Bloody Boston (canadafreepress.com)