Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A few thoughts on the bombing in Boston

Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror. -- President Obama (4/16/2013)
There were a few things that struck me yesterday regarding the bombing of the Boston Marathon. The first has to do with the crowds of fans watching the runners punish their bodies. Road races are one of the last sporting events that folks are able to walk up to and watch. There are no tickets. There are no metal detectors.

Part of the beauty of the Houston Marathon are the crowds gathered along the course. Whether it's the Heights, Montrose, the Village, the Galleria, Tanglewood, Memorial Drive, Allen Parkway or the final stretch, the fans are loud and supportive. If you're paying attention you'll see the same folks three, four or five times along the course. I never get tired of the sight of a runner heading to the side of the road to spend a few moments with family members before continuing on.

How much is that going to change as a result of what happened at the finish line on Monday? I hope it doesn't. This world can be a dangerous place but if you spend your life trying to wrap yourself into a protective cocoon, you're going to miss an epic journey.

Which brings me to my second thought. While driving up to Conroe this afternoon to make the 1:30 p.m. docket, I was listening to Talk of the Nation. The topic, of course, was the bombing. One of the panelists was asked about increasing security measures for runners and he didn't think it would be a big deal to require runners to pass through a metal detector on the way to the start line. Another guest who was associated with Atlanta's Peach Tree race piped in that she didn't think the runners would mind the inconvenience.

And why should runners have to walk through a metal detector on the way to the start line? It wasn't a runner who was carting two bombs along the course. I have never read or heard about any runner carrying a weapon with him on the course and using it during the course of the race. The notion of subjecting runners to unnecessary security measures is not just absurd, it's downright scary. It's scary because there are folks who find nothing wrong with the idea.

These are the same lemmings folks who blindly accept the latest "security" measure at the airport (or wherever) because it's all about being safe. So what if we're trading our privacy and our liberty for the false promise that our government will keep us all safe. One day y'all will wake up and tell your grandchildren stories about the old Fourth Amendment that will sound as quaint as today's tales about rotary dial phones and getting up and changing channels by hand.

And finally it's time to deal with the President's quote. If there is an award for unintended irony, President Obama has already wrapped it up for the year. How he was able to equate the bombing of innocent men, women and children with terrorism and keep a straight face while doing it, I'll never know. Yes, the deaths of three people and the maiming and wounding of more than 180 others was tragic - but it doesn't even compare to the death and destruction wrought by our government on innocent civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama, Serbia, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia - just to name a few.

Imagine the terror of sitting down at a cafe and having a bomb explode as it falls from the sky. Imagine the horror of seeing a cluster bomb fall in a market. Imagine the fear induced by the sounds of fighter jets in the sky knowing what they're carrying.

The United States is the world's finest killing machine but no one in our government and very few in the media care about the loss of innocent lives by the hand of American weaponry. They don't look like us. They don't talk like us. They don't practice religious superstition like us. They're just collateral damage in a war they had nothing to do with.

Yes, Mr. President, the use of bombs to kill innocent civilians is terrorism. And you, Bill Clinton and the Bushes should all be standing in the dock at The Hague answering charges of crimes against humanity.


Gritsforbreakfast said...

Bingo! Well said.

Joni said...

Very well said, and brave to say it. Your piece reminds me a lot of the writings of UT Austin journalism professor Robert Jensen. Hats off on a very insightful (and possibly ((inciteful) article.

Paul B. Kennedy said...

Thank you for the kind words, Joni.