Monday, April 15, 2013

The New Boston Massacre: What We Shouldn't Do

By now everyone has heard of the horrifically tragic events that occured in Boston today.  Around 4
hours in to the historic Boston Marathon race, two bombs went off, killing 2 so far, and injuring more than 80 others.

I'm calling it the New Boston Massacre simply because it's in Boston, it's a massacre, and it has some name recognition properties.

Amidst these times that try mens' souls (thank you Tommy Paine), we have to make a concerted effort to fight our natural instincts on how to react to such tragedy.  Here's a short list of what we shouldn't do.

1.  Don't make assumptions - There will no doubt be a lot of speculation thrown around about who may have done this, at least until we get some more facts or until someone cops to it.  What we should not do is start blaming various groups of people.  There will be some who will automatically assume that it must be Islamic terrorists.  Some might say that it's a bunch of right-wing nuts who did it.  Others might start throwing around the "C Word" (conspiracy).  Whatever it might look like, we need to wait until there is definitive evidence as to whodunit.  Otherwise, we are going to further divide an already divided nation.  So please, be prudent and WAIT.

2.  Don't play the blame game - This sounds an awful lot like what I just said, but I'm thinking of a different blame game.  What we don't want to do is start blaming things other than the culprits i.e. politicians, the FBI, video games, eroding American society, etc..  The fact of the matter is that no matter what is going on right now, only those actually responsible for the acts can truly be blamed for what they've done.  It's not Activision's fault for publishing Call of Duty.  It's not Obama's fault for wanting to impose stricter gun laws.  It's not America's fault for being a different society than it was 50 years ago.  It's not the fault of the FBI because, let's face it, they're only human.

3.  Don't exacerbate the politics of it - It's a possibility that the reason behind the bombing was political.  I think it's rare that we see this level of violence that purely springs from the whims of a psychopath.  No matter what the message is, no matter the culprit, and no matter the implications of things, we must not politicize this any further.  Politicizing it only serves to divide us even further, and it will make government even more deadlocked than before.  It doesn't matter if the perpetrator is a Right Wing Nut Job or a Left Wing Commie Revolutionist, we cannot blame any set of ideas for the person's actions.

4.  Don't abandon the principles of true justice -  Whoever did this has caused a lot of pain and suffering, but that suffering will be for naught if we sacrifice our souls to exact our pound of flesh.  Whoever did this must be brought to justice in the manner the Constitution has set forth.  He must receive a fair trial and given sentence.  He may not languish in the forgotten realms of Guantanamo Bay.  Although we may want him to die or suffer in some unimagineable way, we must stay our lust for vengeance.  A rational society is one that behaves reasonably in even the most irrational circumstances.

5.  Don't let them win - The whole point of terrorism is to force a people to abandon some principle or course of action.  Although America is not always right in its opinions or courses of action, we must always keep vigilant to err on the side of justice and reason.  If we allow our baser natures to prevail, then whoever did this will have achieved his goal.  Such a person seeks to unravel society at the seams, and if we let the terror take over--if we give in to our animal instinct of survival, and our human instinct of vengeance--then society will continue to erode irrevocbly. 

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said Jackie.

Add a 6th: Understand this event is common routine occurrence in other parts of the world.

FreeThinke said...

Good advice, Jack, even if it does sound as though you are delivering it from A Great Height.

We all need to be careful of assuming an attitude of condescension. It's makes for better communication -- and less resistance -- to treat our audiences as equally wise and bright as ourselves -- at least until they prove themselves otherwise in the comments section. ;-).

I would add a need for the cultivation of empathy towards all concerned -- including the perpetrators -- in order to achieve better understanding of things of this sort.

I recommend the development of an ever deepening appreciation for serious Music, Art, and Poetry. It helps a great deal in achieving that goal.

FreeThinke said...

I am so grateful that -- so far -- no one from any of numerous factions has attempted to gain political leverage from this horrific event.

I take that as a healthy sign.

We seem united in grief for the victims, which is far better than being polarized in pursuit of some perceived "enemy" to blame.

If there could be anything good to come from this dreadful thing, that just might be it.

If nothing else, at least it has acted as a wake-up call to renewed awareness of our common humanity.

Jack Camwell said...

Thank you for the kind words, Gentlemen.

Often when I write my articles, I think to myself "who am I to give advice to others?"

Well, I'm a man who, in the past, has given in to the very things I've cautioned against.

It's an interesting thing that you bring up, FT--the notion of empathy that is. Not just empathy for those who have suffered, but for the perpetrator as well.

If we are ever to understand the horrifying things people do, then we have to place ourselves in their position, no matter how dark it might be.

I'm reminded of the character Will Graham in "Red Dragon." Hannibal Lecter described him as a man of "pure empathy." He was a good profiler for the FBI because he could put himself in the mindset of the killers. He needed psychiatric help after putting himself in the mindset of Hannibal Lecter.

People don't often empathize with the evildoers not because they are disgusted, but because they are afraid where it may take their own minds.

Silverfiddle said...

Agreed. I am worn out and pissed off at groups of all political stripes who clamor at every incident such as this to gain political advantage.

They can all go to hell. We don't know yet who did this or why.

The Smoking Man said...

Keep calm and carry on.

TSM

FreeThinke said...

"They [callous political opportunists] can all go to hell."

And that is undoubtedly where that ilk will end up -- assuming such a place truly exists -- and all of us are not there already. I have to admit I sometimes wonder ;-)

Jersey McJones said...

There are over 300,000,000 of us, Americans. Things like this, tragically, do happen in such a big place with so many people.

But overall, our lives are pretty good compared to most of the world. We're very lucky, really.

Instead of focusing on who did this, for now we should only focus on the victims. For them, this is so horrifically unlucky. Besides, we don't know who did it, yet.

JMJ

KP said...

"horrifically unlucky" is what I was thinking about the dead and injured, too, JMJ. Like being a plane that crashes.

FreeThinke said...

UPDATE:

April 19, 2013 - 7:40 AM EDT

1 OF 2 MASS. BOMB SUSPECTS DEAD; SUBURBS SHUT DOWN

BY EILEEN SULLIVAN, MEGHAN BARR AND KATIE ZEZIMA 
ASSOCIATED PRESS

WATERTOWN, Mass. (AP) -- Two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer, injured a transit officer in a firefight and threw explosive devices at police during their getaway attempt in a long night of violence that left one of them dead and another still at large Friday, authorities said as the manhunt intensified for a young man described as a dangerous terrorist
.
The suspects were identified to The Associated Press as coming from the Russian region near Chechnya, which has been plagued by an Islamic insurgency stemming from separatist wars.

A law enforcement intelligence bulletin obtained by the AP identified the surviving bomb suspect as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, a 19-year-old who had been living in Cambridge, just outside Boston, and said he "may be armed and dangerous."

Two law enforcement officials told the AP that Tsarnaev and the other suspect, who was not immediately identified, had been living legally in the U.S. for at least one year. ...

COMPLETE ARTICLE at the following link:

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_POLICE_CONVERGE_MASS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-04-19-07-09-32

FreeThinke said...

We rave on indignantly like shrieking maniacs about the EVILS of the millions of ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS who for the most part live peaceably and productively among us, yet we continue to tolerate the odious, deadly dangerous -- but LEGAL -- presence of foreign-born Muslims who come here with hate in their hearts eager to do us in.

Our thinking is clogged and crippled by massive amounts of mostly-liberal SHIT aided and abetted by the spineless, gutless RINOS who infest congress.

I want a return of the RACIST CHAUVINIST NATION I was born in. We had no qualms or compunctions whatsoever about protecting OUR best interests -- no mater WHO it hurt.

Without that shameless self-serving attitude we could NEVER have won World War Two. NEVER!!!

Jersey McJones said...

FreeThinke, the only thing "free" about your "thinke" is it's freedom from reality.

It was, after all, the "RACIST CHAUVINIST" men who started the World Wars, and in America wanted to keep America out of them.

JMJ

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