In which I prove myself to be a spooky un-American kook

First, let me say—although you may not think this is true if you read to the end of this piece—I believe any killing of one person by another is immoral, despicable, and reprehensible. I include in “any” the killing of “any” other person by “any” law-abiding citizen with a permit to carry a lethal weapon in a “Stand-Your-Ground” shooting (or in any other situation). If one abhors murder and abortion and terrorist bombings, then it is only logically consistent that one abhors carrying any lethal weapon for the purpose of killing someone even in the noble act of “self-defense.” Do not, if you carry a gun, speak to me of your hatred or fear of “terrorism.” You are a terrorist—your purpose is to instill terror in the heart of another human being.

Military-Industrial-anti-Terrorism complex

Military-Industrial-anti-Terrorism complex

The Boston Marathon bombings were as despicable as any act can be. I spent day after day at the Boston Public Library when I was researching my dissertation in 1987. I stood virtually where the first bomb exploded day after day waiting for the bus. I love that place. I am horrified and distraught and weep for the victims. I cannot imagine the courage and selflessness of the people who ran toward the victims of the bombing.

That said, I offer the spooky kooky opinion that will make nearly everyone who might have stumbled onto my blog stop reading: The “lock-down” of Boston was totally unnecessary, an exercise in mind-control over the general public of Massachusetts and, by extension, the entire population of the United States.

Police chases (even police chases with “fire fights”) occur in this country every day. How could they not with the per capita ownership of guns in the US standing at .89. That is, for every 100 people, there are 89 guns. The only country that comes even close is Yemen (where the US is convinced the remnant of Al Qaeda is flourishing) with 55 guns per 100 people (1).

So we live in the most violence-prone society in the world. Murder and police chases after suspected murderers are popular in movies because they are absolutely believable. There is nothing fantastic about them. We thrive on the “news” of yet another police chase. (Oh, come on, don’t be holier-than-thou!)stand-your-ground-law1

If the two young men who are accused (probably correctly, but who knows at this point?) of detonating the bombs at the Boston Marathon did, in fact, perpetrate that unspeakable act of violence, injury, and death against totally innocent and unsuspecting persons, they (the remaining man) deserve the full force of the justice our society can bring to bear.

Professor John Mueller of Ohio State University, who holds the Woody Hayes Chair of National Security Studies, says in an article published by International Studies Perspectives it has been

. . . common, at least since 1945, for the United States to exaggerate foreign threats, and then to overreact to them, something that seems to be continuing with current concerns over international terrorism(2).

And overreact the FBI, the National Guard, the Massachusetts State Police, the Watertown Police, and the Boston Police did.

Now, this morning, the headline in the Dallas Morning News is, “FBI had talked to suspect: Kremlin asked U.S. about man in 2011 before his trip to Russia.” The entire story is innuendo. Congress members are frantically “express(ing) concern about the FBI’s handling of a request from Russia before [Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s] trip to examine the man’s possible links to extremist groups in the region.” There is not, in the DMN story, a single fact about the (alleged) Marathon Bomber except that the Russians—because he was an ethnic Chechnyan and a Muslim—were concerned that he went to Russia to renew his passport so he could stay in the United States. The Russians, one might point out, are concerned about Chechnyan Muslims in general. Because Russia maintains its control over Chechnya only by force.

. . . to exaggerate foreign threats. . .

. . . to exaggerate foreign threats. . .

Whatever the Tsarnaev brothers’ connection to Chechnya or its separatists, the US government will, if it finds any link at all, succeed in convincing Americans that we are about to be destroyed by Chechnyan separatists. Tsarnaev may well have been radicalized by going home to Russian (never, one might point out, to Chechnya). I have no way of knowing.

But if we are suddenly told, warned, bamboozled into believing that Chechnyan separatists are a threat to the United States and, for example, the minute relaxations by the NTSB of restrictions on what may be carried onto a plane are reversed, we will have made President Obama a liar. He said yesterday that, “Americans refuse to be terrorized.”

In 1961 President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned Americans not to be taken over by the Military-Industrial Complex. Those are not the rantings of a delusional old man (he was only three years older at the time than I am now—perhaps all old men are delusional). I’m pretty sure he’d add the “anti-Terrorism Industry” to that today.

Were Watertown and Boston terrorized by one 19-year-old college boy or by the entire police apparatus of the Federal and State and City governments and the insatiable sensation-seeking media? Think about it.
_________
(1) Please don’t tell my students that my source for this is “Number of guns per person by country.” Wikipedia. (2) Mueller, John. “Simplicity And Spook: Terrorism And The Dynamics Of Threat Exaggeration.” International Studies Perspectives 6.2 (2005): 208-234.

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