Monday, April 22, 2013

A few thoughts on the Boston bombings

THOUGHT #1: In spite of my tendency to be pessimistic and somewhat paranoid, I generally don't believe that there is a shadowy cabal of elite power brokers manipulating every single aspect of our behavior for their own selfish gain.
That said, something struck me as odd about some of the media coverage as the manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev intensified. Testimonial comments like this started popping up in all the media coverage...

"It's completely out of his character. Everything about him was wonderful. He was completely outgoing, very engaged, he loved the school. He was grateful not to be in Chechnya." 
"He spoke and acted like any other high school kid."

"I mean this from the deepest part of my heart: It's not possible it's the same person. It's just not possible."

"I don't really know how to react to this….he was a funny, sweet, goofy kid. It's not something you would expect from someone you know."
Here's what troubles me about that. I look around at our world today and I see real progress being made in how we deal with each others as individuals, regardless of ethnic origins, sexual preference or other inherent differences we have. Slow and incremental progress maybe, but at least moving forward. I mean that sincerely. The best example I can cite is the distinct and dramatic shift in how people view homosexuals and their pursuit of basic civil rights that has occurred over the last few years.
Now, the "of course" part of me says, "Of course, the media is publicizing these observations because seemingly out-of-character behavior is a key dramatic element in the story."
Meanwhile, the "but maybe" part of me is whispering, "But maybe, publicizing these observations serves to erode the trust and benefits-of-a-doubt we might be willing to extend, allowing us to fall safely back into toxic old mindsets like 'those people (whoever we happen to be talking about) are all the same and can never be completely trusted', because mistrust breeds fear and it's easy to control and manipulate people with fear."

THOUGHT #2: I tend to find myself in the dumbest places when something dramatic happens. When the space shuttle blew up, I was reading a comic book. I was vacuuming my living room when 9/11 happened. And when all hell was breaking loose in Boston the other day, I was devoting all my attention and energy to getting some Pop Tarts unstuck from a vending machine. As a result, I don't have any cool, profound, "I'll never forget exactly where I was when..." stories. Worse, I'm worried I'll be masturbating if somebody ever tries to kill the president or fire nuclear weapons at us.

THOUGHT #3: Who thought it was a good idea to let the guy who played Michael Scott and Brick Tamland be part of a SWAT team?

THOUGHT #4: Something or other happened in Texas around the same time, didn't it?

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