So what will be the monthly flavor of scapegoat now that crudely homemade bombs are the latest to invade our cushy national illusion?
The very week the Senate, as expected, voted down any measure of background checks in the pursuit of our weaponry, we have new villains with new devices in which to wreak havoc.
More shrieks of horror and glimpses of carnage on jumbled amateur video played incessantly across television-land, later joined by the obligatory analysis from “experts” in law enforcement, national security, terrorist activities, psychologists, clergymen, and a parade of stunned witnesses. Tearful tributes from statesmen, politicians, celebrities, and another fanfare-induced appearance by the president, interrupted by half-assed reporting about arrests and suspects—on Fox News it’s the “brown-skinned Saudi running from the scene” and on MSNBC it was TEA Party right wing maniacs protesting tax day.
CNN’s John King, who was amazingly not fired on the spot, egregiously reported for nearly an hour that there was an arrest, prompting hundreds of people and media to converge on the city’s courthouse. King, who made a mockery of the only presidential primary debate he was allowed to mediate, is the latest poster boy for knee-jerk uncorroborated showbiz that passes for journalism on every cable news outlet.
Not to be outdone, the New York Post, arguably the worst piece of shit printed on a daily basis since Randolph Hearst dropped dead, not only reported far more causalities than occurred, but later slapped two innocent young men on its front page as guilty.
Shock, panic, disdain, confusion, grief, racism, and erroneous innuendo passed off as news; these are the offspring of what has become an all-too familiar scene of destruction at the hands of some lunatic. But what is it that we’ve learned?
Not the obvious; for instance, it’s fortunate that everyone everywhere now has a camera and the Lord & Taylor’s department store chain has a better surveillance system than the Pentagon. Or two young American brothers (legal immigrants from the Caucuses region of Russia) with baggie jeans, baseball caps and duffle bags filled with basement bombs they probably built with the help of YouTube, were able to pull this off.
Nah, I mean what have we really learned?
To hear Senator John King tell it (not a good week for people named John King), if nothing else we must continue to dump even more money we don’t have into the sinkhole that is Homeland Security. It doesn’t hurt that America’s favorite xenophobe was formerly the chairman of that aforementioned boondoggle.
One thing we’ve not learned, and no interrogation nor its ensuing trial will shed any light on it; why some kids were motivated to play revolutionaries. This unsophisticated clusterfuck, which ended up more like the dark-comedy plot of a Coen Brothers movie than terrorism, is what happens when the end game for the disappointments, insecurities and general confusion in life is violence. These coddled, selfish, lazy-ass whiners had no better reason to leave explosives in a city street than walk into a school and begin shooting or blowing up a government building in Oklahoma City.
It’s only been a couple of hours since they’ve apprehended the surviving 19-year-old little sheetheel who perpetrated this atrocity, and we’re already trying to diagnose insanity. How did he become radicalized? Where did he get this insatiable need to destroy and kill? Hell, I was radicalized at the library. Go into any library, and thank the great notion of free speech and expression there is radical thought—but please don’t equate correlation with causation; that way lies damnation or at the very least the national nightmare we endured the months and years after 9/11 when we lowered our intellectual standards to satisfy our bestial, chest-thumping jingoistic ritualism. It wasn’t the first time, and, sadly, to listen to the maniacal voices that have emerged in the wake of this horror, it shan’t be the last.
Remember, the freedoms we enjoy that celebrate this nonsense of American exceptionalism can create a Steve Jobs, a Jay-Z, a LeBron James, builds skyscrapers, discover cures for diseases, experiment with the cosmos, but it also breeds narcissistic mutants, who believe their little corner of the psyche is more important than anyone else sucking air.
Fortunately, what we did learn is that what happened at the Boston Marathon was actually, considering the odds, a pretty rare event. Why doesn’t this happen more often? Because people are basically good, or if you don’t get into existential reasoning, then people are generally accepting of the societal collective; that everyone has a right to exist, even if it doesn’t jibe with your myopic, bullshit view of the world. If not for the rest of us, this would happen two, three times daily. And if not for us, there could be no more marathons or any public event outside of an arena or theater where they can’t wand, frisk and pat you down every which way.
If people were not generally “good” then all the law enforcement and gun checks and Homeland Security would have no shot at keeping you or your family free from the crazies.
In fact, the greater good was on display the day the crazies slithered through the cracks again. The greater good rushed to help the injured, tying makeshift tourniquets, carrying the fallen, tending to the hysterical. Homes were opened to the wounded and triages set up in parking garages. Boston channeled its inner NYC, circa 9/11/01, and displayed a greater confirmation about our humanity than could ever be torn to shreds by bombs.
I’m not sure how many of these things I’ve written about now, but there really is no lesson to any of it, except, of course, that we are all in this together. Either we act more civilly than not or this whole shit house goes up in flames. Simple as that.
We’re running out of analysis.
We’re running out of laws.
We’re running out of fact-finders.
We’re running out of excuses.
We had better not run out of the “good.”
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James Campion is the Managing Editor of the Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus” and “Midnight for Cinderella”