May 13 – Volume 14, #5
The wackest part of Reaganomics (and there are many wack parts) is how it’s made Americans much more individualistic and closed-off from another as a society. And in spite of the deceased Margaret Thatcher’s claims otherwise, there is a society.
Due in no small part to these two transformative leaders, the collective spirit that defined the Greatest Generation, the Civil Rights Movement and the hippy counterculture morphed into an every-man-for-himself battle royal. We see glorification of self-interest above all else in our sports, our politics, our education system, our economy and even in my beloved hip-hop.
But every once in a while something happens that shows just how much we all desperately need one another in this life. The tragedy that paralyzed Boston during the week of April 15 was minimized because people came together in a way that doesn’t happen nearly enough in these united states.
It was awful that Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, Richard Martin and officer, Sean Collier lost their lives. This loss of life should never be too far from our hearts and minds as the nation moves forward.
But what I hope we can take from this tragedy is how our self-interests are best protected when we reach out to help somebody else. Any joy that could be taken from this calamity can come from seeing how so many people put the well-being of others before their own.
After all, it was a regular citizen that had the courage to follow the blood trail in his back yard. Shit, I can’t guarantee that I wouldn’t have been running out of my house, and never came back ever again. But not only did this person call the police, he first went out to the boat in his back yard to gain a visual confirmation that the suspect was hiding inside, under the tarp. The National Rifle Association; and their shameful lackey’s in Congress, argues that each family is responsible for its own safety. But events like the attacks in Boston show just how shortsighted this line of thinking is.
The individual who tipped off the cops didn’t go outside to check his boat in order to protect his own family. Hell, he put his family at greater risk by going out there. He did this to protect his entire community. No one would have thought any less of him had he not gone outside. He wouldn’t have lost his job for refusing to run towards danger. There was no police reward forthcoming. There was no TV camera following his every move. No one was paying him to do this like they were the brave policeman and SWAT who are trained to deal with this kind of menace.
But much like communities that are assaulted by terrorism on a daily basis in Chicago, New Orleans, South Central L.A and Detroit, this unsuspecting Watertown resident knew that his family couldn’t find peace until his entire community did. If one family was at risk, they all were. This is true of the larger village outside our neighborhoods as well.
Imagine what we could do as a nation if we consistently applied the examples of humanity that were on display in Boston this week. The aforementioned act of heroism wasn’t the only illustration of how codependent we are as a society.
The news media may have been a little zealous at times in sensationalizing the sensational footage of the attacks, but they did a stellar job of keeping the public informed. The information they disseminated not only helped to keep people safe, but it was vital in forcing the suspects out of their holes. The “lamestream media” receives a lot of well-earned criticism, but they showed just how important they are for our society when they’re not reporting on Casey Anthony or Anthony Weiner’s dick.
Social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter allowed average Jaqueisha’s and Jamal’s to get pieces of the story that the traditional media couldn’t get to, such as the amazing footage of the shootout that ultimately claimed Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s life. It was on Facebook that many of the citizens of Watertown fist were alerted that the suspects were nearby, not on CNN or Fox.
As American citizens we are used to roaming around freely, but the American public was madd cool and cooperative during the lockdown period in Boston, allowing the police to do their work unimpeded. Moreover, many of our fellow citizens were more than eager to directly assist in the investigation as the FBI received more leads than they had in their shady 105-year history after releasing the photos of the two suspects.
Even the punk ass police struck a good balance between keeping people informed without compromising their investigation. And they are to be commended for apprehending the alleged bombers without putting the public at risk. This is no small feat considering that they were having a battlefield-style shootout in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
And while the Boston Marathon attacks were ghastly, the loss of life could have been far worse were it not for the many people who ran towards the blast to rescue and bandage up people that they had never met.
And many doctors and nurses throughout Beantown actually came back in to work after their normal quitting time to help the many patients that were flooding into Boston-area hospitals.
Kudos to the police, the feds, the mayor and the governor, who will use this as campaign footage during his inevitable presidential run in 2016 or 2020. But it took all types of people for Boston to make it through a week unlike any other in American history. And no one seemed to care who got the credit. There wasn’t time to think about petty shit like that, as most people lost themselves in working towards a common goal.
There is no reason that these types of actions should be exclusive to moments of crisis in our country. No reason at all.
The events surrounding the attacks on Boston also showed the value of having an open society. Our open society compels the government to share information that might be a little delicate. An open society allows individuals to freely share their perspectives on social media. An open society allows the media to pressure the authority figures to inform the public. So while the fear that was created in Boston a few weeks back may make it tempting to roll back some of our freedoms like we did after 9/11, it is crucial that we remember that this openness is America’s greatest strength. It is precisely this openness that helped to limit the damage, both personally and structurally. We don’t need more legal restrictions, and we damn sure don’t need more surveillance of the public.
That’s because when push comes to shove, we got each other’s back. The main thing that helped to limit the tragedy was all of us. People helping one another with no regard for the person’s race, their wealth or whether or not they were pro-choice or pro-life.
Go ahead wave your flags over the next few weeks. Put on your Boston Strong t-shirt. (But please stop playing Sweet Caroline at Yankee Stadium. WTF?) But if we really want to honor the fallen, we might be better served by emulating the behavior modeled throughout that tragic week.
Peace and God bless,