La La How The Life Goes On

Boston Strong

Posted on: April 20, 2013

What can be said after this, the shittiest week in the history of weeks?

The joy de vivre, the camaraderie, the community goodwill of the Boston Marathon torn asunder by the violence of bombs.

The death of three innocents, the maiming of hundreds, the terrorization of thousands, many of them children.

The unfortunate bigotry in the aftermath. The misinformation designed to divide us. The slow sussuration of fear turning to anger.

And then the past 24 hours, from the moment of the bombers’ ID, where it felt like time was passing just a beat faster than normal. That each second was shortened by a millisecond, giving the impression that all was as expected, but leaving us with an undercurrent of inchoate unease.

The moment last night when it became clear that a convenience store robbery, carjacking and murder of a police officer were not a random confluence of criminal events but all part of the larger narrative in which we were unwillingly playing a role.

Every moment of today, as we sheltered-in-place, following the pursuit of the suspects from our homes. Feeling concern for law enforcement, for the good people of Watertown, for ourselves should the remaining bomber elude capture. It all felt surreal. And sad. And yet somehow we were sanguine that all would be well.

Why?

Because of the spirit of Boston. It is easy–and entirely accurate–to characterize our denizens as nutty drinkers who care too much about sports teams. Or, alternatively, as uptight semi-racist provincials. Or perhaps all of these rolled into one. It is also entirely accurate to characterize us as the biggest-hearted Massholes you will ever meet.

Within seconds of the attack, countless citizens and first responders ran toward the blasts to help. Within minutes of the attack, gravely-injured victims were being tourniqueted and comforted and transported to safety. Within hours of the attack, thousands of people had opened their homes to stranded runners. Within 3 days of the attack, Jeff Bauman, the terribly injured victim who lost both of his legs, woke from sedation and helped ID the bombers. Within 5 days, every element of local, state and federal law enforcement worked together to bring these suspects to justice. Five Days.

Some voices on Twitter saw today’s shutdown of Boston as encouragement for terrorists. NO ONE here agrees. What it ought to tell them is that Boston is a city that will fucking hunt you down, and we will indeed stop the fucking trains to do it. The sense of injury and insult, that someone would attack innocent supporters of our beloved and storied Marathon–on our unique and precious Patriots Day–was so profound and so acutely painful that there would be no turning back, no quarter given. We were all in until the bitter end.

And here we are. At the end. Of the beginning. The victims have a long road back to health. The families of Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard, Lu Lingzi and Sean Collier will never be whole again. The Marathon will go on, forever changed. But what will never change is that when attacked, this city, this community, this Commonwealth will band together, stand together and work together, come hell or high–and dirty–water.
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23 Responses to "Boston Strong"

That was beautifully stated and captures perfectly the indomitable spirit of the people of Boston!

I respectfully disagree.
1. The terrorists of the world took note. “How to bring a city to its knees 101” was on display yesterday.
That the MBTA wasn’t running meant the T didn’t take in a penny in fares for the time it was shut down. A large part of the T’s network operates nowhere near the affected areas, so people reliant on public transportation in places like Malden, Everett, Quincy, etc. were stuck.
That people couldn’t go to work meant a hit to the wallet for thousands of people who live hand to mouth, and so therefore can’t afford it. Who’s going to cover their living expenses?
The economic effects were felt far beyond the city: people who needed IT support from software companies in the Boston area were left hanging.

2. Oddly enough, for a “city under siege”, Boston seemed to make it through Monday evening through Thursday night without the bombers striking again. When they did strike, it’s conspicuous that the one civilian involved (the owner of the carjacked Mercedes) was left by the side of the road, otherwise unharmed: the only people the bombers shot at were cops. (Not that shooting at cops is a conscionable act.)

3. At the Boston Marathon site, *three* people were killed. It’s been common for years that 2-3 people get killed on the streets of Boston due to violent crime. What was different this time — maybe that the victims were white, and killed in the high rent district of Back Bay, instead of the unfashionable Roxbury/Dorchester neighbourhoods? (Can non-whites finally expect that crimes against people of their ethnic backgrounds will finally be taken as seriously?)

4. Somehow, the bombers were identified without the cops having direct access to their driver’s licenses: it’s not like they were able to ask them their names and addresses during the chase. And yet, somehow investigators managed to execute searches of the bomber’s apartment in Cambridge, know that one went to UMass Dartmouth, etc. We needed to close the streets to get this information and act upon it?

5. After the governor and the head of the Mass. State Police admitted that almost a full day of lockdown had failed to yield the perpetrator, and that it was “safe” for everyone to come out of their homes, it was a civilian who noticed things were amiss with his boat.

Boston may have told people they’re willing to shut down the trains to look for someone, but they utterly failed to prove that it was a worthwhile effort. They’re going to have to do better if they expect to get away with doing this again.

Agree with Albert, and with the blog where I saw your post linked. The shutdown was almost certainly unwarranted. It fueled fear, and gave future terrorists food for thought.

I can guarantee that Al-Qaeda was watching this and thinking, “If only 2 men could do this, think what a proper Intifada could do!”

Wow, naysayers are out in force. I thought it was a brilliant display of people working together for a common good. The cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement was seamless and beautiful.
Absolute win.
Al-Qaeda already knows how to put a couple bombs on a soft target. They learned nothing beyond what they already knew: not on our soil.
I was wondering if you would write about this and I’m so glad you did!

“I thought it was a brilliant display of people working together for a common good.”

Well, the population cowered together inside their homes; LEO’s searched for ~18 hours and then gave up. Were the bad dude not wounded, it could easily have gone the other way yesterday. Dunno if that qualifies as that brilliant display or just good luck.

I love this post. I read it in the wee morning hours when I woke up thinking about all the craziness that had transpired over the past week. The initial relief I had felt when the second suspect was caught had passed, and I was left with emptiness. WTF had happened this week. And then I read your post, and I once again felt that surge of pride and love for our quirky, eclectic Boston that got me through the week. Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting into words what I hadn’t been able to.

Only four dead people? How about all the injuries, physical & mental? We could set that wacko free in your (editorially speaking) neighborhood and I suspect you’d want the same treatment. As to shutting down the T, hindsight being 20/20 I suppose that really didn’t have to be done, but it was a logical thought that he would jump on the T to get away. Many people have done just that in other cities. The T radiates from Boston so shutting one section down impacts all the others. I say it was good quick thinking on law enforcement’s part. It’s not like they had a lot of time to think about it and unlike TV shows, you can’t do a retake. They were thinking on their feet with rapidly unfolding senarios and we haven’t had to deal with anarchists in our midst for a very long time. The Governor didn’t say it was “safe”, just that he was lifting the “ban” and he told people to be vigilant. (notice that there was no “e” on the end of that word) We as a people were told to call the cops and that’s just what the Watertown resident did. They couldn’t find him because they didn’t make the search area large enough. How large should it have been? From East to West and from the center to its sides. Who knows how big? A bigger area would have taken up more time and money and it was only a “best guess” anyway. Hard telling, not knowing. Oh yea, one of the victims wasn’t “White”. Even if they had all been black welfare mothers, I think getting those wackos off the street was still something that would have been done. When a couple of drug dealers in Roxbury get shot, it’s not like they didn’t know it was part of their trade. Watching the Marathon shouldn’t mean you’re going to get hurt.

I did not know of this blog. Now that I know I will be going back and reading your past posts. As for this particular post and the feedback you are getting, as a blogger, you should be proud. You have written something that has elicited a response. People may agree or disagree with you but you have written something that people have read and felt compelled to respond to… isn’t that the point? You have elicited strong reactions both in agreement and opposed. Kudos to you for that! As for my own belief in what occurred. I can see the naysayers reaction… the whole shut down of the city in many instances could be viewed as violation of rights. What those who are opposed to this are not seeing is that, Boston volunteered. The people of Boston supported this as an almost unified whole. From the moment of the explosions when they ran TOWARD the explosion and took the shirts of their backs to cover the wounded and ran to the nearest hospital to donate blood, they showed they are willing to do anything and everything to ensure this was resolved. They were even willing to temporarily give up their freedoms so that an our law enforcement could capture those who wronged the city. And when it was done, they took to the streets and celebrated the capture and the work of those who brought the bad guys to justice. They were not cowering in fear in their homes, they were getting the fuck out of the way to make it easier to get the job done. That is what we New Englanders do. We do what it takes to get the job done… just like our forefathers who dared to go to war with England over unfair taxation. We do what is necessary to right a wrong, even if it means putting ourselves in a place of discomfort. We do what we need to and we get the job done. Oh… and Albert, I rarely comment on other people’s posts, and I won’t comment again should you be so driven to respond. However, your comment about it being “only three people that died” and your racist comment about it being only a big deal because they were white and the comment about the car jacking and leaving the driver alone… show a little human decency will you. Let us not forget the hundreds who were injured and are still in hospitals with lost limbs and trauma to last a lifetime. The families that have to deal with the aftermath of this for the remainder of their lives. They may not have died, but trust me in that their lives are forever tainted. This was an act of terrorism, not a random drive by shooting, and it was responded to and handled with the full co-operation of not only the law enforcement that was involved, but with the assistance of the people of the Boston… We The People did in fact form a most perfect union.

Wicked Awesome!

It’s the easiest thing in the world to armchair quarterback an event like this. There was a fugitive that everyone wanted brought to justice, and the strategies used to get him, while definitely massive, made good sense. They basically cut off all transportation options for a getaway, and created a set of conditions where anyone moving around in an attempt to escape would become very obvious. When it appeared there was a stalemate, police put the eyes back on the street – which almost immediately resulted in the suspect’s discovery. In short, it worked. And it relied on citizen and agency cooperation, not coercion. It’s nothing short of impressive. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out how to hurt a lot of people if you want to; so I don’t worry about this being an “example” for Al Qaeda or anyone, really – a moron can hurt a lot of people, if they want. There’s nothing mysterious or high-concept or intellectually difficult about that activity, it just takes anger, hatred, and craziness. What morons can’t do is develop the highly coordinated collaboration that created the conditions that led to this person’s capture.

I can certainly share in criticism that we let lots of people in the US die violently every day without doing anything much about it, but until we’re willing to raise a hand to quell our violence problem, we have to live with that. 10,000 cops alone can’t bring down our gun deaths, car accident deaths, industrial accident deaths. That takes something even more sophisticated – willingness to listen, learn, care, work hard, support others and collaborate with others. But Boston demonstrated all those skills yesterday, so it’s a hopeful sign that all is not lost with the American people.

Dear Albert…..
1. The city was not brought to it’s knees. The city came together and made way for law enforcement to take care of the situation in order to make the world a better place. Yes, I said “the world”, because we still don’t know what the grander plan was of these 2 terrorists.
In terms of list wages, what is the cost of lost freedoms? What about the freedom to go to a joyous event without fear of being blown to bits! That loss is far greater than the loss if a days wages.
Also, any company worth a kick of salt, has a contingency plan. I work in finance, and trust me, 1st thing Friday morning, our contingency plan kicked into effect. Automated calls and emails were dispatched with action plans. I your an IT company and you don’t have a contingency plan, you better close your doors now and find another line of work.
2. The gentleman who was carjacked is probably considering himself quite lucky right now. I’m sure he appreciates that the city stopped everything to find the men who perpetrated this crime against him.
3. You seriously need to rethink what you wrote. Aren’t you a bit casual about this loss of life? These were innocent victims who were deliberately taken from their families. This is different than daily crime here. This is a conscious assault on the principles that country was built on.
4. Yes
5. The governor never said it was “safe”. They said it was still an ongoing search and to continue to be vigilant.

We can say it was all a waste of time and money now, but what would have happened if the city didn’t shut down for the days. Would the terrorists have been able to put another explosive on the subway? In desperation, would the suspect have taken someone hostage and hurt another person? We just will never know that. For that reason alone, I am thankful that the citizens sheltered-in-place and cooperated with all that was asked of them. I am proud of our law enforcement and our government for all the efforts.
Now…. It’s been a wicked long week. It’s time to sleep peacefully.

Typing from an iPhone has its challenges. My apologies for the typos.

Yes, I did not have the patience to respond. Thank You, NHChickenChic!!

Wow! I was incredibly frustrated as I read Albert’s comment, followed up by SocraticGadfly and Brianna. As I was reading, my brain was desperately trying to compose a response – but I felt so strongly, my thoughts were jumbled.

I want to say thank you to the thoughtful comments that followed. You said what I was unable to say intelligently. A HUGE thank you to Mama for the beautiful post. It is inspiring.

I was still thinking about this as I clicked off and scanned through Facebook. I had to come back and say that although I am frustrated by the comments I strongly disagree with, I am incredibly proud to live in a country where we can disagree and be vocal about it. So, Albert and friends – disagree all you want. Speak up all you want. That’s one of the freedoms we have for which many have died. But remember, to disagree well, you also need to listen, or read, and at least try to understand. That’s not only our right, it’s also our responsibility.

As an observer from another country, my questions are how do we know these were in fact the guilty parties? All we have is the word of the authorities. Authorities who have been known to lie and cover up.

The real winners out of this hysterical theater are Dunkin Donuts and Fox News, who the ratings show are now considered the trusted dominant news source.

A slap in the face to the left wing dominant news sources who ran off with misinformation, hysteria and my God —— recklessly released photos of an innocent young claiming he was the ‘terrorist.’ A young man who has since been in hiding for fear of his life.

The real issue is why does the White House deem it just to deny the suspect in custody his Miranda Rights?

How is the the Czech Republic were forced to release a statement to point out to this American ‘Super Power’ that Czech and Chechnya, are not one and the same place. They are two different entities.

How is the FBI did have not found any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign on the capture of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect?

Seriously, there of some of us in the rest of the world who are not buying this American delusion.

My suggestion is the main stream media should give up eating donuts, return to the school and take basic geography lessons to see that the Unite States is no longer the center of the world.

Czech Mate …

How do we know? When pursued for simple questioning, they ran, only after holding up a convenience store and several people in the Cambridge area for, well I guess…NO reason…shot an on duty MIT officer, for being on the phone, carjacked a private citizen and stole monies from his account….but that is all hearsay….so the shots that rang out in Watertown neighborhoods, because the police would not listen to their side of the story, the kettle bombs they happened to have & throw at the police, just happen to have them on hand…of course the surviving brother will get his day in court, understandably that if they were in Chechnya they would get the same due diligence as they will here.Being from Chechnya they understandably were panicked by the police state we live in and what would be their inevitable demise…the same chance they gave 4 people standing and watching a festival of celebration of freedom for anyone in the world to participate openly and freely without having to be concerned for their safety other than a leg cramp or dehydration.
Of course my ignorance of the Celebrations and festival that are held in Chechnya or other countries is limited, the only people I seen running there are fleeing from oppression and tyranny.
Please pardon MY ignorance.

Hi Catherine, I want to assure you that certainly anyone I know absolutely knows the difference between The Czech Republic and Chechnya. I can’t vouch for those who watch FOX News, however. The media outlet that character assassinated the high school boy was The New York Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch. Not a friend to the Left in any way.
The younger suspect, in addition to being captured on CCTV dropping the bag and reacting inappropriately to the explosions, was positively identified by the man whose legs he blew off, hoping to kill. I don’t feel any sense at all that these are not the culprits.
The Miranda issue is a larger one. Our current laws have not kept up with the age of terrorism. If a terrorist is an “enemy combatant” that is one protocol. This situation is more difficult because this is an American citizen (naturalized) who committed an act of terrorism on American soil. So is he an enemy combatant/terrorist or a US citizen who should be processed according to our criminal justice system? I think the latter since there is no precedent for handing a citizen over to a military tribunal system. Also, because he is a citizen end of story,. I’m a naturalized US citizen, and I am no less a citizen than someone born here. I would expect the same treatment. The Miranda exception is usually only for 48 hours, so the difficulty here is that the suspect is in serious condition and not able to be questioned. That said, Miranda or not, the evidence against this guy is pretty air tight. Whether he or his brother was the architect, who knows. The FBI was asked by Russia in 2011 to investigate Tamerlan, the older brother, for connections to terrorist activities. They say they found nothing. My sense is they dropped the ball in a big way. But it’s not like the suspect is going to be found not guilty once they introduce the eyewitness testimony, the shocking amount of explosives found in their home, the incontrovertible evidence that they did indeed kill an MIT police officer and hurl grenades and IEDs at law enforcement in an escape attempt. All of the ordinary citizens who saw these things happen in real time aren’t all making it up. I truly don’t think the issue here is that these guys were framed in any way. The issue is whether the more conservative elements of our political system (the John McCains, Lindsey Grahams, etc) want to deny this citizen his constitutional right to due process. And whether President Obama can, as he did with the Christmas Day bomber and another whose name escapes, me, transfer them to the criminal justice system without being accused of sympathy for terrorists and weakness in homeland defense.

Indominable spirit of Boston, are you kidding me? You were all cowering in your houses all day long. You should be embarrassed. Bur you’re not! You’re actually proud of yiour “indominable” spirit, the whole city having been totally pwned! all! day! long! Finally, the authoritiies say, “Okay, we give up, come on out everybody,” and, bang, just like that, the guy is apprehended. Way to go.

Not.

You just had Janet Napolitano show us all how easily it is to tak over an entire major east coast city. Take another bow and congratulate yourselves. The rest of us are disgusted.

And with those last comments from people who were not here and know nothing, and who clearly have no inclination to support their fellow Americans in time of crisis, I think I’m going to close the comments. Reminding the people who came from Popehat that my comment on that site was, “I respectfully disagree.” Ask yourself if you did the same here.

Hmm, when Austin had a whacko start shooting people in 1966 citizens of our state simply got out their hunting rifles and started shooting back effectively pinning him in. If Mass. had allowed a concealed carry, there may have been fewer huddled masses cowering at home waiting for the only people with guns to “save” them. I much prefer to have my constitutional rights to carry and to unimpeded travel not impinged for two crazies

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