One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.

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22 Responses

    • George Turner in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      And that’s very disturbing, or should be, in some way (that would resonate with The Church Lady on SNL.)

      The head of the FCC gave his blessing to Ortiz’s outburst, even though it contained one of words that the inestimable and great George Carlin said we could not say.

      Hollywood reporter link on FCC blessing.

      Has our society, in its reaction to the bombing and tolerance, nay condoning, of the F-bomb, crossed a red-line? Have we become coarser? Does this mean the terrorists have won? Will some other poster here pick up the mantle of my faux outrage and run with it?Report

  1. George Turner says:

    But I’d be happier still if we lived in a world where we did not have Dzhokhars and Tamerlans…

    Another advocate of the glass parking lot strategy. ^_^

    I knew you’d come around!Report

  2. BlaiseP says:

    It’s as if we never learn, Kazzy. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times: war is the reality. Peace is the illusion. For a very substantial fraction of the world, where people fear war because they’ve seen its consequences, this isn’t anything new. Americans just don’t have a very good memory, that’s all. Don’t be conflicted about this: peace is a wonderful illusion, we should all strive for peace, do everything in our power to preserve it. Just don’t think it’s anything but the absence of war. We don’t sink down into wars. We rise from wars to peace, to equal justice under law. And to stay above those wars requires constant effort.

    All those people who came here, all those years ago? They weren’t coming because this was such a great place. They came because their own countries had been ruined by wars and mismanagement. C’mon folks, terrorism has been around a long time. Stop clutching your heads and wondering what’s going on here. The Tsarnaev brothers are nothing history hasn’t seen a thousand, ten thousand times, millions of times before.

    So you’re not celebrating about how this incident ended. When you get shot at, folks, and if you survive it — you celebrate — because you didn’t get killed or hurt. Entirely natural human emotion. All that Fourth of July celebration hooey? Me, I hate all that shit but I enjoy looking at it anyway. That’s a ritualised victory dance. Do you really want to see how veterans react to war? Go to any goddamn military cemetery on Memorial Day. That sentiment is why 9/11 has become such a deal: we’re not celebrating. We’re jumping up and down as a nation, celebrating the fact that we survived as a nation. Our national anthem is about a battle we lost but our flag was still there. Nobody seems to grasp that Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave contains within it a solemn truth, that the illusion of Freedom requires a certain amount of uncompromising Bravery to preserve that illusion. On the strength of 9/11, the leadership of this nation lapsed into paroxysms of witless anger, went off and fought two wars, both of which we lost — and now we’re trillions more in debt. Let’s not kid ourselves here.

    Stop wishing for a world without Dzhokhars and Tamerlans… a world where seemingly well-adjusted young men did not turn into cold blooded killers. You will never get it. Here’s the sad truth, folks, every one of us contains the possibility of just such madness and only the rule of law and the hope of enlightenment saves us from becoming one. The philosophers and sages have been trying to tell us forever: seeming is not being. That’s a real problem for America: we seem to be this and that. What we are is a different story.

    It’s a hugely imperfect illusion, this rule of law and enlightenment business. It’s so laudatory when our entire military is composed of volunteers. I’m told the recruiting offices were full to brimming just after 9/11. What sentiments drove those kids to don a uniform and fight, thousands and thousands of them to an early death? Entirely human instincts and don’t kid yourselves about what we are as a species.

    When Tamerlan Tzarnaev returned to that benighted and war-torn little part of the world, a Chechen refugee child gone in search of his roots, all that Seeming peeled up. He entered something evil from which his parents had tried to spare him. Tamerlan Tzarnaev saw what had become of the Chechens and if you saw such things, your veneer might have peeled up too. This we do know: Tamerlan Tsarnaev returned from whence he came, not a different boy, but a boy detached from all the beautiful illusions of peace and justice. The Chechens were pushed too far as a people. Do that to anyone and they become fatalists, nihilists, often deeply religious.

    Those cultures which survived war and became enlightened refuse to send their children into war. We face a grim choice as a species: either we quit kidding ourselves about our own true natures and face the facts about war and its consequences – or we continue as before and refuse to evolve as a species. But let’s not be Conflicted about it all. We are a species which thrived on conflict and thrives on it still. We might evolve beyond it. But from what I’ve seen, we’re only getting worse.Report

    • George Turner in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Great comment.

      I’ll note that one the same day as the Boston bombing, around the world 17 other innocent people were killed in four separate similar attacks, just as happened the day before and the day after.

      One website keeps a running list, which, although biased against a particular peaceful religion, at least illustrates part of your point.

      Here’s its current feed.

      2013.04.21 (Pattani, Thailand) – A 49-year-old Buddhist woman is gunned down in a targeted attack by Muslim militants.
      2013.04.21 (Paktika, Afghanistan) – Three civilians at a shopping mall are blown to bits by a Shahid suicide bomber.
      2013.04.20 (Khar, Pakistan) – A female Fedayeen blows herself up outside a hospital, taking four innocents with her.
      2013.04.19 (Wana, Pakistan) – Taliban extremists send rockets into an election rally, killing four people.
      2013.04.19 (Khalis, Iraq) – A Mujahideen mortar attack on a rival mosques leave seven dead.
      2013.04.19 (Watertown, MA, USA) – Jihadists gun down a university police officer sitting in his car.

      To Americans, and especially those in Boston, the attack may have been a transformational event. In the world at large the whole ordeal just garnered two lines and will scroll off the screen in a couple of days, buried under new entries.Report

    • Barry in reply to BlaiseP says:

      ” If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times: war is the reality. Peace is the illusion. ”

      DELETED by Dave…comments that violated the Commenting Policy are subject to deletion and ridicule by the proper authorities – me!Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Barry says:

        Spare me the bluster. Perhaps in Barryworld, lions lie down with lambs and they shall all eat grass together. But in the real world, the lambs are nervous.

        What do you get for pretending the danger’s not real
        Meek and obedient you follow the leader
        Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel
        What a surprise!
        A look of terminal shock in your eyes
        Now things are really what they seem
        No, this is no bad dream.

      • Dave in reply to Barry says:


        Your comment is in violation of the policy. I deleted it. Please refrain from making those kinds of posts.

        Some of us prefer a civil environment. Please do your part to keep it that way.Report

    • rexknobus in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Blaise — I’m always deeply suspicious of this kind of comment. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow billions of people will go about their lives and not wage war or have war waged upon them. War is a constant — there is always one going on somewhere, it seems — but it isn’t everywhere at all times. It’s generally in only a few places at somewhat random times.

      You will, of course, be able to bring up a few places where the horror has continued for quite some time — but there are thousands where it has not.

      I went to war once. Still have jagged little pieces of it inside. But I haven’t seen any war for the past 43 years of my life. Read some in the newspapers. Talked to a few other survivors, but extended travels across three continents and I haven’t heard any shots fired in anger for four decades.

      To me this is akin to the notion that “humanity is a species that explores.” 95% of all humanity was born, lived, and died within five miles of the same place. Some humans are explorers. Most are not.

      “War is the natural state of humanity.” War is a state that many humans have experienced — but not all. For the most part, at least statistically, leave a person alone and they will leave you alone. I’ve been welcomed with broad smiles and open arms in many, many places.

      War is way too common, and some folks seem to really get into it way too much. But natural? Universal? Unavoidable? A few thousand deaths among so many billions is awful — but isn’t that like judging all dogs by the few that have rabies?


      • BlaiseP in reply to rexknobus says:

        It was my fortune, or misfortune, to grow in France, Niger Republic and Nigeria. I remember DeGaulle yelling, “Françaises, Français ! Aidez-moi !” I remember the various coups in Niger Republic, Nigeria too. I lived through the Biafran War. I returned to the USA and saw a fair bit of what the 68 riots had done. From thence I went off to fight America’s wars and I have more than a bit of shrapnel in me, too. I then worked in refugee camps in Lebanon and Pakistan. Thereafter, I went to Guatemala and endured much of their civil war.

        We are the sum of what happened to us.

        If billions of people now live lives free of warfare, we may thank the Powers that the veneer of civilisation still holds up in those places. But let’s not delude ourselves. That veneer is thin and the substrate is rotten. Our recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan prove this to be true, beyond any of your doubts and suspicions.

        A ragged urchin, aimless and alone,
        Loitered about that vacancy; a bird
        Flew up to safety from his well-aimed stone:
        That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,
        Were axioms to him, who’d never heard
        Of any world where promises were kept,
        Or one could weep because another wept.

        You haven’t seen any wars in 43 years. How oddly congruent, I was 43 before I stopped seeing any.Report

        • rexknobus in reply to BlaiseP says:

          Blaise — As a basic lurker on this site, I have spent some time marveling at the unusual nature of your life experiences — and I have profited from the point of view that they have given you, and that you have shared with us. But in the context of this discussion, I feel it is important to remember just how unusual your life experiences have been.

          I have a big scar acquired in a big-time race riot, but I also have a lovely memory of sitting in a bistro in Paris with two low-level Russian diplomats in 1978, as they chain-smoked Marlboros, drank the soon to be unavailable French wine, and wondered if our two nations would obliterate one another. Nice couple of Commies, actually.

          The death of all humanity in the Cold War seemed absolutely inevitable to me, at times. But it turned out not to be so. I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of humans alive on the planet today will not die a violent death.

          War indeed affects us all, but so does peace. You have survived 43 years of it. You’re lucky. And may your luck continue.

          (And by the way…listen to Just Me and write your book! Instant sale here.)Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to rexknobus says:

            As early as 1980 I am on record saying the fall of the USSR was inevitable. The refugees were running the wrong way: from them to us. My old man came up with his Rule of Refugees: if you want to sort out who’s right in a given fight, look which way the refugees run. They always run away from the bad guy.

            The USSR was always more afraid of us than we were of them. The closest we ever came to open war was in late 1983 and we have a few brave Soviet military officers to thank for it. One, precisely. Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov of the PVO.

            The world always stands at the brink, Rexknobus. It’s always something. Nothing is solid: people and nations move like the tectonic plates. Governments constantly scheme and plot. When the elephants fight the grass is trampled. The nation state is becoming increasingly irrelevant as the voice of the aggrieved grass is heard in the detonation of bombs and the destruction of skyscrapers. Got a point to make these days? Set off a bomb. Big countries do it with fire and forget missiles. The little guys take the opposite strategy: when they fire, nobody forgets it.

            Peace is an illusion. It’s an ideal, an asymptote which never reaches the limit. The only way we can preserve peace is through the rule of law, a law applicable to all. Relax that grip and the whole shebang falls down in shit and ruin.Report

      • Kimmi in reply to rexknobus says:

        Says you.
        You, who are white, and hence safe.
        I become black again,
        the world looks at me with daggers.
        From France to Greece,
        from Yemen to Lebanon.
        The world shakes with fear
        And fear demands an outlet
        I cannot atone for what I have not done.
        And yet? Blood will be shed.

        Never Again was a hollow lie.Report

        • rexknobus in reply to Kimmi says:

          Kimmi — Racism = war? Really?

          White = safe? I’ve been to war. I wasn’t safe. I’ve been in riot situations where my whiteness made me distinctly unsafe. I can go, I suppose, with “whiter = safer,” but it’s pretty situationally determined.Report

          • Kimmi in reply to rexknobus says:

            My “whiteness” is situational, too, as a spotted (and Jewish!) American.

            My odds of getting murdered may be higher in France than in Jordan these days…

            What I was trying to say is that pogroms, ethnic cleansing happens in many places, and we don’t call them wars, even if it is unsafe to be out alone.

            … that and the world’s gotten far far more dangerous these past few years.Report

  3. Great post. I don’t really have much to add, but those are largely my feelings.Report

  4. Pyre says:

    I think it is a poor and dishonest thing that society tells us that we cannot rejoice at the death of those who deserve it.

    Last year, I was on the phone with my mom and she told me that [female CEO] had been battling breast cancer.

    I giggled.

    She was a bit shocked and said that I shouldn’t laugh at someone’s misfortune. I told her that I had seen firsthand the human cost of her policies and how she only looks good because her successor did so much worse. I told her that, when karma catches up to someone like that, it is okay to feel good about their misfortune.

    It’s funny in a way. We’ve taken the notion of the moral high road to such extremes that we cripple ourselves emotionally. We tell abused children that they should not feel good about what happens to their ******* parents when they get locked up (or, preferably, shot while resisting arrest. Doesn’t happen often enough though.). We tell people who lost people on 9/11 that it is wrong to rejoice when Osama Bin Laden is shot.

    But, y’know what? It isn’t wrong. It isn’t bad. It is wrong to emotionally cripple yourself just to conform to some societal standard that has no bearing on the human psyche. If someone wronged you badly, then it is okay to laugh at their misfortune. It is good for your psyche because you can let it all out rather than adding one more thing to keep bottled up inside.

    So, for everyone in Boston, it doesn’t make you any less human to find glee at their fate. It makes you more so. Embrace that.Report