Maybe I Just Don’t Get It? Maybe I’m Naive and Oversimplistic?

I’m sure by now we all have been made somewhat aware of the recent “terror scare” in Boston. The reason I place quotes around the phrase is because I’m disgusted by it all. I’m not going to go into the details of what happened, that’s easily obtained and digested, but what I will say is this: what sort of world are we actually living in today.

If what I see today is in fact this world, then I guess Osama, Sadam, The Devil, Bill Gates, Hip-Hop, Rock-n-Roll, The Catcher In The Rye, Television, Video Games, shopping malls, and/ or drugs; or whomever else is purportedly to blame for the ills of this world, have won. If Osama really does want to take over Western civilization, maybe this is it. Maybe what he started with 9/11 is finally coming to fruition… The United States of America is finally folding in unto itself.

All joking aside, I think this situation is an extremely unfortunate one. Yes, September 11th did happen, and it was and still is an astute example of the dark side of mankind. Yes, the world we currently live in is an ever growing restrictive and foreboding one. It’s a tough world to live in at times, weather boarding a plane with shampoo, or even trying to decipher the nightly news reports and information constantly beamed into our lives.
It’s unfortunate, plain and simple, for whatever reasons or causes.

Having said all that, I can’t seem to shake my own sense of confusion and awe at what happened yesterday in Boston. For the record, I’m on the side of the “perpetrators” here. I just can’t bring myself to incriminate two men who engaged in a guerrilla marketing campaign. I don’t know all the facts, and I don’t claim to, but I just don’t see how and why we should spend all this time and energy in something that we know was harmless.
Yes, there are evil people out there, and yes there are people everyday who will try and deceive the general public in an attempt to harm them. Yes, we must be vigilant in our efforts to uphold our freedoms- as promised and forecasted long ago by Mr. Jefferson himself. But, we also need to temper that vigilance at times and take a step back to reveal the forest through those trees. We as a people need to be able to decipher clear and present danger from fear-mongering and doom and gloom attitudes.

Why do we immediately use the word “terror” for anything fearful or dangerous. It’s fear mongering, it’s attempting to instill that same fear that we all experienced on Sept. 11 into each uncomfortable situation that unfolds here in our country. These two lads are far from terrorists, they were simply doing a “marketing” job. Yeah, hind sight is perfect vision, I know that. But I also know that we can’t always assume the worst of everyone we meet or see. Have we all morphed into xenophobes? Have we all incriminated each and every solitary person that isn’t in our little “bubble”?

The aforementioned ability to separate the real fear from the hoax’s is crucial to living in, working in, and continuing a society that truly is free- not just one that claims to be free or uses the term as a slogan to sell automobiles or Presidents. From what I see in this current situation, some people overreacted to an obvious attempt at solicitation.

There will be those that say, “well what about next time when a well placed bomb is hidden inside a run of the mill supermarket ad or other harmless looking facade”. Yes, that’s a true concern, and one that we will have to always endure. Ever since terrorists used commercial airliners to kill thousands of people, we need to scrutinize every and all methods of harm. However, we need not do so in a vacuum. Yes, easier said than done, I know. But where does freedom end and terror begin? Where is the point where we can live and not constantly be afraid?

Back to the specifics at hand:
Maybe the “terror hoax suspects” and their parent company (employer) Turner Broadcasting Co. should have alerted authorities to their plan. Maybe they should have used non-threatening devices (whatever that is). Maybe they should have not done it at all? Maybe they should have just sold a commercial to the NFL for the Super Bowl (at a cost of almost $3M mind you). Maybe, maybe, maybe…
Maybe we should all just live in personal bubbles? Maybe we should board up our houses, say goodbye to any sort of freedom, and communicate exclusively through the internet?
Man, where does it end? I don’t know. I just don’t know.

I understand that much of the city was shut down during this “scare”. It would have been incredibly sad and unnecessary if someone had to get through traffic for a medical emergency and couldn’t because of the blockages. But… (you knew that was coming right), who’s to blame for that? Was it absolutely necessary to shut down 2 bridges and part of the Charles River over all of this? Why did 8 other cities not have a “terror scare” like we here did? Is it because we’re acting uptight like typical East Coasters? Maybe we did the right thing, maybe I’m the one with his head up his ass. Maybe now, the terrorists won’t hide bombs in signs that scream, “hey look at me, look at me”. Maybe they’ll have to resort to more mundane activities, like actually hiding bombs and placing them in areas where they aren’t visible. Obviously, I do hope that no one ever plants a bomb ANYWHERE, I’m being sarcastic in my tone.

This whole world we live in now is a learning process. Not only are authorities learning how to discern harm from harmless, but we as citizens are also learning how to act in methods and manners that don’t seem devious, harmful, spiteful, or “terroristic”. Having said this, why don’t we just give these guys and their employers a free pass. Lets all learn from this, and learn to be a little more scrupulous. Lets not be so concerned with finger pointing and always having to create good and evil. How about more gray?

One point of irony: as I sit here typing this, I’m listening to Neil Diamond’s “America”. Honestly, I didn’t plan this out. I sure couldn’t be this clever. It’s ironic because one of the suspects in the Boston scare is a political refugee from Belarus, here in the U.S. seeking asylum. Interesting that a political refugee presumably seeking freedom of expression and freedom of thought, is arraigned and incriminated here in “the land of the free” for just those things he fled his home for….
Go freedom.

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