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Category Archives: Boston

Lay Down and Take it

I spent a day in Boston this week.  And while I have been considering writing about this topic, I hesitated (yes, I hesitated!) as I think it is a wee bit controversial.  I am troubled by the lack of criticism regarding the closing of an entire city for a day.  Terrorism has a unique effect on people from the U.S.

For example, a friend of my father’s who was “locked down” in Watertown, wrote an article about how great a job the police did and how safe they all felt, being protected under what I would call martial law.  I humbly disagree.  The unarmed, injured 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found BECAUSE people were allowed out of their homes and into their streets.  He would not have been spotted had this man not been allowed to check out his boat.  And this was in an area outside of the section the police had been searching. 

The cost of shutting down a metropolis like Boston was estimated by one analyst in The Washington Post  “between $250 million and $333 million per day.”

Others have suggested that closing the city for a one person manhunt demonstrates to terrorists that their individual acts of smaller bombs can have a long range effect of putting an entire city in fear, a tactic that might appeal to them.

I question all of this behavior in response to terrorism.  First of all, abortion clinics have been sites of bombings for years and years.  Do you recall Boston being shut down in 1994 when the Brookline shootings happened?  “According to NAF, since 1977 in the United States and Canada, there have been 41 bombings of abortion clinics.”  (NAF)

These 41 actions do not include murders, arson and acid attacks on clinics.  But I do not recall any “shut down” of a community, town, or city after one of these attacks.  An anti-abortion fanatic can bomb abortion clinics all day long with no massive police presence.  

My concern for all of this is how easily U.S. citizen, who value freedom, I think, above all else, gave that up so quickly for one 19 year old boy.  It was easy.  It was quick.  No one questioned what was happening.

I expect much more from this country and from our citizens.  We are not the “lay down and take it” kind of people.  We fight for our beliefs, we debate, we value liberty, but maybe we should begin questioning much more how the media can get us to “do” anything or to “believe” anything, even if they are reporting a request from a Governor or the Chief of Police.  Police searched homes, without a warrant, all day long and people allowed it.  Protecting us should not mean we are locked in our homes for a day or that we are giving up our 4th amendment rights. 

While what happened in Boston was tragic, so were the 41 bombings, 175 acts of arson, 100 butyric acid attacks, 191 assault & batteries, 524 incidents of stalking, 17 attempted murders, and 8 murders.  In all violence against abortion clinics, the total is 769 incidents to date. (NAF) This type of terrorism, while ignored by our media and many in our culture, far outweighs what happened in Boston on April 15th.

A Culture of Violence

I remember vividly, age 10, and Dad taking me on vacation.  In Houlton, Maine, where we lived, school started in mid-August so that the last week of September and first two weeks of October school could close for Potato Harvest.  I had lots of friends who picked potatoes.  I never did.  It was a good excuse to stay with my mom for a week or two in Massachusetts.  But this year, Dad decided he would take time off and take me to Boston and to see my Grandparents (his parents) in Worcester.  He got tickets to see The King and I with Yul Brynner.  He had the lead in that play forever, playing the King 4,625 times. I was not impressed with his acting.  Clearly that part was too familiar to him.  I couldn’t understand a word he said. (A theatre critic at age 10, who knew?)  He’s also the guy who filmed a commercial about the dangers of smoking before he died that went something like “‘Now that I’m gone, I tell you: Don’t smoke. Whatever you do, just don’t smoke.”

During this trip, we also saw my first 3-D movie, some strange western. 3-D tumbleweed rolling toward us. The point of this whole trip was really to show me Boston. Dad loved Boston.  He grew up in Worcester and to this day loves every Boston sports team. That is a story for another day.  He spent a good amount of time teaching me the importance of offensive driving in a city. While I was 5 years away from getting my license, he wanted to show off his city driving skills.  He also drove me through the “combat zone,” explaining what all the XXX signs were about.  At one point, we were crossing the street and he pointed to a woman and said “that’s not actually a woman.”  Who knew back then that I’d be advocating for transgender rights as part of my work?

Suffice it to say it was a memorable trip to Boston, mostly because my Dad was so passionate about it. 

A few years ago my brother and I spent two nights in Boston seeing the Dave Matthew’s Band at Fenway.  We did all kinds of touristy things like the Duck Boats, tried to figure out the T, took a pedi-bike after dinner, ate on Newbury Street, walked along the Charles.  It was really fun.  We stayed on the Cambridge side at the Hyatt Regency with a gorgeous balcony looking over the city. 

Two days after the tragic Boston Marathon bombings, I feel like I cannot write about anything but Boston, even though I want to write about how sad I am that we live in a world where people want to kill each other, where people want to slaughter innocent people to make a point about something or to express their own anger and rage.

I often tell my students and my friends that I don’t watch any of those CSI shows (that often have strong female characters) because I cannot support the culture of violence.  These so-called detective shows are all about women –mostly– being murdered.  I don’t need to spend my day dealing with rape on my campus and then come home to watch women be murdered.  Real life violence is too much for me as it is, I don’t need to veg-out on fictional violence.  I don’t watch horror movies either.  These movies always slaughter women.  

So maybe we should take a pause from these events in Boston.  Stop wondering who is behind all this and ask ourselves, what have we done to promote, ignore or remain apathetic to a culture of violence in our world?  Yes, someone needs to take responsibility for the killing and maiming of hundreds of people, but we live in this world too.  We need to look in our own mirrors and think about the ways we promote and support a culture of violence.  What do you watch?  What do you read?  What video games do you play?  How do you talk about people?  Do you say about a hot young thang, “I could hit that?”  That’s violence.  How does your language perpetuate that culture?  How do you support a culture of violence?  Mull that one over.

my feminist praxis

critical reflections on my feminist praxis: activism, motherhood, and life

The Feminist Critic

Providing weekly critiques of theatre, film, books, politics and pop culture from a feminist perspective.