Saturday, April 20, 2013

Musing on The Boston Tragedies

Thursday night to Friday morning, a friend messaged me, asking if I'd seen that there had been a shooting at MIT. He provided me with a Reddit link and a link to a police scanner. I followed Channel 5 for Boston news as well to get up to date on what was happening and spent the night listening to the manhunt.

Heather is following the news in Boston.
I posted on my personal Facebook page and Twitter about what was going on as I listened to the police chatter (without revealing any locations, mainly trying to share what was going on).
"When I heard the police talking about the civilian traffic, I felt the interwebs had failed, lol."

Meanwhile, others were at work joining mob mentality and posting their bigotry or concocting conspiracy theories. Anyone who knows me well should know that these are abhorrent to me. I'm not going to get into my feelings on them in general, but specific to this situation. This will largely be a collection of things I've posted on Facebook from microblogging to a full on blog post.

This was intense to watch in the middle of the night:

As was this (to get a feel for it, turn off the lights and make it full screen).

I posted this wisdom from a friend:

"The first MIT police officer, who was killed, that set off this whole chain of events, probably caught these guys trying to plant more bombs. They had bombs with them in the car that they threw out at the police, and detonated.

If that MIT Cop hadn't been there, bombs probably would've gone off during school today."

I shared this later.
I asked people to think of him today as a hero. Of course, this was before everything was shut down, but it still stands. 

I slept through the morning and woke up to find that the second suspect was still at large, so I pulled up a uStream of a police scanner and listened. It was when they had just discovered the boat, so I had an intense 'morning' (it was evening, but it was when I first woke up), huddled over my coffee and listening through my headphones while refreshing Reddit, checking the live newsfeed and Twitter feeds while chatting with the friend from last night.

(he missed the actual capture while taking a potty break--tough luck, buddy)

Some bits I posted in my FB thread:

6:45pm They have the boat guy surrounded and I want to know what's going to happen 
6:46pm FUCKING RADIO SILENCE. There's fire on the boat... wonder if he's going to
             blow the whole thing...

omg this is tense
6:51pm they tossed a flashbang, subject isn't moving , K9 units on standby

Calling for a medic

(my mom): He's alive? Awesome!

(back to me): well, EMS will be pissed if they're being called in for a body; that's
             not their job

I will, too, because this dude's been bleeding for hours... been waiting for them
             to move. I wonder if the negotiator facilitated the move...

another ED found?

I'm commenting as they speak. News has to confirm before repeating.

(friend): What are you following online?

(back to me): Reddit, Twitter, live feed from Channel 5, police scanners

(my mom): Ah. Okay. Wil Wheaton just tweeted about it too.

(my mom): Taking him to Mt. Auburn Hospital
7:56pm It's all congratulations and "good job"s on the radio right now
They even congratulated Dispatch, making them laugh XD

"Just a reminder: try and keep it relatively professional."
8:08pm  Everyone is celebrating in the streets, even police are honking horns, etc.

Ambulance just went by. People are applauding.

I listened as the officer radioed in that they had the suspect in custody and as they called for an ambulance. I'm glad they caught him alive, and await the story (as he's in the hospital as I am writing this, though it may have been released by the time I post, since I tend to prefer not to post in the middle of the night).

screenshot I took of the ambulance picture, you can see the O2 mask for starters

I watched the videos of the people applauding in the streets, then the statements. Then I looked through my FB feed and... People's comments led me to post:
Ugh, I am not looking forward to the aftermath--calls for violence and hate--from tonight. My thoughts are with the families of the dead and those who were injured during these events. I will not be engaging in any mob mentality.feeling different.And the conspiracy theorists--that's just as bad.
Then this comment, which is what led me to turn this into a blog post:

Sure, sometimes real conspiracies happen, but not every big news story (and the equal rights that we've been fighting for for, oh, nigh on fucking 50+ years) is a goddamned diversionary tactic!

Those people are real and really dead. Boston has be
en in a state of terror for days. This isn't some fucking game and the gov't didn't stage it. People go crazy all the goddamned time.

"Not only is it stupid, and short-sighted, and crazy, but it also makes the actual tragedy of what's going on, seem meaningless." --same friend as I quoted earlier
*sigh* A bag was laid down next to an 8 year-old boy, who was blown to pieces. These were real people and every time someone starts yelling about religion, conspiracies, etc., they become minimized. What happened to them becomes unimportant.

Even if it is a conspiracy (unlikely), that does not diminish what happened. I suppose it's easy for people who weren't up all night listening to the police being run ragged, being shot at, having bombs thrown at them, having to shoot to kill--you think that doesn't affect them? You think, "Oh, they're heroes" but it destroys a part of them when they have to pull that gun and use it.

For some, it's not as big a deal as long as it's a confirmed "bad guy," but others never recover. Look up post-shooting trauma. It's such a romantic notion, heroism. I'll tell you that the romance disappears when you delve into the aftermath. The officers on duty the last few nights--many of them are going to need counseling. Some of them, it will have to be long term. And most of those--they aren't going to get it. Some because they think they don't deserve it, some because they don't think it will help... other reasons, I'm sure.

This was a tragedy, a nightmare. Regardless of why it happened, that doesn't cease to be true. Don't dishonor the people who suffered through this with conspiracies and dismissal.

This is the stuff that was going through my head while it was happening:
  • what the people in their homes must feel
  • what the police were going through (and the psychology behind it)
  • wondering what the fuck possesses someone to do something like this (and the fact that he's only 19--one of the thoughts I had last night was that he knew he was dead already, and was running, so I put in a comment: "I don't know. I don't know what makes someone decide at 19 or 20 years old that they will slaughter as many people as possible and die. I can't comprehend it. I have friends that age--they worry about relationships and school and their future. *sigh*")
  •  Egg McMuffins (and with the SWAT guy coming out right next to an ad for McDonald's, there was a joke about SWAT your hunger with... in our chat last night), etc. 

Yes, that's right, humor, too. I have to research a lot of dark shit for my books (and since Pet has terrorists in it, all of this just threw me right back into all the research I did), but also because once upon a time, I wanted to be a forensic psychologist, and with a continued interest in that, I still study (informally, and in a few weeks, formally as well) psychology with focuses on child and infant psychology and serial killers. Nice diversity, huh? Well, if you don't have a dark sense of humor, you aren't going to mentally survive that stuff, let me tell you. 

I also totally posted "I wonder if this was going through his head while he was hiding." (that link will take you to the song "On a Boat," which is NSFW--the Navy version, mind).

I'm going to leave you now with one last relevant image and my thoughts with the men and women who were involved in the Boston tragedies this last week.

After I posted this, the same friend from above (who called himself the costar of this post, ha!) sent me this picture (that can't be shared enough) with the message in the caption:
"Context: My friend who lives in Watertown (right between where the shootings happened last night and the location of the arrest of the second bomber) has a 16 month old son. Since they were on lock down this awesome cop went to the store to get them some milk. Very cool."

And this...
Officer Collier's escort home


  1. I'm glad you wrote this. And that the images and re posted statements are all here where they can be read for awhile. I got so tired of the negative conspiracy theorists and their stupid comments last night, I had to just shut the computer down. Thanks for caring about the people that really mattered, the victims and first responders that captured the bomber that night. At this time the news says the bomber is still in serious condition (but not critical) and can't communicate, which probably means unconscious? And his mother is coming to sit with him. That's all I've heard since they got him to the hospital, oh, and he is being given a public defender. This guy that could afford to buy bomb making equipment and a first rate education at a first rate university needs a public defender now. Sigh.

  2. I watched and listened to all of this so closely. In addition to what the media was reporting I was speaking with friends from the area, and also following twitter. I do think there are some highly suspicious things about what happened which lend themselves to a conspiracy, however that definitely doesn't take anything away from the event. What happened is horrible and my heart goes out to all of those who were affected by this tragedy.


Please keep it civil and remember that my blog is not for debate. I have friends in all walks of life, so don't assume anything from individual posts! I do enjoy hearing from you, though :)