I don’t know who R. Brock Olson is, but his recent blog post, “We are not #BostonStrong,” is pretty well aligned with my feelings on the marathon situation.
His point about the ease of treating violence with an “us vs. them” mentality is pretty salient. He doesn’t get into it, but the fact that the attack was bombs, rather than for example gun violence, means it was far too easy to label the perpetrators as “terrorists” rather than just “criminals” or even “mentally unstable”–and for most people that changes the whole story.
Have you read an account of the 2013 marathon in which the bombings were just the work of deranged local asshole kids with bags of New Hampshire fireworks and nails? Of course not. The official narrative says that it was a highly organized attack against our community. It was a sophisticated enemy. That’s why we deployed hundreds of paramilitary defense forces to guard us in the aftermath. That’s why we installed the cameras. That’s why we can’t enjoy our Esplanade on July 4 anymore. That’s why we will turn the 2014 marathon into a showcase of pointless security and a giant made-for-TV pity party.
(But, you ask, how do I really feel?)