A Tragedy Role-Call Of Reaction: #Boston
The two blasts (initial reports of two additional unexploded bombs appear to be inaccurate) in Boston today is something most of us are just starting to process. I debated about whether or not to even write this right now. I follow Richard Hugo House on twitter (a poetry thing) and I really appreciated this tweet:
We apologize for the pre-scheduled posts that went out earlier- we’re going silent now. Our hearts and hopes are with those in Boston today.
It’s almost too depressing to watch all the standard reactions in the noise, present post no exception. OccupyDenver tweets about dead Iraqis in a similar blast, the New York Post misinforms about some Saudi National, there’s some awful Newtown angle with family members running, and of course conspiratorial associations spread like wild fire, for example drawing attention to this April 12th story (Bloomberg Businessweek) about Obama’s “determination” to see through the construction of a 3.9 billion dollar headquarters for Homeland Security…at Elizabeth Hospital:
President Barack Obama is trying to solve big problems in his proposed 2014 budget. His efforts to curtail entitlement spending have gotten most of the headlines. But he also seems determined to complete the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s new headquarters, the largest federal construction project since the Pentagon rose in the 1940s. The cost: $3.9 billion.
The project would unite at a single location nearly all DHS’s 22 divisions devoted to thwarting terrorists and safeguarding the populace from natural and manmade disasters. The site is the campus of St. Elizabeth Hospital, a former federal asylum that was once the home of poet Ezra Pound and John Hinckley, Ronald Reagan’s would-be assassin. There would be 4.5 million square feet of workspace in the new facility and ample employee parking.
I know. Ezra Pound was in a federal asylum?
Patriot’s Day Bombing, is that the name we’re going with internet? There’s always a bit of confusion at first, and names are important, right? Suddenly this descended from the cloud upon which Nate Silver sits:
What matters: 1) who did it; 2) how they did it; 3) why they did it. What doesn’t matter: what we call it.
In more words than a tweet can convey, I found this interesting:
In his speech following today’s explosions at the Boston Marathon, President Obama noted that today is Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts. “It’s a day that celebrates the free and fiercely independent spirit that this great American city of Boston has reflected from the earliest days of our nation,” the president said during a briefing where he made it clear that we don’t yet know who was behind today’s attack. But Obama wasn’t the first to mention the holiday in the wake of the attack—speculation had already started swirling on Twitter about the possible significance of the Massachusetts Monday holiday on which the marathon is held every year.
With that in mind, a quick primer on Patriot’s Day: It commemorates the opening battles of the American Revolutionary War, the battles of Lexington and Concord, both held on April 19, 1775. The holiday has become best known for the marathon and is in fact also referred to as “Marathon Monday.” (Patriot’s Day, we should note, should not be confused with Patriot Day, established on September 11 to mark the World Trade Center attacks.)
So why were people so quick to speculate about the holiday’s possible significance? Undoubtedly because they were inspired by the fact that this week does contain a number of unhappy anniversaries: the Oklahoma City Bombing (April 19, 1995), the Waco assault (April 19, 1993), the Columbine School Shooting (April 20, 1999), and the Virginia Tech massacre (April 16, 2007), for starters. Two of those tragedies—the Virginia Tech massacre and the Waco assault—were on Monday, the Patriot’s Day of those years.
Reading that reminded me of this: an attempt at expressing how I personally relate to the month of April, and why I think, generally, fucked up things happen around this time of year.
Maybe more noise, maybe not.
I hope not.