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BOSTON STRONG: A Celebration of the Police State

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"It is when power is wedded to chronic fear that it becomes formidable".

- Eric Hoffer

On April 19, 2013 the police state came to Boston. Days after the heinous act of cruelty and desperation that was the Boston Marathon bombing, where two homemade pressure cooker bombs packed with shrapnel were detonated at the finish line the order was given and the paramilitary police squads were sent into the streets in search of one 19 year old punk. Injury was followed by insult as a portion of the city was placed under an undeclared state of martial law in a preview of what in the future will become commonplace in The Homeland as conditions continue to deteriorate. The alleged perpetrators, two brothers of Chechen descent, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were rapidly identified by security camera videos taken just prior to the explosions and in a subsequent gunfight with police the elder brother Tamerlan was killed. This precipitated the lockdown and manhunt that while cleaned up and sanitized by the popular slogan "Boston Strong" to present a show of unity in the aftermath of tragedy was as much an outrage and affront to local dignity and pride as the bombings themselves. A populace that fancies itself as scrappy fighters ready to throw down over any perceived slight or indignity were driven into a state of fear and cowardice where disobedience would be dealt with at the end of a government gun.

Heavily armed, militarized and amped up thugs clad in that now so familiar black Kevlar and using armored vehicles more befitting of an actual war zone patrolled the streets and conducted warrantless searches on terrified residents who were ordered to stay in their homes. It was an astounding display of just how far that we have now been dragged down the path to full blown fascism and despite the criminality and horror of the bombing it did not merit such a huge and costly response. Perhaps it was just revenge and bloodlust but more likely it was an excuse for a live drill for the imposition of martial law. The national media ate it all up too, it was like a real life episode of The Running Man and despite the overwhelming display of government police power young Tsarnaev was found cowering in a covered boat by its owner in his own backyard. Just as those events of September 11, 2001 set into motion a series of actions that led to two ruinous and costly (or lucrative) wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, the evisceration of American civil liberties, the unleashing of an out of control surveillance apparatus that has no accountability, the codifying of torture, a terminally damaged political system and a myriad of other indignities so too did Black Friday, April 19, 2013. It was a day when the Rubicon was crossed in Boston with the live rollout of martial law in America and the realization of Captain Bryant's implied threat to Deckard in the sci-fi classic Blade Runner that "if you're not cop you're little people".

Any shame or even questioning of the paramilitary lockdown was washed away by the healing power of "Boston Strong" which was simultaneously a balm for a city's wounds, a unifying cause as that which existed after 9/11 and a marketing opportunity. It was all things to all people and I excerpt the following from the Wikipedia page:

In the hours after the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013, the slogan "Boston Strong" appeared as a highly popular hashtag on Twitter and rapidly spread around the world. An expression of Boston's unity after the bombings, the slogan showed up on T-shirts and other products, and was emblazoned on the "Green Monster" wall at Boston's Fenway Park. The Boston Bruins displayed the slogan on their helmets at their game two days after the bombings, and at the first baseball game in Fenway Park after the bombings, the stadium announcer told the crowd: "We are one. We are strong. We are Boston. We are Boston strong."

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On April 17, two days after the bombings, a T-shirt vendor and another private individual submitted separate trademark registration applications to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, seeking to obtain ownership of the "Boston Strong" slogan for use on commercial products. One of the applicants said he wanted the trademark in order to prevent people from outside the Boston area from benefiting from it. A trademark attorney was quoted in the Huffington Post as predicting that the government office would deny the registration on the grounds that the slogan was already in the public domain and could not be linked to any specific entity.

The Boston Red Sox baseball team adopted it and rode that warhorse all of the way to a World Series title, after the game there were pilgrimages made by fans to the Boston Marathon finish line to kiss the street. One wonders that with all of the hype and emotion invested that if the Red Sox had lost the series would that have meant that the "terrorists" had won? It was more of the same eerie strangeness of the 21st century and any heretic who dared to question it as HBO's Bill Maher did when he said:  "You know again it was a bad day. Three people died that's terrible, more were maimed that's horrible, but unfortunately that happens every day in car accidents and everything else. I mean your city was not leveled by Godzilla". The comedian was immediately denounced  by Boston Mayor Tom Menino who hissed that the comments were "irresponsible" - as if unleashing thousands of heavily armed paramilitary forces on the citizenry wasn't.

This past week marked the anniversary of both the bombing as well as the de-facto declaration of martial law, tomorrow on Monday it will be the first race after the latest version of 'the day when everything changed' The media propaganda blitzkrieg has been unrelenting as the commemoration of "Boston Strong" and testimonials to the perseverance of the victims whose limbs were shredded (and tributes to the three who died) has reached the saturation point with the final orgy of crass exploitation likely coming on Monday when this year's race will occur. I don't even live in Boston and have been bludgeoned by it, the entire national media is in on the action including the magazine Sports Illustrated  that has capitalized on the bombing and all sports aspects related to juice their sales. But nowhere is the decidedly un-American police takeover of a portion of a major city questioned nor even mentioned aside from the passing reference to the heroic pursuit of the hunted -- it has been relegated to the same memory hole where facts that are inconvenient to the metastasizing police state are chucked into.

Not quite approaching the level of local animosity and hate directed at Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is that being directed at a 25 year old man named whose idea of humor - from the account given by a story in The Boston Herald a possible act of political protest - was to place a fake "bomb" in a backpack at the finish line. According to the Boston Herald story "Man in custody following bomb scare at marathon finish line":

A man dressed all in black and chanting "Boston Strong! Boston Strong!" lugged a backpack near the marathon finish line last night - just as a bus with two-bombing survivors arrived - in a scary security breach that's raising concerns just days before Monday's race.

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The suspect - identified by a law enforcement source as Kevin Edson - was arrested at about 6:50 p.m. as a bus carrying J.P. and Paul Norden - who both lost their right legs in last year's bombings - pulled up at the end of a walking relay to raise money for prosthetics.

"It was alarming. It was crazy." said Peter Brown, the uncle of the Stoneham brothers. "It was some whack job. Boston's got to do their job. It happened right after we about finished our walk. The cops grabbed him, but I'm pissed."

An eyewitness told the Herald he saw the suspect walking right down the middlt of Boylston Street barefood and shrouded in a black veil, black hat and wrapped in a black body suit, chanting, "Boston Strong! Boston Strong".

"It was something right ouf of a movie." said the witness, Matthew VanWinkle. "It was surreal-looking, to see this guy walking right down the middle of Boylston Street"

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Donn Marten is a free lance writer and consultant who resides in West Central Florida.


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