When Fear Rules All Suffer

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Although the recent bombings at the Boston marathon were in many ways nothing we haven’t seen before, in terms of the means deployed and the scale of the attack, the scale and nature of the response from the American government was unprecedented, and revealing.

George Donnelly, a self-described libertarian activist and Boston resident recently wrote an interesting article entitled ‘Boston Tried a Police State and it Failed‘ in which he describes the government’s actions in his home town on the 19th of April, and the reaction of residents:

“Yesterday a major US city – perhaps as many as 1 million people – was put under martial law. Business and universities were closed. Public transit and Amtrak were padlocked. Paramilitary cops from multiple states rolled down Boston’s residential neighborhoods in humvees with manned machine gun turrets on top. In full battle gear, these guys – they looked like soldiers – called people out of their homes. They then searched the homes. Boston became a ghost town and a police state for a day. And Bostonians cheered them for it. Some even called for a parade to honor the men who treated them like prisoners in their own homes.”

The curious thing about the government’s response is that it didn’t actually achieve its goal. As George Donnelly points out:

“…only when they [the government] lifted the lockdown did they find the surviving Tsarnaev brother. That’s when the owner of the boat Tsarnaev was hiding in came out of his house and noticed something amiss.”

This demonstrates that deploying the maximum amount of man-power and fire-power at your disposal won’t always work, but will always waste lots of money. It always shows that having a government with immense man-power and fire-power doesn’t guarantee yours or anyone else’s safety, and that if the government chooses to exercise all that muscle it can result in you being treated like an animal for a period of time. Any human being that accepts being treated like an animal has had his mind severely corrupted, and his sense of worth erased.

Apparently the Boston economy produces about $1 billion a day. So taxpayers incurred two costs. The direct cost of the government operation itself and the cost of the 24-hours’ worth of wealth the city of Boston didn’t get to create. And what was the benefit? Well, Bostonians got to see big men carrying big guns wander through their homes, angrily open their bins and shout at anything that moved. They also got to be a little poorer.

The government’s militarized response was disturbing and perverse, but not surprising. American society is now riddled with the cancer of the belief in violent authority and fear of imagined enemies. It is terminal. And the police-state is the logical conclusion, evidenced by the response of the majority of the people of Boston. They weren’t staring in quiet disbelief or fearful of the sight of heavily armed police and armoured vehicles rolling into their neighbourhood, which would be a reasonable response. Perversely, they were overjoyed, and held their children up to see the white knights in shining armour. For 24-hours the residents of Boston lost their status as human beings, but they accepted it. They were glad to be treated like obstructions, with angry impatience like locked doors or gates, and not human beings. They accepted being controlled like animals for 24 hours because fundamentally they were and are terrified. They are terrified of the spectre of ‘terrorism’. They believe their country is at War with Terror, and that the only ones who can save them are the equally terrified but heavily armed agents of the government.

What the government did in Boston clearly wasn’t for the benefit of the people of Boston. It was a reaction by those in power who are afraid, humiliated and angry. Such people, who have the power of the world’s most heavily armed state at their disposal, are the ones Americans should be afraid of.

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