Skip to main content

Most of us recall the firestorm that circulated around our presidential nominee in the wake of his 10/04 NYT Magazine interview, where he said the following:

When I asked Kerry what it would take for Americans to feel safe again, he displayed a much less apocalyptic worldview. ''We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance,'' Kerry said. ''As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.''

As we all know, his hometown is currently under lockdown, w/ APC's and men in uniforms brandishing automatic weapons swarming the streets to capture 1 terrorist.  His comments, accordingly, have considerable contemporary relevance.  His current position as SoS arguably give them further relevance.

In Boston, today, 1 terrorist is the focus of everyone's lives.  It appears that, until he is killed or apprehended, life will remain at a standstill.  It has overwhelmed the fabric of life in the cradle of the American Revolution.

Many of us can recall sectors of LA, Detroit, and Newark being cordoned off by National Guard during the Long, Hot Summers of the 60's.  I believe that there was a similar response to the Rodney King Riots in '92.  In those cases, however, there was an orgy of shooting, burning, and looting that ripped apart the very social fabric.  There was no other way to possibly start stitching it back together.  Plus, the affected areas themselves were cordoned off, not entire cities.  I don't, futhermore, recall daytime curfews being imposed.

Back when he was being eviscerated by armchair warriors for his purported naivete, I understood that our decorated Vietnam Vet was talking about the basic concept of proportionality.  He clearly was talking about the difference between approaching terrorism as more of a law enforcement problem rather than viewing it as a military problem.  This manhunt is clearly taking a military, not a law enforcement, approach.

Since 9/11, we've seen an increasingly militarized approach to public safety.  I still recall taking my parents to the airport about 1 month later and seeing soldiers w/ automatic weapons spaced throughout the drop-off areas.  I wondered then (and I wonder now) why crazed suicidal fanatics would somehow be intimidated by such a display.  More recently, we saw the militarized approach in the crushing of the Occupy movement in 2011 and 2012.  In how many cities did we see SWAT teams in riot gear rousting unarmed encampment residents in the middle of the night?  

How long will Boston remain in a virtual state of siege if Tsarnaev isn't quickly aprehended?  1 day?  3 days? A week?  A month? What if it appears that Tsarnaev has left town?  Will the lockdown need to be widened?  Should other parts of MA be locked down?  What  about RI and CT?

Why are we not taking even greater threats to life and limb this seriously?  Why, for example, was the West, TX fertilizer plant not inspected by OSHA for 28 years?  Why would only 40 senators vote for an assault weapons ban?  We assume that there will likely be future workplace explosions that will kill people, and we know that there will be future Tucsons, Auroras, and Newtowns.  Nothing is even attempted to reduce the frequency of those predictable and preventable tragedies.

Given that sad set of facts, the approach advocated by our 2004 nominee makes even more sense to me now than it did when I started drafting this diary.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site