They don’t stage rehearsals for nothing. It is important not only to get the script right but to gauge the reaction of the audience. This may have been the primary objective of the Boston Marathon bombing almost nine years ago.
The bombing itself was far from unprecedented, awful as it was. There have been far worse bombings throughout American history – the very worst but least well-known of them being the 1927 bombing of a school in Bath, Michigan in which 44 people were killed. It remains – by far – the deadliest such incident in American history. Only three people were actually killed by the bombs supposedly planted by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev aided by his brother, Tamerlan.
Yet Bath was not “locked down” on account of the bombing. Roving crews of body-armored Hut! Hut! Hutters! were not ordering people to remain in their homes – and threatening them with deadly weapons if they so much as questioned it.
That clip, above, is from the 1980 movie, The Blues Brothers. In 1980, the Hut! Hut! Hut! was comical. Today, it is reality – and far from being funny.
Radley Balko wrote a piece for The Washington Post back in 2014 in which he noted the unprecedented nature of the reaction to the Boston bombing: “Not in Oklahoma City after the Murrah Federal Building bombing in 1995, not in Atlanta after the 1996 bombing in Centennial Olympic Park, not in D.C. during the 2002 sniper attacks, not after a series of pipe bombs went off in federal courthouse in San Diego in 2008, not during the dozens of instances in which a mass killer or serial killer was still at large” was an entire city turned into a kind of open-air prison, in which citizens lawful rights were summarily suspended in the name of an “emergency.”
But in Boston, “19,000 National Guard troops moved into an American city, not to put down a civil uprising, quell riots or dispel an insurrection, but to search for a single man. Armored vehicles motored up and down neighborhoods. Innocent people were confronted in their homes at gunpoint or had guns pointed at them for merely peering through the curtains of their own windows.”
If it seemed a bit much, that’s because it was. Arguably, intentionally – and not because of the threat posed by Tsarnaev, later apprehended unarmed and wounded, hiding under someone’s boat. Rather, the powers-that-be got to see what Americans would do when their rights were not only threatened, but taken away – just like that.
This was the rehearsal for America’s show of subservience to Do As You Are Told authority, with the command performance given about two years ago and still ongoing.
Never before was an entire American city “locked down” extra-judicially, no law having been passed, force majeure becoming the order of the day. How would Americans perform when subjected to it?
They were weighed, measured – and found ready. The forces that applied force majeure there saw it could be applied anywhere. All they had to do was apply it. The pretext for it hardly mattered. A bomber, a “virus” . . . climate change.
Expect that, by the way, when the “virus” gets old.
As “terrorists” got old, before the “virus.”
It is true that in the Bath case, the nee’r do well – Andrew Kehoe – blew himself up along with the school and so there was no need to Hut! Hut! Hut! the community of Bath to apprehend him. But this misses the essential point – the essential difference – from then to now, because of what was staged so luridly – so in our faces – almost nine years ago.
It was the first time the term “shelter in place” was used against an entire population. It is a weasly-worded phrase meant to soft-pedal the force majeure behind it. Kids in school had already been conditioned to its more honest elaboration, the “lock down” – a thing formerly applied only to convicted criminals in a prison.
Which schools had by then become, serving in their way as community theater – preparing the actors for the Big Show to come.
People weren’t asked to “shelter in place.” They were ordered to. People who had committed no crime nor even vaguely suspected of one. Everyone was simply ordered – by authority – to “shelter in place,” with the threat of a Hut! Hut! Hutting! for the “noncompliant.”
If it sounds familiar, it should.
This writer – and I am not the only one – has warned for years of the criticality of never accepting a dangerous precedent, regardless of the moment – because the precedent is certain to become practice. If American citizens tolerate being ordered by the government to “shelter in place” because X then because Y will be next.
It is not rocket science – but it is political science.
Once you get people used to one thing you will have an easier time getting them to accept the next thing. If the government can make you purchase car insurance then why not health insurance? If there is a “threat” that “justifies” the “locking down” and “sheltering in place” of an entire community just because Authority says so – then you can expect Authority to say so again.
Whether on account of a “terrorist,” a “virus” or “climate change.”
The terrorists having an endless supply of pretexts.
. . .
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