Boston Marathon Bombing

Public Keeps Calm and Carries On; Politicians Freak Out Over Boston Bombing

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FBI bomber photos
Credit: FBI

I have been struck by how calm my friends, neighbors, and the rest of my fellow Americans have been in response to the Boston bombing and aftermath. On the other hand, a lot of politicians seem to be freaking out, ramping up demands for giving increased power to the national security state apparatus. For example, on Saturday Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) issued a statement urging that the country toss the Constitution aside and treat the accused Boston Marathon bomber and American citizen Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as an "enemy combatant." In addition, Rep. King wants government agents to keep better watch on people's activities by means of more security cameras and aerial drones.

Now the Washington Post has published polling data that bolsters my anedotal experience that Americans are "keeping calm and carrying on." After the 9/11 attacks, 53 percent of Americans said that they had changed their daily plans or activities, but only 6 percent said that they had done so after the Boston bombing. Similarly, after 9/11, some 31 percent said that they had stayed home from work or had left early, whereas only 5 percent reacted that way toward the Boston bombing. In addition, 66 percent of respondents agreed that terrorists will always find a way to launch an attack.

From the Post:

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Americans largely agreed that everything had changed. A broad consensus quickly emerged that to secure the nation, some freedoms had to be sacrificed. But then came years in which, despite warnings from intelligence officials that terrorism would certainly strike at home again, plot after plot was foiled, and no attacks were carried out.

Now that the inevitable has occurred, the impact of evolving attitudes toward terrorism is beginning to come clear as Americans react to the Boston bombing with sadness and anger but also with resilience and confidence.

But there have been few calls for wholesale changes in defending against terrorism. Americans did not put aside politics this time; the divisive battle over gun control was back atop the news menu within 48 hours of the bombing. The Transportation Security Administration remains scheduled to lift the prohibition on small knives on airplanes starting Thursday.

We can only be terrorized if we let them.

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  1. OT: Oh those wacky Republicans!

    http://jonathanturley.org/2013…..-products/

    1. It’s Oklahoma. This won’t go national unless the media makes a big effort, which is possible.

  2. That’s funny, because this morning, while scanning the radio on my commute (mostly to get some details on the Revis trade), I heard a few moments of Glenn Beck, where he said the same thing–the public is dealing with this okay, but the government is losing its mind.

    1. Must be the big-media libertarian bullet point of the day.

    2. Beck’s extra crispy CT is that the Saudis were in on the bombing and Obama rushed in to clear them.

    3. Well, the government’s mind is very tiny and hard to find if they lose it.

      1. Yeah, but it’s clumsy as hell, so the flailing about during the search is dangerous!

      2. They fear both terrorists and voters. In fact, I believe the next step will be to lump voting in with terrorism.

        1. Well, they were citizens.

  3. When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.

    1. So you have been to our staff meetings then?

  4. Republicans will try to gin up some fake controversy out of this (see also Benghazi and F/F). The Beckerhead has cooked up some extra special CT for the occasion.

    As Bailey shows the public isn’t buying it.

    1. Palin’s Buttplug| 4.22.13 @ 2:00PM |#
      “Republicans will try to gin up some fake controversy out of this”

      You, OTOH, have already done so, dipshit.

    2. Probably so, since the Democrats’ early attempt to gin up fake controversy fell on its face.

  5. We can only be terrorized if we let them.

    I’m terrorized every time I deal with the TSA. That wasn’t because I let anyone terrorize me.

  6. I think there’s disaster fatigue. Too many horrible things happen and you start to get apathetic. “The public” realizes that there’s a low probability of they themselves getting hurt in a random attack, and consequently doesn’t freak out like congresscritters do.

  7. …”A broad consensus quickly emerged that to secure the nation, some freedoms had to be sacrificed.”

    Could be broad, but never was unanimous.

    1. I never agreed to that.

      1. I bet you never agreed to the social contract, either, you traitor!

        1. i can’t even get a copy of that contract

          1. You will still be held to it. Even if the terms keep changing more frequently than Google’s privacy policy.

            1. That’s a great idea. They should put the Constitution on-line and state in the Conditions of Use that the government can change the Constitution unilaterally, without notice.

              1. A wiki-tution, if you will, to which only bureaucrats have edit rights.

              2. I am sure that the “Agree to this” part that you had to read would be about 10,000 times longer than the Constitution itself.

                1. There’s no agree button. Simply by using the Constitution, you agree to the Conditions of Use.

                  1. There’s no agree button. Simply by using the Constitution, you agree to the Conditions of Use.

                    No, the deal was if we did not flee the country at birth we agreed for it to be used against us.

            2. I mean, everyone clicked on “I have read and agree to the terms and conditions” before they activated BeingBorn v1.1. Didn’t they?

              1. I predate End User License Agreements, and I never got v1.1, only v0.9. So I never agreed to anything.

                1. v0.9? You mean to tell me you’re a cro-magnon?

                  1. I got a grandfathered copy from my ancestors, we never paid to upgrade. Saw no need.

                    1. “I got a grandfathered copy from my ancestors, we never paid to upgrade. Saw no need.”

                      Clever. Wish my parent’s had thought of that.

  8. Even if average Americans are blas? about the blasts, politicians will be damned if they’ll let a crisitunity pass them by.

    What’s the percentage of people who live in rural areas and/or flyover states versus those living in urban or immediate suburban areas? As someone who lives in a gated compound deep in the woods, I did not feel the need to change my habits after the Boston attacks. I might feel wicked different if I was a goddamn Bostonian.

    1. I live in Metro Boston and do not need to feel any need to change my habits beyond being thankful that I no longer need to take the T (commuter rail) into work and have my bags frisked by more security theatre.

    2. As someone who lives in a gated compound deep in the woods… I might feel wicked different if I was a goddamn Bostonian.

      Bullshit. Your casual use of the term “wicked” gives you away! Admit, you MASSHOLE!!!! /sarc

      1. Listening to Boston residents on the news for a week rubbed off.

  9. There is a world of difference between 9/11 and the Boston bombing:

    weapons-grade anthrax.

    Weapons-grade anthrax that killed people in diverse places and shut down post offices and the US Senate office buildings.

    Curiously, the anthrax was discovered to have originated in a US government laboratory, and the government alleges that it was disseminated by a rogue agent of the US government.

    1. Oh, and of course shutting down air transportation for the better part of a week would cause a lot of people to change their plans.

      1. “Oh, and of course shutting down air transportation for the better part of a week would cause a lot of people to change their plans.”

        Particularly if you got tossed off a grounded flight 1,500 miles from your destination.
        Yep, my week got ‘way more complicated than it had been.

        1. My sister got stuck in the Napa Valley. Poor dear.

  10. We can only be terrorized if we let them

    The worst damage that terrorists do is persuading people to give the government more power.

  11. Similarly, after 9/11, some 31 percent said that they had stayed home from work or had left early.

    To be fair, some of that 31% left work early or stayed home because they were forced to. I worked at Johnson Space Center at the time. Myself and pretty much everyone else at the center except for essential personnel had to leave. Most of the people I knew there reacted like “Why the hell would terrorists want to strike here? WTF? Over-react much NASA?” IOW, most of us wouldn’t have left if we weren’t basically ordered to. I imagine it was the same at a lot of federal facilities.

    1. “To be fair, some of that 31% left work early or stayed home because they were forced to.”

      Pretty much all the federal employees were. My father worked at some federal building and got sent home, even though that would be a completely nonsensical target after skyscrapers and the Pentagon.

  12. Few politicians are elected by not freaking out.

    1. They could freak out about good things, though. Not that that would win over the FREE STUFF voter block, though.

  13. I think we can all safely say that Al Quaeda and other terrorists have been suffering from a bit of for a while now

    1. Especially after becoming the usual culprits on a whole battery of crime/action shows. After awhile one starts to wonder if they’re really the threat they’re portrayed to be.

  14. Pretty sure some other folks are getting the banner ad. How come only two people are spying on me? I mean I’m a libertarian; aren’t I worth a half dozen or so?

    1. Am I missing something because I have AdBlock turned on? I gather Lobster Girl hasn’t been around lately…

      1. No. It’s just some dumb ad, like those “(3) people have unfriended you” ads that generally elicit a positive reaction.

    2. No, spying on you has been automated. No people are involved anymore.

    3. There seems to be a consensus with my spy finder ads. They ALL say it is two. I am leaning toward a conspiracy. What is your theory?

      1. Lazy programmers.

        1. Conspiracies of the lazy are ingenious!

      2. I have only one person spying on me.

        The other one got bored and left after I stopped browsing pr0n.

        1. I’m sorry. I’d tell you that it will get better, but, well …

  15. Honestly, the best way to deal with terrorism is to not overact to it.

    The wall-to-wall coverage, shutdown of the city, and general police craziness – all from two guys with pressure cookers? God forbid if some real terrorist team hits multiple cities at the same time.

    Yes, bad things happened, but you know what? Bad shit happens all the time – car accidents, murders, police brutality, a government that is spending our money to oblivion, guns, knives, and puppy-dog tails. And there is no way to protect everyone all the fucking time.

  16. a government that is spending our money credit line to oblivion

    FIFY

  17. I mean what can you do? I’m certainly not interested in surrendering anymore of my freedoms for “safety”. You can’t stop nutjobs/zealots.

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