Emerging on the other side; Backpack firmly in place

I let this space go quiet for over a year. It wasn’t on purpose at first. Then it was. I haven’t been on Twitter either for a while, in a similar pattern.

Four years ago this month, my life as I knew it fell apart: at 40 yrs old, I lost my job that I passionately loved, I lost my marriage of 11 years, I lost my home, I lost my financial status, I lost my sense of security and at the same time had to project security for my son while we lived in the upper room of my parents’ house as I scrambled and clawed over the next years to try put my life back together.

Four years later after all that loss, I have gained myself.

I started this blog in the midst of that scramble. Trying to find a way to, as Alexi Murdoch puts it, just breathe. I started strong and went for a while. And then I think the little cracks in my heart just needed some quiet exposure to the oxygen of time. In the last couple of months, I have felt the slow stitching up of those cracks and their gaping holes closed up.

There is a road I’m back on – and I’ve taken my jedi master’s words to heart: Do. Or Do Not. There is No Try.


No matter what life throws at you, you are made of the strongest stuff of the universe, and time IS actually on your side because it is not contained in days or years, but in your heart. You can do this thing, whatever it is. Because on the other side is not the thing. On the other side is you.

I have found myself on the other side of the thing.

I Watch ‘Revolution’ So You Don’t Have To… Redux

I tried.  I really tried to stick with Revolution last year.  I had so many high hopes for a new Kripke/JJ Abrams series.  After all, Supernatural is GENIUS, so a new post-apocalyptic Kripke series would have to be amazing, right? And JJ Abrams? One of the greatest shows on television was Alias.  But with Revolution, I was struggling after only a few episodes – the show was entirely humorless.  Even the most intense dramas have moments of good humor…but Revolution just kept driving me deeper and deeper into non-electric boredom.  Both Kripke and Abrams have a well-documented history of making dramatic productions punctuated with really brilliant humor and action.  Alas, not sure what happened here.


But, I’m going to try again.  Despite the fact that it pushes the limits of belief that humans are not able to develop steam or wind power within 10 years of losing electricity, that the same loss of electricity also seems to have zapped all sense of humor out of humanity, and that we should care about a roaming dysfunctional family with crossbows, I am going to give the show another chance.  I caught up on last year (well, I watched a few more episodes and the finale), and tuned in for the premiere of the second season.


Unlike last year, I’m actually working this year, so this review comes a few days after the air date because I don’t have as much time.  But just because I love you… I watch Revolution so you don’t have to.

(Just in case it needs to be said: SPOILERS AHEAD, if you actually plan to watch it)


So when the first season ended months of the most relentlessly boring post-apocalyptic world ever, our hapless, frowny gang had breached the massive fortification called “The Tower” in Colorado.  There they found all the algebra teachers controlling the power, fought the algebra teachers, turned the power on, and within seconds of that, watched a bad guy launch a shitload of ICBMs. 

So of course we start Season 2 with everyone wanting to turn the power back OFF.

Six months later: Most of our main characters are holed up in a small town called Willoughby, in Texas.  The power is off again.  So they must have managed to turn it back off after the missiles launched.

zakMIT Aaron has found a girlfriend and as he stares into the night sky, he sees magical green fireflies everywhere.  They swirl and swoop and then disappear.  Huh, he thinks.

Mom/Rachel is now nurse assistant to the local doctor who we find out is … her dad!  Played by Steven Collins, Grandpa does not appear to be in seventh heaven in his new television role.

Where is Charlie?  Charlie (we used to call her Charlie-Katniss because she started off with some badass crossbow skills, but over season one she deteriorated into a humorless shell of a character) is roaming the backroads of the Plains Nation, we aren’t sure why.

At first, every scene starts off with some homage to classic rock (that’s Kripke for you), but then we lose even that subtleness a few more minutes into the show.


We catch up with Major Tom and his weirdo son Jason…or Nate…or whatever he’s going by these days … at the Savannah Refugee Camp, Georgia Federation (which appears to be a super-sized Hooverville).  They are looking for Major Tom’s wife (so far with no luck).  MajorTomMajor Tom has a crisis of futile-ness (really, it took him this long?) and tries to off himself. The kid calls his dad a “little bitch” for wanting to kill himself.  They fight a little.  Neither seems to care that much. Then there’s a community commotion.  They run outside of their tent to discover a colonial ship sailing up the river, flying the flag of the United States.

Back in Texas, we see Uncle Miles burn a shack and walk away bloody.  No explanation.  So nothing new with Uncle Miles.

Sixteen minutes in and I’m nodding off…


Next, we get a little backstory about Uncle Miles and Mom/Rachael having a thing in the past and Grandpa not wanting it to emerge again.  So Grandpa tells Uncle Miles he needs to get out of town.  We get a Heartfelt Moment between Mom/Rachel and Uncle Miles as Miles rides off on a horse, and Miles says “Bad things happen when we’re together.”  This is possibly because neither one of them is an Algebra teacher.milesrachel

The action picks up a little when Miles comes across two marauders beating up on a homesteader family – he races through a corn field after them (no baseball teams in sight), slices a few bad guys and returns to town to warn the hapless (and need it be said, humorless) sheriff.

MEANWHILE, in New Vegas, where Charlie is slutting around for kicks, we learn that David Schwimmer is the “last surviving Friend.”  Now THAT is post-apocalyptic.  Then Charlie sees Monroe gambling with pretty diamonds, and ultimate fighting to win more cash.  She secretly plots.  We think (she has no facial expressions, so it’s hard to tell).

Bad news is coming to the Texas Frontier town. Uncle Miles tells Mama Rachel they need to get outta dodge before the marauders come calling.  But she won’t leave until Charlie comes back and Uncle Miles won’t leave her.

Back in New Vegas: Charlie sees Monroe walking …aaaaand the crossbow comes out!

RevolutionHeroBut before she can hit him, two other guys nab him, lock him up and take him away in a…stagecoach.

Oh NOS!  Back in Willoughby, MIT Aaron is attacked in his own home by evil marauders!  Uncle Miles goes after them before they can kidnap more screeching women – the sheriff shows up, helps out, but then Uncle Miles is surrounded….

Bye Bye, MIT Aaron, dead from the marauders’ attack… the only one who ever even tried to crack a joke in this show…you’ll be missed.

But in the last minute… you guessed it! The magical green fireflies appear and MIT Aaron rises from the dead!

Tune in next week, when I might watch Revolution so you don’t have to!  Or, I might see it come on the television and…


“Nothing to Prove” – the Newest Best Thing

The Doubleclicks‘ new song “Nothing to Prove” is out!

I have been a fan of The Doubleclicks for many years now.  I feel almost proprietary about them sometimes because I live in the same town, go to their small local shows and feel like I can say “I knew them back when they FIRST opened for Paul and Storm!”  There is nothing not to love about them and their music.  My favorite for several years running was “Velociraptor” — until a few months ago, when they released the brilliant “Impostor,” about Curiosity, the Mars Rover.  That moment when we all watched him land on Mars together –with the NASA/JPL guys just as anxious as we were– was like this bonding moment for space geeks worldwide.  The DoubleClicks brought all that together in their amazing song about the rover – because really, we’re all faking it.

But TODAY, they released their newest song – “Nothing to Prove.”  We knew it was in the works because they’d sent out an appeal for Geek Girls to send in videos of themselves.  But the final product is just …beautiful.  “Nothing to Prove” is the ultimate anthem for girls and women who face censure because they dare to work and play in a male dominated world… and they are good at what they do.  Just like the Female Athlete, the Female Geek has long been sidelined with comments about not being a “real” Trekkie, or that she can’t “really” be a gamer because… vagina!  This video is the voice for the whole community – male and female geeks and nerds alike.  

The video is a stream of messages from women of all ages and backgrounds declaring their pride in what they love and who they are.  Some also testify to how they have been shunned just because they “wear a pink skirt.”  Fantastic cameos by some of our favorite geeks: John Scalzi, Paul and Storm, Amy Berg, Adam Savage, and Wil Wheaton add to the message that this isn’t only about girls — this is about all of us.  Declaring that any world is off limits to anyone is not cool.  But somehow, this has become okay in many corners of geekdom.  The video is an excellent chaser to Aisha Tyler’s new book Self-Inflicted Wounds.  Her Nerdist interview with Chris Hardwick a couple years ago was one of my favorites because she talked about the open letter she wrote where she did NOT apologize for being a female gamer.  It is about time girls get to stop having to defend themselves.  Like the Doubleclicks sing: we have nothing to prove.


Aubrey and Angela Webber – The Doubleclicks

I was six years old when my dad took me to the theater to see “Star Wars” in 1977.  It is one of the clearest memories of my childhood. I remember so few girls in the audience, but my dad was awesome, and I was brave – it was my first Big Person movie (not a cartoon).  And from the first moment those words scrolled across that giant screen, I was found.  My world exploded with possibility.  In some ways, I was lucky because my dad was in the Air Force and I grew up on bases where I could ride my bike to the flight line and watch super cool jets take off.  In fact, we were stationed in Hawaii back when astronauts still fell out of the sky into the ocean and were scooped up by the Navy and brought to the Air Force base to fly home.  Yes, I was the only third grader who brought for show and tell my most prized possession: an autographed picture of the earth from space – a picture taken and autographed by Jim Lovell himself:

The Earth - from the Moon's orbit, Christmas 1968, by Jim Lovell

The Earth – from the Moon’s orbit, Christmas 1968, by Jim Lovell

But I grew up in the 70s, and despite it being the first full decade of actualized feminism, I still lived in a world where my interest in space and adventure and science fiction was discouraged in favor of growing up to be a good wife and mother.  I idolized Dorothy Hamill, not because of her pretty ice skating outfits, but because she could fly through the air and she didn’t need anyone to help her.  I religiously watched Linda Carter in Wonder Woman and I thought about what it would be like to jump over buildings. But I considered Space Camp out of my league.  I let those other voices creep in, and slowly I became more intimidated by math and science.   I read scifi in private and didn’t join in with my brother be to learn to write in elvish or speak random lines of Klingon.  I watched the stars through my telescope as a hobby but never thought I was smart enough to take a college class in astronomy.  Why?

I know not all GenX Geek Girls let society stop them – there are some incredible women my age who have forged the path for nerdy women and girls.  I was a full grown adult before I started to not care anymore and let my internal geek once again blossom.  I’d channeled my geeky tendencies into the social scientists and became a huge history and political geek until I became a teacher and earned 2 masters degrees in the stuff.  I grew through my experiences as a human rights worker, and when I became a mother.  Now as a single Geek Mom, my son and I spend hours with Zelda and we play Settlers of Cataan together religiously.  Our book shelves overflow with random Magic cards and Lego spaceships.  I’m proud to be a Geek Mom and whatever my kid geeks out about is awesome.

Even when I hid who I was because it just wasn’t the “girl thing,” through it all, Yoda was on my back.  There is a reason I take my personal motto from him (and why it is tattooed on my leg in Gallifreyan): There Is No Try.  It is no longer a world where girls should feel ashamed OR afraid of the multitudes of universes available to them.  There is no reason not to jump into the fray of whatever you love and love it well, no matter what close-minded people think.  And it’s also okay to be just a little over 40 and still proud that when you were 15, you got to sit in the actual Batmobile when your dad took you to the car show.

I’ve already procrastinated doing my research work this morning by watching this new video a dozen times. I’m really hoping they’ll be in Seattle this October at Geek Girl Con.  “Nothing to Prove” from The Doubleclicks is awesome, because it says it all: there is no reason why any of the women and girls featured in it should ever feel censure or silenced – nor should any of us.  It’s time we not only said it but believed it: We have Nothing To Prove.




WTF, Match? My First Month of Match Adventures…

I haven’t blogged in a while – been a bit busy the last month: my son turned 11, I published my first book, I completed my 2nd masters and am defending my thesis this week, and finally, after two years of unemployment/underemployment I got a full time job!  Also, I had to go see Star Trek Into Darkness three more times (total of four viewings so far…and probably not done) and Man of Steel once (so far….).   And in between all that exciting activity, I signed up for a Match.com account.  Yes. I did.  And so far…


I have been single for two years (you may have noticed the similar time span as the events above. Yes: I was laid off, my marriage ended, and I lost my house all within the same three-month time span two years ago (let’s not talk about 2011 though).  I figured that because things seemed to be starting to move again in my life, maybe I should, you know, “get out there.”  I was inspired by one of my author heroines, Anne Lamott, who said her year on Match wasn’t so bad. I can do this too!


But after a month… WTF, Match? I know I’m not like some super-match candidate, but come on.  It could possibly be my weird age group. Being a GenXer can be a little awkward these days – we are in our (early!) 40’s but still think we are the young ones in society.  I’m stuck right in that too-old-for-OkCupid-too-young-for-OurTime stage.  Available men in my age group seem to either not use Match or Match feels this sort of thing might be attractive to me:

He shares the same birth month!
Like you, he’s not a smoker.
You are both social drinkers!

Wow, Match.  Way to pick three solid bases for a dating candidate!  I especially like the exclamation point !!! after the fact that we might have social drinking in common.


Then there are the self-descriptions.  Evidently men my age are far more verbose than I have been led to believe (by my own 11 year marital experience or by popular culture). They LOVE to talk about themselves! Match clearly says to keep it brief, but these self descriptions are like page-long novellas.

…ain’t nobody got time for that.

Also they love camping.  LOTS of camping. Oh and anything outdoorsy. Hiking, camping, swimming, beaches, camping, windsurfing, camping…

Now, I’m always up for a great hike.  My last hike was at Lake Tahoe, and it was beautiful!  But I stopped camping a while ago… after, oh, I gave birth.  After that experience, I decided for myself the one small thing I could do for myself was that I would do everything possible to sleep in comfortable beds from then on.  Giving birth doesn’t really have anything to do with camping or even comfortable beds, but frack on a rack, give me a break – don’t I deserve a comfy bed?


I’m not sure what the attraction men my age have to the outdoors at such an intense level.  Perhaps it’s some sort of conventional wisdom that tells men over 35 that they appear more vigorous and young if they are windsurfing?  Not sure – but my bio indicates nothing that would lead Match to believe (in any logical algorithm) that I would enjoy extended periods of time accumulating sun burns, bug bites and/or poison ivy. … What? Too anti-nature? Sue me.


I’m not too proud to admit it, yes, I’m an indoor geek.  I do enjoy the city life, and while I have nothing against the country…or the outside in general… Is there not ONE match to be found with someone who would prefer a good game of Castle Panic or a Star Trek marathon to extreme ultra endurance base jumping?


The most disturbing discovery so far though: they seem to love giving back rubs.  Not kidding. By my count, at least 3 out of every 4 “matches” Match.com comes up with for me are super into back rubs.


I’m sorry but I would rather go on a first date NOT knowing you creepily want to invade my personal space.  Not that I’m against physical contact – I don’t have THAT bad of social anxiety – but come on.  Just thinking that someone believes their best advertising point is back rubs just gives me the creepazoid shivers.

Here are some other ones that made my top ten of Nope (spelling original):

I would love to listen..I’m not an alcolholic, I’m not a felon, and I’m not a jerk to women..I’m a pretty normal guy and very easy to get along with…


Oh and here’s a great one that I think is supposed to be meaningful and intuitive…but I’m not sure (spelling original, again):

I am a rock, loyal, compassionate, expressive, intuative, and I am ever delving for development as a person. I still maintain those warm feelings created by a snowy Christmas Eve; my heart is young. My contingincies are few. Nice is what comes to mind foremost. I look for someone who can expand my horizons of understanding what is all around us.


This one makes it clear that I have my work cut out for me:

Sultry music, like Norah Jones or Adele, works for me. I’m not much of a dancer, but when properly motivated I’m up for most anything. If you make it fun, I’m there.

While I can sometimes (rarely) be in a mood to love me some Norah or Adele, this is usually me in the car:   


So sorry, not gonna be able to do the heavy work on that slow dancing for ya.

Just to wrap up this little session, I got this doozy sent to me today:

I find it sexy when a woman is articulate and can have a conversation. It is surprising at how many people actually don’t do well at that.

no, no, no...

Look, I’m not that complicated. I am not super young, but I’ve got a few things to recommend me. No, I don’t camp. But I do know the words to Supertramp’s “Goodbye Stranger” — so there’s that.

I’m just not quite convinced Match has this whole “matching” thing down.


Maybe I don’t need to use this Match thing!  My life is fulfilling! I can fill my time with more interesting things! 

I wonder if I have any new blue links on reddit…

Why I’m a Trekkie (and LOVE the new movie)

I’m waxing Trekkie:  SPOILERS ahead if you haven’t seen Star Trek: Into Darkness yet.

It is incredible to think about, but the original Star Trek series had already been off the air for 2 years by the time I was born – it had lasted only 3 years (of its 5 year mission). As a kid in the 70’s, I watched what must have been reruns of it… though in my kid mind it was a regular show.


Then the first movie came out when I was 8 years old, and The Wrath of Khan when I was 11. We had to wait two entire years after that to find out what happened to Spock (Khaaaaaannn!!!!).

Khan (1)

I have heard and read all the naysayers about the new Trek film generation, but I just don’t buy any of it.  I don’t judge what makes a Trekkie a Trekkie, but one reason I am one is because I absolutely love EVERY incarnation of Trek.  Each one is true to the vision of the original Trek, and yet each one is unique and awesome.  

StarTrek2I think the reason I love these NEW Trek movies is because there is such a clear choice (and it was the case from the beginning) that this series is not meant to relive those original adventures or decisions – but rather, because the timeline got shifted, in this new universe we can explore the characters knowing that they are not repeating but rather re-encountering all the wonders of the first time around, but in a new, unique way.  So STID Castwe don’t have to compare them, just appreciate the homage.  By giving them this new timeline, nothing is taken from the original, but the same amazing characters can now be explored in new ways… which is why Into Darkness does such a great job of combining elements of the Khan legacy with the new timeline.

I actually think the actors chosen for the roles are fantastic for them.  Karl Urban seemed to be channeling Deforest Kelly, and Simon Pegg is irrationally perfect for Scotty.  But I also like Chris Pine’s version of Kirk: a rash, emotion-based being, but one who is clearly in the process of maturing.  For me, the uncanny ability Zach Quinto has to morph into Spock made this movie for me — especially because of the way the entire film built on the last film in terms of Spock’s willingness to also learn and grow.  I like the bolder role for Uhura, and I loved the alien diversity on the bridge.  All of this combined to make a great ride on the Enterprise for me, including the way the Khan story was reworked for this new timeline.  


I never thought there could be  a way to top what I have always considered the most poignant, wonderful scene in all of Star Trek.  It was dreadful and terrible and beautiful all at once – and, of course we all memorized it.  Because who wouldn’t want Spock to tell you that YOU have been, and always shall be, his friend?

But, incredibly, Star Trek: Into Darkness did it.  And in an entirely new way that made the scene just as meaningful, but gave it new life.


THIS scene is the evidence of what really makes this particular Trek crew (the characters, not the actors) from the original incarnation so unique amidst all the universes that I love: there is not one hero, but rather a complete and total dependency on a deep and abiding friendship between two very different men. There can never be victory without both of them. Star Wars, Marvel, any of those (and I love them all) – they do not have this incredibly righteous dynamic that makes the re-imagination of the best scene in the entirety of the Star Trek expanded universe so amazing (and, yes, I think even better than the first version).  It is the one scene that depicts the true genius of Gene Roddenberry: it is not technology, or weapons, or even ingenuity, but rather, an unlikely but supremely powerful friendship that will always save the universe.

THAT is why I’m a Trekkie.

….and yes, I’ve already seen it twice.

In Which a Civics/Sociology Teacher Asks Some Questions About A 20 Hour Mass Detention in a Major American City

Wow.  I binge-watched a really intense suspense thriller this week.  Oh, wait…

I’ve been thinking a LOT about the unprecedented situation in Boston on Thursday/Friday.  (as evidenced by some of my status posts yesterday) An historically unique event happened.  Not the capture of a terrorist/murder suspect.  Not a massive manhunt.  Not racist/sectarian accusations based on ignorance and sensationalism.  All those things have happened lots of times before.  But in American history, there has never been a complete and total lockdown of millions of people in a major metropolitan area for 20 hours in order to perform a police action…and one in which the citizens completely complied.  I pass no judgment on the situation at this point because it’s too early in the understanding of it or even the processing of it.

But I have a LOT of questions about the ramifications of this event with regard to A) sociology: the group behavior that was clearly observable within the situation and outside of it; and B) the political issues of it with regard to a society that rarely sees the surrender of rights in the pursuit of safety so vividly played out in front of them.

The following are questions/thoughts I’ve had so far.  I invite you to add your own questions and thoughts.  This is only the start of a discussion so there don’t have to be answers and no one needs to defend anything – this isn’t a debate, it’s a brainstorm.  Yes, I’m being a little teacher-y, so you have to suffer for the fact I don’t have a classroom of students right now to inflict this on, but on the other hand, it might be a way for you to work through what you yourself have experienced this last week.  Because even though you might not have been in Boston or Watertown, you experienced the terror of a viscous bombing attack and the resulting affects of that fear, anxiety, grief and anger.  Perhaps just thinking through some of these things will help you process it a little.  I’m focusing solely on the time period of 10pm EST Thursday through 3-4pm EST Friday, which is the period in which the lockdown occurred.

There are many reasons to execute a “stay in your homes” directive: natural disaster, chemical spill, crazy killer on the loose, etc.  But never have we seen this sort of thing, with a major American city brought to a complete and total silent standstill, with millions of people cooperating in their own indefinite sequestration.

I think it’s instructive to note the difference between this specific situation and the resultant debate after 9/11. There has been ongoing questions about the removal or limiting of 4th Amendment rights (among others) via the PATRIOT ACT.  That is a MUCH broader situation and in some ways, that makes it more difficult for people to grasp in any practical way with regard to their own behavior.  When it is a nebulous “that doesn’t affect me” situation, it is hard to get a lot of citizens riled up about it (much to the dismay of Civil Liberties defenders).  We have already shown a general willingness to give up some 4th Amendment rights at the airport, etc.  While the following questions are aimed specifically at the Boston/Watertown situation, I do wonder if the last 12 years has been a subtle conditioning of which we only now realize the the extent.

So I’ll start.  Here are my initial questions and thoughts about the lockdown period.  This is COMPLETELY about the detention issues – NOT about the bombers, the case, the mechanics of the search itself, or any other part of this (all other worthy conversation topics) – I’m just right now thinking through the singular situation witnessed and experienced by millions during the quarantine.


  • There has not been one reported instance of resistance or defiance of the lockdown order so far (perhaps some will emerge as we proceed into the aftermath).  There was also NO concern expressed by the millions of worldwide onlookers during the event.  Now there are some things being published about it.  But during that 20 hours, I saw no clear discussions on any social networking or major discussion sites, and none on any of the msm coverage that indicated any concern about the issues contained within this police action. Until it started getting dark again and people started wondering how long it would go on.  That is amazing to me.
  • Millions of people agreed to be interned in their own homes for almost 24 hours. What combination of powerful incentives caused this to be so successful?  Is fear that powerful?  Is need for safety that powerful?  Is respect for authority that powerful?  Are those three things the unbreakable combo of behavioral control?
  • Thousands of people agreed to waive their 4th Amendment rights without an argument.  Their homes were searched relentlessly by militarized police.  This alone raises some interesting questions:

4thAmendmenttextAmongst those thousands of homes, statistically it would be impossible if many of them did not contain criminal evidence of some kind — drugs, evidence of violence or abuse, neglect, sanitation concerns, very ill people, stolen goods, etc.

On the one side, what would have happened (or what did happen that we didn’t see) if the search was refused or resisted?

On the other hand, what kind of domestic situations that otherwise might not be legally tolerated were seen by police in the course of the searches that they either a) cannot do anything about, or b) will unconstitutionally follow up on because the perceive an ongoing threat to society or the people living in the home?

Was there ANY hesitation or concern by ANY of those subjected to the searches, or ANY attempt to resist the search on Constitutional grounds?

  • Considering the lack of resistance displayed by both the participants in the detention and the onlookers (us), can we draw any conclusions about the strength of the Social Contract that secures the 4th Amendment… or even the 3rd (which we NEVER reference or use, but which actually may be historically instructive in this unique case).
  • I realize that people from all political sides shout very regularly that Americans are sheep and don’t think for themselves.  But I think this situation calls on some deeper thinking here.  Put yourself in Watertown.  How would you have reacted to the order?
  • Thinking on that, what do we now know about how simple it would be for a republic to slip the bonds of liberty and AGREE to tyranny?  Is just the right combination of fear, need for safety and respect for authority all that is needed?
  • Was the 20 hours of non-resisted detention of a major metropolitan area ONLY because of “terrorism?”  Were we observing a direct and contained result of the true power of terrorism?
  • Was the 20 hours of non-resisted detention of a major metropolitan area ALSO because of fear of the militarized police action itself?
  • I don’t know if I am unique among my audience here, but I have actually been in the middle of a militarized police action that locked down the town I was in.  This was in Northern Ireland towards the end of the Troubles.  The same sort of closed-in feeling with helicopters, tanks/saracens, military barricades and borders, searches, and quarantine.  It is scary (beyond what I can describe adequately here) and it creates PTS by simply the nature of the situation.  Now we have a major metropolitan region of millions that have the same resultant PTS.  This is similar to the the PTS that exists in Baghdad and Syria, Palestine and Israel on a regular basis.  So what behavioral modifications will occur both in the Boston area, and the rest of the country because of it (I am talking about personal and group behavior, not government policy).
  • Most likely, one clear result of the situation this week will be continued acquiescence to authority in order to secure safety over liberty.  This may not necessarily be a bad thing, depending on a person’s perspective (I am not agreeing or disagreeing) — but just for starters, I’m guessing there will be little resistance to the “London-ification” of American towns and cities.  That is, the complete and total CCTV observation of every square inch of populated area.  What does this mean for our future behavior and understanding of the 4th Amendment?


  • What legal decision had to be made to include National Guard in a policing action?  I realize that a governor is allowed to call up the NG for in-state safety/security issues.  So were they clearly kept on a “public safety” mandate so that there was no posse comitatus crossover?  How will we know? Does it matter to us?
  • How will the people subjected to the lockdown and searches change their everyday behavior in response to their understanding of those 20 hours?  Beyond PTS problems that will have to be treated, what, if any, changes have occurred or will occur in their thinking about their own personal liberty?  What about the thinking of the millions of observers who vicariously soaked in the fear and sequestration?
  • Will this type of action ever be possible again?  I’m going to assume Americans aren’t going to just pretend all of these issues don’t exist.  At least I hope there will be some discussion about these things — so will that make us just as willing the next time a city is terrorized by the possibility of continued violence and pain, to draw upon the successful conclusion of THIS detention and agree all over again to the same methods?  Or will it increase the possibility of resistance the next time and cause a disruption in the ability of authorities to insist on a suspension of normal behavior (resistance to authority)?
  • This was not undertaken in an aggressive anti-population method.  In other words, natural resistance that would occur when your ENEMY is trying to intern you (a la Wolverines!) was not present during this situation – this was done by trusted public safety organizations in the name of security.  Does that make it acceptable?
  • Boston is an incredibly multi-cultural city.  The population affected by this detention and cessation of normal activity included virtually every cultural background, immigrant group, since-the-colonies descendants, and all other mixes in between.  How did, if at all, those cultural backgrounds play into the social contract that was enacted during the detention?
  • Very clear and consistent studies show 30% of our population is authoritarian.  Meaning, there is rarely less than 30% and usually more in a large group of Americans that prefers to follow authority and do what they’re told.  So what factors contribute to increasing that to an almost 100% compliance?
  • How conditioned are we to jump to political conclusions based on a racist or anti-muslim framework (almost identical to anti-immigrant/communist framework of the 1920’s & 30’s), that we are willing to exchange our liberty and natural rights for what we perceive to be our safety?  It’s easy to judge from afar, but if we place ourselves in the midst of terror — how able are we to think independently about the nature of that terror?
  • As was made clear during the entire ordeal, the mainstream media cannot do the above (resist flying into the stereotyping, hate & fear mongering political sensationalism), so how independently are we processing information outside of what we are being told?
  • What will security forces learn from this episode that will play into future actions like this one?
  • Do we care?

In the end, the detention of the population didn’t actually work.  During the investigation phase, it was the two times that the police actually released the public to participate that significant advances were made.  Knowing now, as we do in hindsight, that the liberty of the people, with all its inherent dangers and risks, is actually more conducive to solving a situation like this than removing liberty in the name of security, will that affect our future acquiescence to the same sort of situation?

On the very first day my students took a government class with me, among other thinking questions, I asked them to choose between Security and Liberty — which instinctively was more valuable to them.  The conclusion of the course brought us to the understanding that there is a fine balance between the two in a republic, but that balance is reliant upon citizen awareness and participation.  In the end, how does this event affect that balance, if it does at all?

And that was Wednesday….

SO, to sum up today’s news…

  • Boston Bomber caught on video!
  • Boston Bomber arrested!
  • Ricin sent in letter to the President!
  • Margaret Thatcher’s funeral!
  • Wait! There is NO Boston Bomber yet!
  • But now that everyone’s at the Boston courthouse, Bomb Threat!
  • The Ricin guy is from Mississippi!
  • The murdered Texas District Attorney & and his wife were murdered by the wife of the justice of the peace!
  • The Senate is voting on reasonable gun regulation!
  • The Senate voted DOWN reasonable gun regulation
  • There is no news in Boston – the FBI says so!
  • President Obama is ANGRY in the Rose Garden, and Joe Biden might punch someone
  • The Ricin letter guy might be identified!
  • The President is REALLY RIGHTEOUSLY ANGRY, w/ Gabby Giffords and Newtown parents standing next to him. Uncle Joe may still punch someone.
  • The Ricin Guy is arrested!
  •  Aaaaaaaaand, Texas explodes.
Your Move, Thursday.