A perspective on the Second Boston Massacre
By Nancy Salvato
web posted April 22, 2013
When I was in high school, back in the late 70's, I had a history teacher who told the class that we would experience acts of terror on American soil during our lifetime. To my teenage mind, that was a devastating and scary idea to imagine – and it was an idea that I never let go. As a child, I had watched the coverage of the 1972 Munich Olympics terrorist attacks, oddly glued to the news even though I was only ten years of age. Not until that teacher brought the reality of terrorism closer to home, did I ever feel frightened of such an event taking place here, though I was appalled that it could happen anywhere.
The hostage crisis in Iran was another event that took place during my teenage years and I recall the timeline...each day of the crisis logged by the newscasters, lasting 444 days. It was part of the nightly news report, as had been Vietnam during my primary school years. Something about all these events stood out in my mind, it was the realization that a certain type of people can commit acts of violence against innocent people and that discussion would not dissuade these fanatics from killing their captives. Reason would not work in such circumstances.
After 9/11, I was frightened of the attack that took place on our soil and it awakened in me a curiosity to not only understand the motivations behind acts of terror but to understand why people in this country could say we brought this latest act of violence upon ourselves, that we could appease our would-be tormenters and prevent future acts of terror by better understanding their culture, by somehow changing our culture; our ideals to accommodate them. This was news to me, since during those formative years I had already figured out that there was no reasoning in these types of situations. Still, I read, I studied, I tried to make sense of the issues and the reasons for the positions people were taking.
I learned about the 1993 World Trade Center (first run) bombing attempt during the Clinton administration. I learned about the declarations of war (fatwas) made on our country by Osama bin Laden. I learned about dry runs on airplanes; about all the mosques in the United States which hide perpetrators and could become bases for an attack within our country; about the indifference of the Muslim population toward the extremists who commit acts of violence toward American citizens; about how women in these backwards Fundamentalist Islamic states – are stoned to death, inferior in the eyes of the law, possessions of men; about EMPs and how they could bring our economy to a halt, setting us back to the Stone Age.
I became uniquely aware of how lucky I have been to grow up in this country where I took freedom and wealth for granted. From studying the Founders and Framers, I realize how fragile our freedom is and how it can be lost because of an uneducated citizenry, because of politicians who vote themselves their own salaries and special interests which tip the precious balance of power, which our bicameral government with three equal branches of government was designed to prevent.
I'm wondering, will the people and those who represent us in our Constitutional Republic recognize that we are incrementally removing our freedoms from within, whether it be under the guise of airport security, licensure to practice a profession, a Progressive tax system, elimination of juries of our peers, referring to precedent established in our court system instead of our Fundamental Law, changing the meaning of words (for example, referring to our country as a democracy or calling ourselves world citizens), suggesting that our children belong to everyone, and the list goes on...?
I used to think it was a matter of educating people appropriately. Then I realized how broken our education system really is. In a Machiavellian world order, we could all perpetrate violence to get our way. None of us would ever feel secure and civilization will decline. In a Hobbesian world order, we can agree that each of us should have the maximum amount of freedom and that one person's freedom ends when it impinges on another person. It may not always feel perfect but then again, the Founders said, "...in a more perfect union." In this world of ours, I can't imagine living anywhere else, but what will we do when we wake up and realize we've lost what we had?
There was a long chain of abuses which united the colonists in a Declaration of Independence from England. However, the loss of lives at the first Boston Massacre is what motivated the common people to actually offer up armed resistance. Perhaps in the aftermath of this second Boston Massacre the common people will unite to protest undue tolerance in our country of an ideological movement which professes violence in the name of religion. Maybe, they will wake up and vote their dissatisfaction with politicians of all colors and parties who have allowed our system of justice to treat citizenry unequally before the law, or demand of our leaders to place the sovereignty of our country first.
I cry for the people who are suffering or lost their lives due to this act of terrorism, just as I cry for those victims of the Twin Towers and those who must endure daily violence against personal freedom in less civilized parts of the world. This country, the United States of America, is the shining city on the hill, despite our imperfections. This is because of our freedoms and unique form of limited government, which unites us as a people based on our fidelity to the US Constitution. I hope that this second Boston Massacre makes us take a second look at why we fought a Revolution and that we can unite over these principles once again.
Nancy Salvato is the Director of Education and the Constitutional Literacy Program for Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan 501 (C) (3) research and educational project whose mission is to re-introduce the American public to the basic elements of our constitutional heritage while providing non-partisan, fact-based information on relevant socio-political issues important to our country. She also serves as a Senior Editor for The New Media Journal. Copyright ©2013 Nancy Salvato