Sunday, April 21, 2013

Being Sure

Once released in my citrus "grove," I'm 90 percent sure these bugs will wing it out of my yard to greener pastures. According to the internet, that's what I should expect. And I trust the internet. Thanks to the internet, I fixed my faucet and can boil an egg.

Thanks to the internet, I'm also 90 percent sure the younger brother helped orchestrate the horrific event this past week.

And yet.

I've got an unlikely scenario:

Say you had an older brother or friend; a brother or friend you trusted, and though he could be an asshole to others, he'd never been an asshole to you. What if this older brother said, "We're going to meet Jamie, Jack, and some others at the Boston Marathon, and we're taking a couple of pots of food; I've got the pots packed in rucksacks and you need to carry one."

And then, once you get close to the finish line, and the friends aren't there, the brother says, "These bags are damned heavy and we can't see anything. Drop them here, and let's go get a better view."

And, by the way, your brother says, that baseball cap looks stupid when you turn it backwards. It doesn't even keep the sun out. But you're your own man, and keep the cap slung backwards, exposing your face.

You're standing somewhere down the line, and the bombs go off, and you forget about everything -- that the friends never came, that you carried a backpack.

You're shaken by the event, of course. And tweet "No love here," afterwards. But you're 19, and resilient, and head to a party later that evening. At any age, but especially at a young age, when the horrific happens, one heads for the ordinary, for something familiar.

You join your friends, and the whole internet is ablaze with faces of possible suspects. Is it him? Her? Everyone's guessing. And suddenly, you see your face.

I'm not sure how the rest plays out. Maybe the brother tells him the truth, or says the whole city is gunning for them. Their only chance is to take it on the lam. The kid is 19, and has no family except the brother, and he doesn't want to die.

As I said, it's an unlikely scenario.

If the younger brother was an accomplice in the Boston horror, we'll learn the facts; he's not going anywhere. Until then, I won't let the internet -- my egg-boiling and faucet-fixing resource, nor the panting immediacy of the global media, be judge and jury.


  1. oh and u forgot how the media seemed to post that his mama (or their) shoplifted $1600 in merchandise at Lord and Taylor.. like wth does that have to do w/what they did????
    btw- u once again brightened my day w/ your humor!. :-)

  2. I'm worried about this kid. I don't know if he's guilty or innocent, but I doubt we'll ever know the whole truth.

  3. Yeah, it would be nice to ever know the whole story but once we have caught the "suspect" it's hard to remember that "innocent until" stuff.

  4. He knew what he was doing. He was armed even when the cops caught him in the boat. Though I'm not sure we'll ever know whether that's true or not. The facts change like Chinese whispers when transferred from cop to cop to reporter to reporter. One newspaper, the Daily Mail, makes most of it up, though they have great photos. I'm sad that this intelligent and supposedly likeable young man was likely led into it by his brother, and by radical Muslims. This religion doesn't have leaders that speak out against cruel and random violence and the death of innocent children, but they should, as their Allah, who is also the Christian's benevolent God, must be appalled.

    This is getting too deep. Let's get back to ladybugs. Unless you're providing them with a thriving aphid colony, they'll leave. Mine did. I felt I'd let them down.

  5. The more I stay away from internet news-and-politics sources, the happier I am.

  6. Bellis, I have to respectfully disagree that Muslim leaders don't speak out against violence. I've certainly heard them. One of the more popular booths at the LA Times Festival of books yesterday was "Muslims for Peace." But these people don't get much coverage in our violence-hungry news media.

  7. I've had similar thoughts that the younger brother was somehow duped because no one has a bad word to say about him before this. There may be more telling evidence in his dorm room, etc. It will be interesting to see what he says. I heard a report that he was swearing a lot during the ambulance ride, but that doesn't prove anything in particular.

  8. I'm very disturbed by these politicians who are pointing fingers and speculating about things they can't possibly know anything about.

  9. The mayor of Boston said, "Throw the book at him." Not "If he's guilty, throw the book at him," just throw it, now. Because apparently the court of public opinion has reached a decision. Judge Roy Bean territory.

    Sure the guy looks guilty as all get out. And likely is. But we don't have all the facts and there's been no trial.

  10. @petrea: Of course the media wouldn't show the side of the Muslim folks who are against violence- that would mean that they were logical and not senseless like the media and others who are fearful assume them to be.
    @altedena: yep, they have already got him guilty and hung and he very well may be guilty and is also an accessory but what happened to civility.. I thought the U.S. is suppose to be better at treatment than 3rd world behavior.

  11. Pre-fed??? (on the ladybug package). I guess post-fed would be a little pointless, assuming you could do it. If you haven't already released them, do it at sunset, I think, or they will fly off in a dark-winged cloud.

    Re "God": I knew someone from Syria who said that although it's the same god, the aspects of the god of the desert are very harsh and aspects of the god of the forest ("ours") are much kinder. I think it must be because life in the desert must have been so hard.

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  13. Remember how simple life used to be? We'd have to read the news in the morning paper and wait for the evening news for an update.
    And in between, we worried about our ladybugs.

  14. I have to say I have felt guilty over feeling so sad about this younger brother.

  15. Thanks, Karin. You went in an independent direction and I appreciate that. I also was refreshed by the honesty of the comments shared; those with which I agreed and those with which I disagreed.

    Bellis, where I grew up we referred to the process you talk about as the game "Telephone". You start with one story and by the time you get to the last person who has whispered a statement, you almost always have nothing reflecting the original statement.

    We're taught to think in a binomial way. Choices that are clearly this or that. The reality for most of us much more complex. We can feel sorry for the brother and despise the actions of those whose actions are based on hate. To feel compassion, doesn't mean you don't value justice.

    To follow Bellis' lead, back to ladybugs. If you water the plants, right before you release the ladybugs at dusk, they will stay overnight and wake up hungry. Then, I think one of them very shouts, "Ladybugs, all 'round". There is grand carousing and then a couple of weeks later the next generation arrives.

  16. Well said. I haven't been following this event very closely because I don't do bad news well. That said, it's impossible to avoid and I'm amazed at how quickly people rush to conclusions without knowing all the facts.

    I love ladybugs and usually have a wonderful meal of aphids on my plants for them. They never seem to want to stay and partake of the feast though. Go figure.

  17. The kid put out some interesting tweets April 15th. Yup, I became one of his followers and even got the morgue shot of the brother.

    "Ain't no love in the heart of the city, stay safe people"

    "@MelloChamp and they what "god hates dead people?" Or victims of tragedies? Lol those people are cooked"

    .....and this little nugget of strangeness

    "There are people that know the truth but stay silent & there are people that speak the truth but we don't hear them cuz they're the minority"

    I've done the lady bug thing twice - they flew away home. Something about a house being on fire and children left alone.

  18. I stay away from internet coverage, and only read what's in the Wall Street Journal the next day. I feel that's the only way I have any chance of getting past the hype to learn what's going on. But I still don't have any feeling that the younger brother had a lot to do with this.

    I've read that Thomas Jefferson once read the Koran and had nothing good to say about it. I really need to find his writings on that at some point.

    And in the meantime, let's hope at least a few of your ladybugs will come back, even if they all leave.

  19. Re: ladybugs. I think I screwed up; film at 11. I may need another thousand. Only Buster and Jessica have chosen to stay.

  20. Yeah, the rush to judgment and psychoanalyzing authoritatively before "They" have heard a word from the kid. Wake me when somebody actually KNOWS something. Will that ever happen?

    I've tried to stay merely amused at the TV press's interest in the kid's parents' proclaiming his innocence--he was set up. Yeah, we can count on a parent to be objective, detached, truth-seeking, whatever the truth may be . . .

  21. I enjoyed reading your "what if" and all the comments. It's good to know there are people who realise the world isn't black and white. I followed the Boston bombing marginally though the blanket coverage was hard to miss even here in Oz. These days, my news channel of choice is Al Jazeera. They seem to be the only one that actually covers global news and doesn't get sucked into 24/7 coverage of one item.

  22. You gave the ladybugs names?!!?? PA made brings back memories of what we sing in England. In Germany they sing Fly bug fly, your father's in the war, your mother is in Pommerland, Pommerland has burnt down, fly bug, fly. I think it was about the 30 year war. Do children in Norway sing anything similar?

  23. Wasn't it Thomas Jefferson who rewrote the Bible to suit his opinions? Sort of a cut and paste job, as I recall. At least he was a free thinker.

  24. This has been a great discussion. I received a couple of emails and to those I'd like to say, judgment is not a bad thing. We humans look for patterns, that's one of the reasons we've survived. It's the rush to judgment I take issue with. The availability of information -- true, false, and merely speculation -- can facilitate a hasty conclusion.

    Bellis, I don't know about Norway, but here we said:
    Ladybug, ladybug
    fly away home
    Your house is on fire
    and your children are alone.

    I liked yours, though.

  25. I was appalled by KPCC's reporting when the brothers were still being chased. They kept neglecting to refer to them as suspects, as if they'd already been convicted of the crime... just one little example.

    Even reputable news sources get leads from the internet these days. It's getting harder and harder to distinguish between truth and hearsay.

    I'll admit my heart ached for the young brother imagining the terror he felt hiding in that boat.

    Great post, Karin. Appreciate all these thoughtful comments.

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  27. Let's talk about martial law and other nefarious goings on by our gubmint, like, you know not reading someone their rights. I'm incensed by this. Someone will defend their right to have guns but not their right to a fair trial? Don't get me started...

    As for the ladybugs, just think of them as an outreach program for your entire neighborhood. And I had no idea you could buy a bag o'lady bugs. Amazing.

  28. Bedside Federal Court Proceedings for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

    "Maddow marveled at the proceedings, remarking “that’s the way we do it in this country. Even if justice has to travel to you in your hospital bed… the judge will come to you and the prosecutor, and you will get read your rights and be assigned a defense attorney if you cannot afford one, and you will be tried in court, in civilian court. You are nothing special.”"

  29. On the video included in Paula's link, Maddow reads a portion of the transcript from the hearing.

  30. check your internet sources for "keeping ladybugs in my yard after release". Who knows, might yield interesting info. Then again, maybe not. My mother used to buy them and praying mantis all the time...rarely ever stuck around or they would get offed by the cat before they did their "good stuff".

    I have been at various events since this whole mishegoss started. I always find it fascinating how much people "know" as fact, merely by watching TV or reading off the internet. Assuming we were ever told all the truth, even with all those "facts", people like CNN get it wrong (cough, cough).

    I'm not sure what to think, but I've spent a lot of time walking around asking "How the fuck do YOU know 'the truth' about all this? Why don't we wait for the folks in charge to decide?". What we hear may not be all the truth, but it will be what we get.

    And Bellis---there is a poster out in various places

    ---most Muslims view "Islamic terrorists" the way most christians view the Westboro Baptist "church"---
    And some Muslims *are* speaking out against the terrorists actions, not that they should have to, any more than any priest or pastor should have to explain WBC protesting the funeral of Krystal Campbell today.

    A good example of one would be Dr Maher Hathout in the LATimes:

    I know him personally. I trust him, have trusted him for more than 30 years.

    Extremists in any cult or following are dangerous, no matter which idol they are following. Many of the cults prey on young people who want power without earning it, and give them "the answers", pump them up, feed their fears to anger them up to get the job done. I don't know what happened with these boys. I don't know we ever will know exactly, but we need to work on empowering our youth so that whatever groups that are out there, don't send them in to jobs like this again.

  31. Terrible tragedy at the Boston Marathon. Very sad news.
    Karin, you are a very good journalist and written very well.

  32. I forgot to say that I liked your theoretical narrative. Very clever AND worthwhile.

  33. I have a son in Boston. While I was concerned about him, watching coverage of the manhunt, I couldn't help but think that the suspects were someone's sons, too.

  34. I was thinking, when something horrific happens, it kind of helps if those behind the horror look horrifying. Look more like the uni-bomber, and less like the neighbor's kid.

  35. Giving the benefit of doubt to the younger brother, that he was duped into leaving the backpack at the finish line without knowing it was a bomb, it doesn't justify his actions afterwards. He's an adult. At some point he knew what he'd done. Instead of distancing himself from his brother, together they shot and killed a police officer, carjacked a Mercedes, committed a robbery of a 7-11, got into a shoot out with the police, tried to run over officers and instead ran over and probably caused the fatal injuries to his brothers, hid out for about 18 hours and shot at the police again before finally being apprehended. Granted, these are "alleged" crimes, but the evidence that is known to all is pretty compelling. No doubt there are the conspiracy theorists who will say it was all a set up by the police or the FBI. These are the same people who believe that 9-11 was a hoax created by the Bush administration. I'm not buying any of it. There is plenty of information in the public domain to cause any reasonable person to conclude that this adult is responsible for his actions which included participating in the deaths of 4 people with several more still in critical condition.

    He will have his day in court. That's our system of justice. Something he and his brother couldn't comprehend.

    As for your lady bugs, I hope they find their way back to your yard.

  36. Dan: I actually saw a blog last night where they guy used "photographic evidence" to try to show that the authorities actually and deliberately are ignoring proof of who the real bombers were, and arguing that these two brothers were patsies who were set up. Tried to show that the backpack that exploded was carried by someone else, not the brothers. Absurd, I know. Crazy, and how quickly these nuts roll into action.

  37. When I said that Islam doesn't have leaders that speak out, I was referring to the lack of a central hierarchy like the Pope and Cardinals, or Archbishops and Bishops. I've read that Imams can place their individual interpretation on the meaning of the words in the Koran. Some have used one small part of it to justify fighting and killing others - even fellow Muslims (Shias vs Sunnis). It's sad that this basically peaceful religion is now so violent, and that no Islamic leaders have stepped forward to correct the Imams that preach hatred and revenge.

  38. Yes, DB. But my point was that, in the wake of chaos and tragedy, we should favor a measured public response, as opposed to a public or virtually public lynching.

    As if a tragedy weren't bad enough, the global media whips people into an emotional frenzy. Because that's their job; it pays the bills.

    And I do have a ladybug story as a matter of fact...

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