Joho the Blog » Why we stayed inside

Why we stayed inside

Dave Winer addresses a perception I hadn’t realized was common: Boston stayed inside a week ago Friday because we were afraid to go outside. Nope.

I’ll speak for myself, but I actually have good reason to think that I’m talking for many others. I stayed inside because the mayor and governor told me that they needed the streets clear in order to catch the child-murdering bastards who attacked my city. The bombers were being cornered, and on that Friday there was nothing I desired more than they face justice. I never felt in danger, and I am not a brave person.

My evidence that I’m speaking for more than just myself: In the many conversations with people afterwards, not one of them mentioned being afraid, or it being a scary day, although many (including me) talked about it being a very weird day. Our only fear was that they might get away. (It was undoubtedly very different for people in Watertown. Here in Brookline/Brighton I didn’t see any police or hear sirens or gunshots.)

Dave nicely ties it back to a talk he had given the day before to the Boston Globe:

People feel a need to be part of the world they live in. Most of us feel like we’re on the sidelines, spectators, consumers, eyeballs, credit card numbers, and that’s not what we want. We want meaning. We want to make a contribution. We want do do good and have that good make a difference. If you look at what people actually do, not the stories you read in the paper or hear on CNN, this is obvious. The bombings not only worried people, for a short time when the scope of the danger was unknown, but people also saw the opportunity to get some of the precious stuff, meaning and relevance.

Yup. Our participation that day was minimal — stay at home! — but it was what we could do, and it would only work if we all did it together. It was a moment of civic focus and solidarity that palpably transformed the city for one day. Fear had nothing to do with it.

7 Responses to “Why we stayed inside”

  1. I went out for a walk in Newton that day, over 5 miles away from the crime scene. I expected that at least 10% of the population would ignore the “lock down” but the streets were empty. I thought at least people would be outside in their yards–it was the best weather so far this year.

    It was very strange. I was all alone. I went back inside.

  2. Good comment, Joho, and I believe Dave Winer is spot on. However, far too many of my neighbors here in the deep South are dedicated Red Staters and military hawks. My own education, work, and views are informed by the liberal arts, and I began reading you and Doc and sometimes Winer thanks to my engineer husband’s longtime interest in your blogs. It strikes me as ironic that I often find you three techies striking the most balanced, humane views of politics and current events that I find anywhere. Thanks for being so sane and humane.

  3. [...] event.  Boston citizens, for the most part, were NOT “cowering in fear” at all while asked to be inside. Some TV and online media outlets were saying otherwise [...]

  4. Here in JP, I sent an email invite to about 30 families for a pick up baseball game in a local, somewhat secluded park. My feeling that KIDS NEED TO PLAY was far stronger than the level of risk I felt. I discussed with my 8 and 11 year old the considerations of disobeying the police and politicians’ request to “shelter in place.” One other mom showed up, with her 3 kids and 2 other kids. We had a great day of baseball, basketball, and kite flying. I took a bit of gruff from a few parents, but still felt I had made a good choice for my kids. Even though every time a helicopter went over, we thought we might get busted, and chased home. Made us appreciate the level of relative safety we enjoy daily, and made us feel for those around the world who do not. Good discussions with the kids that evening.

  5. Submissive Obedient Syndrome is evenly distributed
    among abused populations. As is Stockholm Syndrome.

    3:50 in “Fear Management”

  6. Submissive Obedient Syndrome is evenly distributed
    among abused populations. As is Stockholm Syndrome.

    3:50 in “Fear Management”

    http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/91112

  7. […] event.  Boston citizens, for the most part, were NOT “cowering in fear” at all while asked to be inside. Some TV and online media outlets were saying otherwise […]

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