September 04th, 2013
In the first of a two-part series, Jad and Kevin discuss the many ways in which terrorism like that of the Boston Marathon Bombings could prevail if only people were really inclined to kill indiscriminately.
In other words, there’s an almost unlimited source of crowds to be found across the United States and yet they manage to go on without being killed. Why is that?
Tragically the marathon was an anomaly and our hearts go out to the victims, but we consider how the state frequently uses these moments to promote wars abroad and trample civil liberties domestically.
Speaker 1: Does the NSA collect any type of data at
all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?
Speaker 2: No, sir.
Jad: Hello, and welcome to the JK podcast,
an anti-authoritarian philosophical endeavor recorded in Austin, Texas. We draw
our topics from the entire scope of the human experience with central connecting themes
focused on the grand ideas of liberty, humanity, and equality.
Kevin: The JK Podcast is hosted by Jad Davis and Kevin
Ludlow. Welcome back to another episode. In the first of a two-part series,
Jad and I discuss the many ways in which terrorism – like that of the Boston Marathon
bombings – could prevail if only people were really inclined to kill
indiscriminately. In other words, there’s an almost unlimited source of
crowds to be found across the United States and yet, they manage to go on without being
killed – why is that? Tragically, the marathon was an anomaly and our
hearts go out to the victims, but we consider how the state frequently uses these
moments to promote wars abroad, and trample civil liberties domestically.
So the more obvious one to the world right now, I don’t really know exactly what to
say about it but I’m sure there’s some thoughts that we could say.
Jad: Well, I’ve got some if you wanna
Kevin: Well, sure. It’s a sad affair, not particularly
out of the ordinary for me I don’t think – I think about these things all the
time. Actually – completely tangent to this – but I’ve had this
idea for a while, almost like this art project, and it’s like totally in my head
and I just need to do it – oddly enough, speaking about poetry and stuff.
I’ve got like this poem that I’ve been working on in my head and it’s
basically about terrorism and the way I envision my trying to create it is kind of like
a Dr. Seuss book almost where it’s like really colorful and the words are kinda
like a little zany and what have you, but it just kinda tells the story of how
ridiculous the notion of – probably wouldn’t necessarily name them –
but basically like making fun of the TSA and things like that, the idea that people
think they can be kept safe and the whole thing is just kind of like this long Dr.
Seuss-esque poem about how a terrorist could easily kill people. Now I
don’t think that I would’ve included a marathon in there, but voila.
I mean, that’s an easy enough one.
Anyway, just kind of the point about how stupid it is when you go to the airport and
what have you and every time if the guy indulges me – if he’ll ask me the
question I won’t every present it to him – but he’s like, “why
are you doing this, why are you opting out? Why do you have to go through this
whole mess”, and eventually you know, I get the opportunity to tell him.
I’m like, “well this is just fucking retarded, you know?
Wouldn’t you agree?” I mean, even if you did destroy a plane, what
are you really going to accomplish? Mainly 200 people are gonna die – they
fixed the problem; it’s a reinforced steel door. You’re not getting
in the cockpit, you’re not gonna take it over anymore – that’s
done. So a couple hundred people die, I mean you could walk into a fucking
elementary school pep rally and bam, 2,000 kids gone in an instant and nobody could
stop you from doing that so it’s just kind of like this really horrific way to
look at it, but it’s true. So tangentling[Sp?] back from this little idea
that I had, that’s the way I kinda see the Boston thing is just that it’s
you know, people are real surprised by it.
It is obviously sad and tragic and I wish that it didn’t happen, but I
don’t think it’s any more sad or any more tragic than any of the other
deaths that have been getting – or have been happening around the clock,
certainly things that the United States has been a willing participant in and in many
cases just the curator of so the fact that only three people died and another hundred
were hurt I think is pretty small compared to some of the shit that we do on a daily
basis – not a popular view right now admittedly, but I think it’s true
Jad: Yeah, it is interesting – at a meta
level, it’s interesting. That argument sounds so profoundly insensitive or
empathetic or whatever. I don’t know if – this is one of those things
like I’ll talk to you about this, I’ll talk to Elisa about this, but this
is the kinda thing I’m just not going into that mine field, right?
Jad: You know, you give it a few days you
know, then when people are slightly more receptive to thinking about it then you know
– it is interesting how conversations are completely shut down. Like you
can’t make any other point about it other than to say it’s sad –
which is an entirely legitimate point to make about it because it’s awful, but it
can’t be the basis of any other discussion. With the one exception
possibly, that it could be the basis for discussion about going to war with somebody if
it turns out that it’s you know, a brown person that did it or whatever.
Jad: Or it could be a discussion about
arresting domestic terrorists if it turns out it’s a domestic guy.
Jad: Other than that, other than like we
should increase state power based on this, there can’t be a discussion about the
role of violence in politics because I mean – as you were pointing out, just to
paraphrase what you were saying – it’s like a person who indiscriminately
blows up 100 people and kills two, or five, or kills anybody is a monster and a
lunatic, which means the president of the United States is a monster and a
lunatic. I mean it’s just – it’s that simple, right?
Jad: It’s the worst most awful thing
you can do to just go murder strangers indiscriminately. I mean, it’s
monstrous. It’s the most depraved thing that you can do and our entire
government is organized to do that to millions of people all around the world all the
Jad: So that should be a case closed you
know, or should we support this thing – no, I don’t think – again,
you can’t make that argument for some reason and I’m not saying –
it’s almost like a self-preserving feeling that you can’t think about death
and you can’t think about political violence when death and political violence
are happening in a way that moves people right, because you can have a conversation
like that a month ago right, but at the point in time when people are really
experiencing the emotions that they should be able to translate to other people who are
you know, hidden to them, that’s the time when it’s inappropriate to talk
about it. I think it’s just an interesting awful coincidence.
Kevin: No I mean, it’s you know, our very first show that we
did for our podcast here was a reflection of the 11th anniversary of
September 11th and even in the episode, I mean you open up reading that
little paper I wrote about it, that’s the exact thing – you know, in ten
paragraphs – that was what I was talking about. It’s the exact same
thing on why I hate that event so much because there’s just so many – I
mean, that was a way more atrocious act than this thing the other day I mean, penny for
penny anyway. The fact is is that it’s not getting any better at exploring
what you just said, like the flip side of it. We’re not getting any better
– from what I can tell – of talking about where our responsibility lies in
this whole mess and what the country, what we’re paying to do, what we’re
voting for people to do around the world on a regular basis, it hasn’t changed a
bit as far as I can tell.
If anything, it’s just gotten a little bit, I don’t know, a little bit easier
to get away with stuff like that. I mean shit, there’s all the stuff just
with Guantanamo in the last couple of days, you know? These guys have been on
this 40 day hunger strike or whatever, I mean shit like that you know, that shit
hasn’t changed at all. I mean, that’s just policy that the
country’s just okay with and your average person is like, “uh”.
It’s just happened for so long I mean what’s the difference now? I
mean, these guys have been there 11 years and it’s like yeah, they’ve been
there 11 fucking years – which is fine if they were actually being tried with
something and they give them a trial and all that shit – but we’ve just
ignored all senses of reality when it comes to that and then when we have this sort of
tragic event happen to unfold in the United States, it’s just – I was
pissed the other day and I kept myself reasonably quiet but this is bullshit.
There’s just hundreds of people – just in my little world, just on Facebook
and all that sort of shit, all of a sudden for like a day, they just have this
emotional outpouring towards Boston and yada, yada, yada, and sure I sympathize with
their position on it, I truly do, it’s just so frustrating that for whatever
reason, their conditions, or they’re force fed, just the information, just that
one negative information about something that kind of pertains to them but not really,
just for a day and they seem to care about it and then the next day it’s pretty
much gone anyway.
But nevermind the fact that – I mean I was referring to people just on the
fucking southern border of Texas right now I mean, there’s goddamn who knows how
many dozens of kids dying every single fucking day from the violence that we’re
helping to perpetuate through the drug trade and et cetera, and all that sort of
stuff. So I mean, I’m kinda lost in a few tangents here, but it’s a
mess, man – it’s sad. The larger tragedy to me is the fact that we
just can’t quite seem to figure out what the discussion is actually about and
make it just this very acute focus on a tragic event that occurs because we think it
affects us, meanwhile ignoring all of the other travesties that we’re actively
benefiting from and encouraging the government to partake in by virtue of not saying
Jad: Right. On the flipside, or to
make the – I’m not saying this devil’s advocate argument because
I’ve kinda been fairly convinced by it – but were you in Austin for the run
up[?] to the Iraq war?
Jad: So did you happen to go downtown to
the capitol for that? I mean I wasn’t there, I was just gonna –
Kevin: I went to a few of them and I was actually – right
when it happened actually was when I was moving to New Zealand and I moved there in
like July or so, so we actually went to war in December, but so for the months before
that was happening, I was – I went to a few of those rallies.
Jad: Well so my point was I mean, in a week
or so I think up to the evening of the conflict – I think, I have to look up the
numbers on this – but I think it was like the largest gathering of people ever
anywhere or at any time I guess because it was global. But it was like you know,
30 million or something, I don’t really know the numbers, but it was a tremendous
number of people. I think it was like ten or fifteen thousand in Austin and it
was all the way from congress, all the way to the river.
Kevin: Oh, wow.
Jad: It was just packed with people –
and again, I wasn’t there – and everywhere was like that. I mean,
London was like that, Berlin was like that, Rome was like that, every city in the
United States was like that, it was just packed with people who were saying,
“don’t go, don’t do this, this is not a fight we wanna fight, this is
not a fight we believe in”, and it doesn’t make a difference. I think
the trick is that it’s kind of like that learned helplessness thing, right?
You are allowed to express yourself about Boston and everything you express is going to
be embraced by everything; by the media, by your friends, by everybody. But
– well, I guess the thing is – I don’t know about the making a difference
part – but like you said, the part that you’re actually actively having
your resources drained to support; you have no power to stop that.
Jad: It’s what you’re led to
believe and the reason you’re led to believe it is because your options are to
vote for one of these two parties and both of the parties are for continuing all those
efforts. So if you think that your only option is to engage in the existing
two-party political process, then it’s kind of more comforting just to be like,
“I’m just not gonna think about that shit”, because you know it
doesn’t make a difference. If you’re the most dedicated anti-war [?],
there’s still people still fighting it, but they know more than anybody else that
it makes zero difference.
Kevin: I’ve got some pseudo mixed thoughts on that one.
I mean, I agree with you right because I see the evidence of it, but then there’s
also I kinda have like this – it’s almost kinda like the Facebook thing a
little bit to me where you know, I see people – some tragic event occurs, right
– and you see people instantly, I mean just tons, and tons, and tons of people
getting together and organizing these little things but what are they really
organizing? I mean, they’re just sending messages back and forth and
ultimately, you’re not doing shit is the reality of it but they think
they’re doing something. So do you think that perhaps one of the
possibilities with the rally – and I wasn’t actually there for that rally,
I was out of the country at that time so definitely not that big one – but when
it was leading up to that, do you think that perhaps part of the things is is that the
people who are there, the bulk of the people who are there aren’t actually the
people who are gonna be political activists, they’re just people who you know,
they’re participating in that emotional outburst for one day and perhaps missing
the larger point that I believe very firmly that if you have these groups out there for
– if you have 15,000 people who were out at the capitol and refused to leave, I
don’t really know what would happen with that. I think you’d have a
much different outcome than this whole people following this controlled structure and
saying you know, 15,000 people show up but you have to be right here, you have to do
this and I’m not saying that they should get violent or anything, but this whole
notion of like following the protest rules and all that sort of bullshit to really
protest something as significant as invading a country, to me that’s not –
you’re just kind of sheep for the slaughter there. You’re not really
part of the revolution that I think actually could bring about change.
And so I guess what I’m getting at is I actually do think that given the right
set of circumstances, you really could bring about some change with those massive
organizations or groupings, I just don’t think that they’re structured in
such a way to have any sort of effect. I think they’re structured in a way
where they get this huge showing [?] in one [?] swoop, and then 98% of the people are
never gonna lift a finger about it again.
Jad: That’s a good point. I
mean, I guess that’s probably the case but I mean what would they have
done? So your idea is let’s just say that they’re like –
we’re just going to occupy the capitol building until the war is canceled or
Jad: I mean, that’s kind of what
occupy Wall Street was doing and occupy various places.
Jad: It just kind of got weighted out,
Kevin: Right and I had a great deal of respect for that whole
Jad: Yeah, sure.
Kevin: I mean, I was blown away how long they actually lasted and I
think we did an episode on it a few weeks ago or a couple months ago where I was
specifically saying that I was really disappointed that not more people who are
sensible right-leaning people if you will, stood up in their support after they saw
what was happening right, because – and I think I even make the quote almost
exactly to say you know, even if you would disagreed with their financial message that
they were getting at, you still should have the principal stance to stand up for their
right to protest right, and when they’re getting beaten senselessly and
incarcerated for no reason whatsoever, it was obvious as all day, I was really
frustrated that you didn’t have larger groups from the right standing up and
speaking out against that.
But in this case, I don’t really know exactly what they would purpose of doing
that would be other than I guess what I was kinda relating it to with the whole Boston
thing is it just frustrates me because for one day, maybe two days, you’ll have
all these people who just make this huge emotional outburst, but I mean already today,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, nobody’s going to continue that conversation.
Maybe the day of, you’d have some of these people say, “Well who would do
such a thing?” What you need is for a week later for that same person to
say, “Well, who wouldn’t do such a thing?” Why would somebody
do that, you know? And that’s what frustrates me is that that discussion
will never take place in any mass quantity, or it doesn’t seem to take place in
any mass quantity and I think that’s why it frustrates me, the discussion’s
never really moving forward.
You know it’s – I don’t know, shit – it’s like the school
shootings a couple months ago. For a day, a couple of days, like all these people
on one side of the coin just balls to the wall about how you gotta outlaw guns, and on,
and on, and on. Now I disagree with them, but that’s fine, I understand
where they’re coming from. But those people you know, they’re not
three, four, five days later, two weeks later, they’re certainly not out on the
streets then with that same agenda. So I think if you want to make change in the
world, you don’t get to – you can’t ride on the convenience of just
stating your cause whenever the shit hits the fan whenever there’s actually a
problem. You need to be able to keep that same point of view when it’s not
problematic to you, and I certainly think that’s what you and I and many people
similar to us, they tend to do looking at the dangers of the government getting too
much power, right?
There’s times where we will probably go after seemingly innocuous sorts of
bills and what have you because the whole thing’s just a slippery slope, you just
know where it’s actually headed to. Give the government an inch,
they’re gonna take a mile and historically forever they do. But I guess on
the flipside of this, I ‘m just saying that I feel like people get really, really
involved in it for a very short period of time, and then it just completely disappears
and I think that that’s ironically, perhaps it’s kinda like the bag banning
thing, in my opinion. You haven’t really changed anybody’s mind,
right? You’ve just kind of forced people to do something because you said
so. So one day you tell everybody, “hey, this is what we’re doing,
fucking come and help us out”, and they’re like, “alright, I’ll
do it”, and they all come out in great numbers, and everybody’s real
excited, and then it’s a big party and they’re like, “yeah,
yeah”, you know, like the whole deal.
But there’s never that conversation, why do we not want the plastic bags in
the first place? Are you trying to tell me that I just need to be more
environmentally sensitive because if that’s what you’re telling me, I can
do that. I wanna be a more environmentally sensitive person. I guess I feel
like couple days later, those people, they’re no longer interested in whatever
that rally was about, they just, they were there, they did it, they took their picture,
it’s on Facebook, you’re done, you did your part, but you didn’t do
your part because doing your part means you have to do it until the job is done
which again, to the occupy thing, kudos to them because I was impressed with how much
time they put into it.
Jad: Well it is an example, I mean I think
this is – I hear what you’re saying, I think it’s a – I
understand its sentiment, but you’re basically asking for eternal vigilance from
people who have shit to do, right?
Kevin: That’s correct.
Jad: And if I’m gonna guard against
the plastic bags and I’m gonna – or go into guard against the infringement
of my right to have plastic bags, I could spend – I could’ve quit my job
and go full time fighting that one single thing, well meanwhile you know, [?] is gonna
be passed and Homeland Security’s gonna triple in size and like that’s not
Jad: There’s no way you can ask [?]
to require everyone to be unemployed and even then, you could probably deal with like
1/50th of the awfulness to even stem the tide of various branches. I
mean, it’s a whole on you know, city level all the way up, or actually homeowner
or organization all the way up to federal level assault on every branch of human
agency. Look at the pinnacle, you say like Occupy Wall Street where you had tons
of people who had a lot of resources and were able to take a lot of time, and work in
shifts, and organize, while the very best you could – and they had a list of
things they were concerned about, even that, they just have to wait it out,
There’s nothing they can do, it’s like you said, even that expression as
long lasted and as persistent as it was has zero real effect. It’s just a
draining of people’s resources – psychic resources to resist in a
sense. Like you said, I’d completely support anyone who does anything like
that, but I mean you’re talking about like a Cindy Sheehan or something right,
who’s you know, those people are 1/100,000 maybe – it can’t be based
on that, that’s just not going to happen, it has to be something else.
Kevin: Well yeah, I mean I’ll be the first to admit that
there’s a bit of idealism in there, but I guess what I’m really chalking it
back to more is just kind of like it’s a mental thing, it’s an educational
sort of thing, and I guess to some extent it kind of goes to the grounds of why you
feel it’s important to have that conversation , speaking about the bags just
taking it to that more extreme level because I think people just aren’t
conditioned to think that way. And so you know, you’re right, are you
actually gonna find – is it reasonable to think that you can find 15,000 people
in the city of Austin who are just gonna sit at the capitol until they – what are
they gonna do, they’re just – take shifts going to the bathroom, or
they’re not gonna eat anymore, they’re gonna forego their mortgages, not
take the kids to school right, I mean there’s just these practical things that it
can’t occur, right? Somehow or another, you’ve gotta shift that
mentality but you have to remain vigilant and maybe vigilant doesn’t mean that
you’re necessarily out protesting this every single day, or sleeping out at the
capitol lawn or whatever the case may be, but I think that there’s a certain
level of daily vigilance that’s required in order to combat this foe that
we’re referring to, which is kind of this [?] governmental state agency thing,
which is making these really, really horrible decisions to our very earlier point, not
with our consent in the least, and I think that’s shown time and again now with
most of the polls that we’re even seeing with respect to the wars and you know,
taxation, and et cetera.
I mean, it’s just going so above and beyond, I guess the bulletpoint to the
whole thing now is just what we’re always talking about, I just feel that if you
can’t get people on board, or commence people, or teach people to get on that
side of the more philosophical critical thinking when it comes to why are we here, what
is it that we’re trying to do, I mean if you have enough people, I really do feel
that you can accomplish certain things and even if maybe there’s a lot of
counterpoints against me you know, maybe I’m just too hopeful in that, but I do
feel that you actually can make some sort of progressive change with enough
people. But now people who just want to participate in it because they can say,
“ra, ra, I did my share, I’m done.” You know it’s I don’t
know, I guess it’s – to me, it’s like the guy who gives five bucks to
the starving kid fund in Africa and then feels really passionate about the fact that he
helped cure world hunger, you know? I’m like, “well, you did more
than some people did perhaps, but that’s not really gonna fix the problem, you
realize that right? There’s a bigger beast here.”
So I see your point entirely and I don’t know how to exactly respond to saying how
do you overcome that because obviously that’s – if we knew how to do that
we would’ve already toppled the government and we’d be on to something
different, but we don’t know how to do that completely.
Kevin: So I guess I’m just feeling very impassionate about
the fact that that’s – I feel that that’s where one of the chinks in
the armor sits right now is just with people not really being engaged in what the
problem is and instead, just having it as like a whatever the cute event is, whatever
that – it’s just a blip on their radar. “Oh, we’re gonna
go out and protest the war today.” “Great, I’m in because
I’m against the war. 364 days of the year I haven’t even thought
about the war. Today, I’m against it.” “Domestic
terrorism, we should probably talk about this. There’s probably things that
we need to consider without giving up all the rights to the country. Today,
fucking Boston is – man, I’m with you man. I’m all over that
shit. Three days from now, I don’t even really know what that’s
about.” You know that’s – I guess that’s the mentality
that I’m kinda sarcastically barking at right now.
Jad: And yet, eleven years after 9/11 when
everyone is remembering, you’re upset by that too.
Kevin: [laughter] Well, you got me on that one. Oh, I knew my
writing would be called out, I just needed it.
Jad: And that’s where we leave it for
this episode. Thanks to Lee Caffey and Chris Batton[Sp?] for providing us with
quality sound engineering and editing – we wouldn’t get far without them.
Hosting services are provided by City Core, LLC. Our graphical caricature was
provided by our friend, Sayeed Mod Badril Hisham[Sp?] in Malaysia, and transcription
services are provided by Deidra Alexander of Galaxy Creative Media. If you have
any questions, comments, ideas for a show, or just wanna say hello, we love receiving
email. You can find Jad at www.Jad-Davis.com, and you can find Kevin at www.KevinLudlow.com. Thanks again for tuning
in, and we’ll be back with another episode soon.