We usually stick to Wesleyan-centric news, but it’s hard not to be alternately captivated and terrified by the news coming out of the Boston region right now, in Watertown, on MIT’s campus, and within miles of Tufts. Several hours ago, MIT posted an alert about an active shooter on campus and later reported that a campus police officer was shot and killed. Meanwhile, in nearby Watertown, there have been “reports of violence and an extremely heavy police presence,” according to NBC. Witnesses have been reporting gunfire, loud booms, and a police chase. You can listen to the Boston Police Scanner here, though it remains entirely unclear if the situation in Watertown is related to the shooting at MIT or, as some have speculated, the Boston Marathon bombings:
BREAKING: One #Boston Marathon suspect is in custody and the second remains on the loose in #Watertown, as reported by The Boston Globe
According to the New York Times, Boston Globe, and just about any other major media outlet, there has been a major explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon this afternoon. BloombergTV has a live feed of the scene. From the New York Times:
The Associated Press reported that the authorities were helping injured runners leave the scene and bloody spectators were being carried to a medical tent that was being used for runners.
The A.P. said that a loud explosion was heard on the north side of Boylston Street, near a photo bridge that marks the finish line. Another explosion was heard several seconds later.
Details are slowly emerging, but journalists and witnesses are reporting major injuries and possible casualties on social media. (Warning: Some of the images are graphic.) (Update: the Boston Police Department is reporting two deaths and 23 injuries from the blast. A third explosion was heard just before 4 p.m. President Obama is being briefed, and security is being increased at nearby hotels and “prominent locations in New York.”)
The Connecticut Justice Party will be holding an open meeting in Middletown on February 24th. The Connecticut Justice Party is affiliated with the Justice Party of America, a new political party that was founded by 2012 Presidential Candidate Rocky Anderson. The party is based on a centralist platform with progressive values and is focused on bringing justice to issues such as the economy, civil rights, education and the environment. With the aim of being a viable main-stream alternative to the Democratic and Republican parties, the Justice Party is quickly expanding across America.
As horrifying details continue to emerge, here’s footage of President Obama addressing today’s elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which is just 40 miles or so west of Middletown. Continuing updates on the tragedy appear here.
In the brief remarks, Obama says that he addressed the tragedy not as president, but “as a parent.” “Our hearts are broken today,” the president says, pausing to pull himself together. “The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them.” He appears to choke up at various points in the video.
“We’re going to have to take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics,” the president continues, but he doesn’t address gun control in any specific way. The full text of Obama’s remarks appears here, via The Atlantic Wire.
Newtown is a short drive from Wesleyan, so it’s no surprise that the Middletown community is particularly shaken by the shooting. Like many WesKids, I’ve driven through Newtown countless times on I-84 to get to Wes. I’ve stopped and had lunch at the town’s Blue Colony Diner. I’ve had professors who live in the town. According to Middletown Patch, Middletown Superintendent of Schools Patricia Charles has sent a letter to Middletown parents promising to redouble efforts to keep children safe in Middletown schools:
“I think the secret to our success is that we don’t think too much about the future.”
If, like me, you’re graduating in less than a year and, like me, you’re not entirely thrilled about the subsequent “growing up” trajectory, feast your cursor upon a new kingdom: “Fortress Astoria.”
Last week, the New York Times’ Hilary Howarddevoted a fascinating and (I hate this word) charming feature piece to four best friends who are also roommates: Danaher Dempsey, Luke Crane, Rick Brown and Shyaporn Theerakulstit.They met as students at NYU. Through a role-playing group. (Not the same group that always steals my table at Think Coffee, I hope.) In 1991. Which means they’re all pushing 40.
Which means they’ve been living together, as bachelors—or “roommates,” if you will—for over 18 years. And while their story doesn’t pertain to Wesleyan in any direct way, it is a fascinating portrait that certainly pertains to college life in general, the transition into the Great Beyond, and why sociologists now say post-college life no longer has to suck. Read on if you care.
Those of you somehow not yet sick of hearing about Obama Osama Bin Laden’s death—yes, all three of you, look, quick—may enjoy Buzzfeed’s roundup of 40 Incredibly Stupid Facebook Reactions to Osama Bin Laden’s Death,” which is a little funny and a little sad and a little inevitable and a little we-go-to-Wesleyan-this-isn’t-the-real-world-this-isn’t-real-life-but-what-do-you-expect-it’s-2011-at-least-the-internet-didn’t-break-this-time. Consider it an early Procrastination Destination: no, it’s not directly related to Wes; yes, it’s tangentially related to You and Me and The Internet and Everything.
But speaking of college-relevant reactions to bin Laden’s death…
The ACB is a filthy mess of ugly provocation and five-page Bin Laden-related flame wars, but what else is new? This thread is the only thread worth linking to, but it’s very much worth linking to, so here, I’m linking to it.
Wednesday’s “WE GOT HIM!!!!” Bar Night pregame, which popped up within an hour or so of early breaking news reports, now has 50 attending, 100 waiting for reply. Why the tempered enthusiasm? And why no impromptu rallies at Wesleyan, no “USA! USA!” chants? This isn’t New York, and quite a few Wes students—on- and offline—have expressed general discomfort with celebrating any individual’s death (or regarding it as some new post-terror age of freedom), no matter how many innocent Americans died at the hand of that individual’s terrorism.
So does Columbia University. Hundreds of Columbia students (including about 30 members of CU Democrats) traveled to Ground Zero and Times Square last night to witness mass celebrations (flag-hoistings, “USA!” chants, the works) following news of bin Laden’s death. Columbia Spectator provides in-depth photo timeline coverage here.
New York Times contributor Barbara Ehrenreich wrote an Op-Ed this weekend about the increasingly poor treatment of those suffering from poverty in America, and mentioned Middletown among its examples of local crackdowns on food sharing:
The viciousness of the official animus toward the indigent can be breathtaking. A few years ago, a group called Food Not Bombs started handing out free vegan food to hungry people in public parks around the nation. A number of cities, led by Las Vegas, passed ordinances forbidding the sharing of food with the indigent in public places, and several members of the group were arrested. A federal judge just overturned the anti-sharing law in Orlando, Fla., but the city is appealing. And now Middletown, Conn., is cracking down on food sharing.
In case you don’t remember, the Middletown Food Not Bombs group, which consists of Wesleyan students and other Middletown residents, distributed free food on Main Street in Middletown every weekend last semester, but were issued a cease-and-desist order from the Middletown Health Department for violating city health ordinances. They were then fined after defying it for months, but continued to distribute meals despite increasing official interference.
According to the Middletown Eye, FNB filed an injunction in federal court in June against the City of Middletown and the State of Connecticut to prevent enforcement of the cease-and-desist order, claiming that shutting down FNB gatherings is a violation of the group’s First Amendment rights:
“It is unbelievable that at a time of drastic cutbacks in state services, the State of Connecticut is wasting judicial resources on an unwinnable prosecution. Not only is this criminal prosecution a violation of Mr. Bobman’s First Amendment rights,” said Attorney Polan, “but it is also a case of illegal selective prosecution because the health department official who made the criminal complaint has admitted that Food Not Bombs is a leaderless organization. It is obvious that Mr. Bobman cannot be held criminally responsible for the actions of a political organization.”
According to the plaintiffs, Food Not Bombs does not “dispense food” in the manner that the city’s health code regulates, like a restaurant or a soup kitchen. Instead, Food Not Bombs gathers as a community to share food, in the form of a potluck, as a statement of equality and abundance. As plaintiff Fred Carroll stated: “What’s next? The Health Department will come in and regulate people’s picnics in the park?”
The Middletown Eye says FNB is working towards a solution that would allow members to keep distributing meals without further interference. Good luck, Food Not Bombs – hope the issue gets resolved soon.
If you are female and in Brooklyn this weekend, you can be in the Boy Crisis video for “Fountain of Youth”, to be directed by Jordan Fish ’06:
We’re looking for female extras for a Boy Crisis video in Williamsburg, all day on SATURDAY AUGUST 8th. If you’re available this evening, there will be a rehearsal tonight [8/5] in Bushwick from 7 to 10 pm. Dance experience is great but not a must. You will be part of a tribe of ladies wearing body paint, and conducting sacred rituals. Some of the costumes might be minimal, but you can tell us what you’re comfortable with. There is no pay unfortunately but it will be an awesome shoot and we’ll have food.
If you’re interested please send us your name, phone number, your age (must be 18+), confirmation that you are available morning till early evening on Saturday, and a recent picture to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!!
Discerning (and disappointed) Wesleyan soccer fans may have noticed that after the US’s grueling 2-3 loss to Brazil in the FIFA Confederations Cup Final, the stadium’s loudspeakers blasted MGMT’s song “Kids” as team USA picked up their Silver medals. This comes as only a small consolation after we squandered a 2-0 halftime lead against a heavily favored Brazilian side, armed with some of the world’s best players.
Congrats to Team USA on a great tournament, despite the loss; congrats to Wesleyan on being fucking everywhere.