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Spreading the culture of fear

Boston bombings intensify the spirit of global discontent

By Gregg Reese

OW Contributor

Regardless of political ideology or level of sophistication, the terrorist apparatus has succeeded in spawning a network of crisis preparatory organizations while stroking our national paranoia.

The tragic street bombing during a marathon in Boston in April pushed law-enforcement organizations across the globe to rethink their security protocols, while simultaneously hammering home the fact that more than two years after the death of Osama bin Laden, terrorism still looms in the American psyche. As the World Series approached in October, six months after the marathon bombing, citizens of Boston remained on edge and leary of their own neighbors.

It’s obvious that there are various disgruntled individuals and bands with axes to grind that have the ability to express that outrage by accessing household materials (the principal component of the Boston bombs was reportedly a simple pressure cooker) and other ingredients for an expenditure of less than $100.

This apparent DIY (do it yourself) methodology has become the armament of choice for 21st-century grass roots malcontents, regardless of ideology, and makes it that much harder to track down the guilty parties.

All this has generated more questions than answers. What is certain is that the suspect(s) succeeded in dealing a blow to American confidence. And Los Angeles, with a massive commercial seaport, one of the busiest airports, world-class sporting events, and a huge entertainment hub, provides a tempting target for anyone intent on making the world take notice.

As they wait for the next crisis, government employees nationwide often find themselves involved in preparatory drills, where terrorist attacks and catastrophes such as Hurricane Sandy are simulated.

All of this preparedness, installed to the tune of easily hundreds of millions of dollars, is merely a testament to the success of terror’s ulterior motive—escalating our anxiety.

Regardless of the rationale of the disaffected parties, America remains a potent symbol to rebel against.

A double legacy for President Obama

Second term full of symbolism

By David L. Horne, Ph.D.

OW Contributor

In an affair replete with symbolic doubles, President Barack Hussein Obama once again took the oath of office as head of government in the United States of America on Sunday, Jan. 20, and again on Jan. 21, which is also officially the national Martin Luther King holiday.

This second time, Beyoncé was once again invited to sing during the inauguration process this time, she sang the National Anthem during the inauguration itself.

And for the second time, L.A.’s own Stevie Wonder contributed public performances during the inauguration ceremonies.

There were only two official parties or balls scheduled this time, rather than the 10 in 2009. The primary one hosted 35,000-40,000 revelers in the Washington Capitol Convention Center, and the other was held to honor the nation’s troops overseas.

President Obama placed his left hand on two Bibles, both held by his wife Michelle, and recited the oath of office for the 2013 inaugurals—one, the same Lincoln Bible he used in 2009, and this year the Martin Luther King Bible provided by the King family.

President Obama used “Faith in America’s Future” as the principal theme this year, again referencing one of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches, as he had done in 2009 with “A New Birth of Freedom.”

For the first time in the nation’s history, a woman and a layman presented the invocation, or public prayer.

2013 marked both the 50-year anniversary of Medgar Evers’ assassination, and the 50-year anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial, a few yards from where President Obama took the oath of office. It is also the 150th year since the commencement of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in a precedent for women and Latinos, rendered the oath of office Sunday and Monday to Vice President Joe Biden. Additionally, in a position made famous by Robert Frost at John Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961, and Maya Angelou in Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration with her poem “On the Pulse of Morning,” Latino poet Richard Blanco was named the inaugural poet for Mr. Obama’s second oath of office. He is, reportedly, the first Latino, the first immigrant American, and first gay person to be provided this title.

What drove Dorners’ rage?

Other LAPD officers discuss problems with the department

By William Covington

OW Contributor

In the movie “Django Unchained,” a slave gets his revenge on White slave owners by killing them. Many believe this modern-day “Spaghetti Western” resurrected the label of the “bad Black man” (Django) that has been given to accused murderer and ex-Los Angeles Police Officer Christopher Dorner.

Looking at the social dynamics of the time that Dorner was the subject of a statewide manhunt—the accusation was made by at least two talking heads on news shows that he was acting out the plot of Django, attempting to exact revenge on those that wronged him.

Christopher Jordon Dorner was a suspect in a number of Southern California attacks on civilians and police officers, which resulted in the deaths of four individuals. There is evidence of racial polarization on the issue on blogs, in barbershops, coffee shops and watering holes, and the feelings may be a reflection of your socio-economic status or the part of town you were raised in.

As the situation unfolded, a group of African American police officers were interviewed about the working environment of the Los Angeles Police Department prior to Dorner’s death. Many of them have pending legal action against the department.

Said one officer: “They have created a monster. He is mad. He is a government-trained killer, and he is an atheist. If you could have a conversation with him, it would be a first because you would be talking to a police officer who is already dead.”

More than a dozen African American LAPD officers, with no less than 10 years of experience, had nothing good to say about their agency in regards to its treatment of Black officers. Some complained of not being able to sleep thinking about the dilemma that Dorner [had] faced.

The issue is of management finding out that officers are not happy with their job.

All were passionate and emotional about their descriptions of racial prejudice. The picture they painted was one of unfairness they felt was a result of being Black and working within the ranks of the LAPD.