Hey, Evil-Doers! Easy Target Here!

Despite Massachusetts being the departure point for flights causing the largest attack ever on U.S. soil, it was reported yesterday that Massachusetts is currently the least prepared state for a bio-terrorist attack. HMMM – don’t you think we’d have learned our lesson from the 9/11 fiasco? It’s pretty embarrassing that the only other state as ill-prepared as us is Alaska…which, even as the largest state in the union, has approximately the same number of residents as just the city of Boston alone.

So here we are in Boston, the mutual fund capital of the world, the academic capital of the USA and one of the top (if not the top) medical centers and financial centers in the country, and we’re the least prepared for an attack. Sounds like if a terrorist organization wants to negatively affect our country’s academic, medical and especially financial industries, we’re the perfect target.

What I find most disturbing is that these announcements are being made so public in the media. I mean, maybe this is the kind of information that shouldn’t be advertised to potential terrorists. Maybe, just maybe, national authorities should consult with our local authorities and tell them to get their shit together instead of allowing the media to a) put fear in residents and b) provide useful information for potential terrorists.

It’s probably not all Governor Romney’s fault that we’re the least protected state…but I’m going to blame him anyway because it makes me feel better.


  1. Comment by David on December 15, 2004 11:14 am

    Jeez Karl, and you live so close to the harbor…….

  2. Comment by David on December 15, 2004 11:14 am

    Jeez Karl, and you live so close to the harbor…….

  3. Comment by David on December 15, 2004 11:14 am

    Jeez Karl, and you live so close to the harbor…….

  4. Comment by Erica on December 15, 2004 11:25 am

    David: Which means he can jump in the water and swim away! Or something.

  5. Comment by jeff on December 15, 2004 12:06 pm

    Romney spent all his time fighting gay marriage – he forgot about homeland security.

    Of course that damn stupid home rule crap here doesn’t help either – each little town or city does its own thing, even if it screws its neighbors.

  6. Comment by Will on December 15, 2004 2:24 pm

    Karl, I’d put the blame on Romney even if I DIDN’T hate the homophobic, self-promotional little S.O.B. (But really, Will, what DO you think of the Governor?) Of course, Bush deserves a lot of the blame too, for bankrupting us with this war and giving the cities and states not a penny for their own security.

  7. Comment by John on December 15, 2004 4:42 pm

    I love when Bostonians get going about how important they think Boston is. Not to excuse being ill-prepared, but…

    Boston is a medium sized city with a lot of universities and businesses. Its importance as a financial capital is dwarfed by LA and NY and is declining. Other than Harvard and MIT, the colleges are mainly locally prominent (though many are very, very good and the high student density affects the culture of the city. Not unlike Austin or a number of other places). Boston is a big medical center, but hardly the only one in the nation. No knock on Boston; it’s one of a number of very nice mid-tier cities in the US. My observation after living there a decade though, was that it was a national leader in the self-importance category.

  8. Comment by Karl on December 15, 2004 4:52 pm

    Hey, John!

    Very true – Bostonians do tend to have a strong sense of pride with their city (then again, I’ve picked that up among residents of other cities, too.)

    I just wanted to clarify that I never claimed Boston was the biggest financial center (it is one of the big financial centers). However, it is the largest mutual fund center. Mutual funds were created here and more mutual funds are managed here than in any other city in the country.

    Personally, I think any US city with strong financial or bio-medical industry is at risk…not just Boston. However, it was Massachusetts that came in dead last in that survey of our country’s attack preparedness. Plus, like I said, terrorists have already used our state as the staging ground once before. I’m surprised the state didn’t do more to correct that image.

  9. Comment by John on December 15, 2004 7:45 pm

    I should clarify too, I really like Boston and the 9 years I spent there were great; however, one thing I didn’t miss was the way the paper would un-ironically call Boston “the Hub of the Universe,” or the dreaded “Boston vs NYC” discussion!

    Funny the preparation is so bad; supposed security risks have managed to make Logan about the most unpleasant airport to pass through in the nation. When I used to be there once a month for work, I started making a point of flying to Manchester (end destination was north of Boston, so it kind of made sense) just to avoid it.

  10. Comment by Karl on December 15, 2004 9:38 pm

    I know! So many people now fly out of Manchester of Providence/Green. I don’t blame them. Logan is such a mess – between the big dig, the new subway station construction, 9/11 and various other factors (landlocked by harbor) that airport is in a perpetually sad state.

    You don’t agree we’re the hub of the universe (sarcasm)?

  11. Comment by David on December 16, 2004 9:28 am

    Ugh!! The 2 of you!!!!!!!!
    Giving me a headache!!
    And John, there are some damn good colleges here besides Harvard and MIT.

  12. Comment by John on December 16, 2004 3:27 pm

    I know, I even have a graduate degree from one of them. My point is just that they aren’t generally nationally known the way the two biggies are. Down here in Houston, for example, my Boston area degree is not as well recognized as if I’d gotten it from Rice.

    I love Manchester airport. At one point I was there so much that most of the people working there (at the rental car counter & the Southwest ticket counter) recognized me. During the primary season, the Baltimore-Manchester flight was the Primary Express; I did wind up sitting neare James Carville on one flight.

  13. Comment by karyn on December 16, 2004 5:11 pm

    Back to the core issue of Romney being evil and in cahoots with George W Bush – this is what you get for not writing my name in on the ballot! I told you! I have the solutions. Oh well, now you have to wait another four years… smirk smirk.

  14. Comment by Stan on December 17, 2004 7:55 am

    Houston?!?!? Hahahahahhahahahahaha Homos actually dwell there?

  15. Comment by John on December 17, 2004 10:05 am

    Houston rocks. When i started coming here for work, my initial reaction was the same as most people: “Oh my God, I’m in hell.” After a couple of years of having to come here every other month, and one of my best friends moving here, I got to know the city & appreciate it. What it lacks in charm and beauty, it makes up for in many other ways. The people are fantastic – not only are there more homos than in Boston, but they actually TALK to each other here, unlike my experience in Boston. Thriving local art and theater scene. Excellent weather. Uniformly nice and welcoming people. Way more diverse population than Boston. This town just has a great energy to it that pervades everything, and after a decade in Boston and eight years in Washington DC, it’s incredibly refreshing.

    Oh, and our restaurants are much better than yours, although that’s always been a tough area for Boston.

    For a funny take on loving Houston despite its surface flaws check out http://www.houstonitsworthit.com/ (courtesy of two local ad guys).

  16. Comment by Karl on December 17, 2004 10:19 am

    Obviously, I’m biased since I live in Boston. But I have been to Houston before. It was only for 3 or 4 days back in the late 90’s but although I didn’t hate it, I did find it lacking (things may have improved since 1997).

    Ironically, my biggest issue with it is one thing you preferred! The weather. Heat, humidity, flooding all don’t do it for me. Once again, it’s personal preference. I’d much rather a blizzard than a heat wave.

    Anywyay, the other thing I wasn’t too keen on was that people didn’t live in the middle of the city. The friends I visited all lived in Bellaire or near Rice University. From an urban planning perspective, I would say Boston has Houston beat (though I readily admit Boston isn’t ideal, either).

    My friends down there have said people are moving into the city proper now, though. So, like Boston’s restaurant scene improving in recent years, Houston may have also become more residential downtown in recent years.

    Anyway, as with most things, it’s all about personal preferences. I did enjoy the museums in Houston…and the people were friendly.

  17. Comment by John on December 17, 2004 2:46 pm

    The weather is of course a very personal thing. I’m a native of New England but I love Houston summers. Call me crazy, but it works for me. What’s interesting is that for the three months of purgatory, you get 9 months of loveliness – it’s not exactly warm today, but it’s warm enough that I’m going rollerblading in Memorial Park this afternoon.

    There has been a huge move toward downtown living here. I’ve been watching it for years as a visitor, and it’s been quite interesting to see how quickly it happened. The new light rail system that opened this year, running from Reliant Stadium through downtown, has helped a lot too.

    But Houston obviously is never going to be a walking town like Boston or DC. What it does have (and this is very tough for visitors to see) is lots of great little neighborhoods tucked away all over the place. My home is a Jamaica-Plain like area where you can ride your bike everywhere, jammed with lush vegetations, filled with 40s bungalows, and before the election the Kerry signs outnumbered the Bush signs by 10:1. Montrose, the gay area, is very similar. You have to drive, but the whole dynamic is very different, and when I first visited here I really didn’t get it.

    The museums are quite good but what I really enjoy is the local arts scene. It’s very different from what you see in the northeast – much quirkier and tilted toward folk art more than formal forms.

    What’s also interesting is that it’s extremely multicultural, and unlike Boston and to a lesser extent DC, everyone is jammed in with everyone else here, so the place feels like all kinds of cultured colliding with each other in interesting ways.

    on the down side, there’s the walking thing, the lack of hills, and that you can’t help but gain 10 pounds when you move here because there’s so much great food.

    Moving here also has given me some perspective on the attitudes I brought with me as an east coast person. The stereotype of coastal city dwellers as elitists is very true (says the recovered elitist). I had the good fortune over the last few years to find myself travelling in some of the parts of the south and central parts of the country that I really like – the SC/GA low country, southern Louisiana, and around Houston – and it was really a revelation to find that no, it’s not a giant mass of Bible thumping hicks, there are lots of gay people, there’s lots of interesting local culture. That’s why some of the snobbery and the post-election “let’s secede” stuff rankled – I think a lot of people on the coasts have no idea what cultural treasures exist in other parts of their country.

    There is, however, no substitute for the New England coast on a cool summer night.

  18. Comment by Stan on December 18, 2004 9:09 am

    Texas / Culture?!? Same sentence… Cmon. Are you a real estate agent?

  19. Comment by John on December 18, 2004 12:09 pm

    Stan, thanks for giving a perfect example of the east coast snobbery I was talking about. Come on down to Houston sometime and I’ll show you around. You may not fall in love with the place but I guarantee you’ll be surprised.

  20. Comment by Karl on December 19, 2004 10:19 am

    I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised with certain things with Texas.

    Though, John, you have to admit, Texas has a level of pride (not necessarily snobbery) that extends further than Boston’s. I mean, tourist shops are chock-full of “Don’t Mess With Texas” cups, t-shirts and ash trays. And it’s the only state I know of that requires high school students to take a year-long history class about their state (in addition to, or instead of US History). And, even up here at Harvard, Texas is the only state that has a “Texas Club” for themselves.

    Id say it’s the equivalent of Boston calling itself the Hub of the Universe (which, may or may not have been true hundreds of years ago when the phrase was coined).

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