But while many acts of violence cause widespread terror, Miller wants terrorism to be understood in a specific context. It’s not enough to brand it as an act of evil. “Terrorism is political violence, it is purposeful,” says Miller. “It is done by people who have in mind the achievement of certain goals that they think can’t be achieved by other means.” This, Miller stresses, isn’t just the province of rogue militants and fanatics. The Boston Blasts and Terrorism: A Historian’s Take on What It Means
Eurozone countries have already provided object lessons in just how severe such effects can be: the incidence of mental illness has shot up, long-vanquished infectious diseases are making a comeback, and people have been driven to extraordinary lengths to obtain even basic medical supplies from failing healthcare systems (New Scientist, 26 May 2012, p 6).
Even in the cautiously optimistic US, researchers from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington DC have warned that budget cuts mean up to 750,000 people living in poverty could lose access to a vital supplemental nutrition programme.
And as we report on “Cost of cuts: Austerity’s toxic genetic legacy”, the immediate consequences of austerity may give way to more enduring and insidious effects on health. It is plausible that protracted economic hardship will lead to increases in heart attacks, strokes and depression. Stress hormones are known to trigger or exacerbate these conditions, and it is hard to argue that those worrying about the security of their jobs, homes, families and finances are not experiencing high levels of stress. The hidden costs of austerity
The bird-flu scare has hit the city at a bad time, with many citizens still distrustful of the authorities after the dumping in March of 16,000 dead pigs into tributaries of the Huangpu river. The government has still not said what killed the pigs, although it says it has found no trace of H7N9 in those tested for the virus. That the second H7N9 fatality was a pork butcher has done little to reassure the public.
Even in the official media, questions have been asked about why 27 days elapsed between the first death from H7N9 and its public announcement. The authorities say it took that long to confirm the cause, because the virus had never before been identified in humans. They have not explained, however, why on March 7th, three days after the first death, health officials in Shanghai denied rumours in social media that people had died of bird flu in a local hospital. One man was later proved to have died there of bird flu, along with one of his sons who was not found to have the virus. Despite official denials, suspicions remain that this could have been human-to-human transmission.
A deadly outbreak of bird flu is testing China’s political leaders, as well as its response to health emergencies.
Updates on Boston Marathon Terrorist Attack (7:10 PM)
- Read President Obama’s statement on the bombings in Boston http://bit.ly/16YUL6c
- U.S. House holds moment of silence for victims of Boston explosions – live coverage: http://bloom.bg/PNPlBS
- More than a Dozen Children Among Wounded http://nyti.ms/XD7CYZ
- Update: Hospitals report at least 105 injured, at least 15 critically, in Boston explosions - @AP http://bit.ly/ZwtTEi
- CNN reports at least 2 dead including one 8yr old child, 110 plus injured, including 8 children.
- NBC News: No suspect in custody, but some people are being questioned, including a young person here on a student visa
- These are the cities chopped from US Homeland Security Dept’s “Urban Security” grant program, which Boston gets http://firechief.com/grants/dhs-cuts-uasi-grants-31-cities …
- This appears to be the first major act of terror on American soil using explosive devices (treating airplanes as such) since 9/11
“I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.
But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.
But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.”