“If you build it, they will come,” a much overused expression for just about any kind of venture, originally referred to a “Field of Dreams” ballpark in an isolated Iowa cornfield that would attract the unsettled spirits of disgraced ballplayers. In the case of the Boston University Biosafety Lab on Albany Street, which has stood for several years awaiting resolution of a controversial risk assessment, it is more like “If you open it, they may come.”
The “they” in this instance are a lot more worrisome than a bunch of ghosts with leather gloves. The “they” include nefarious folks, terrorists and saboteurs who would see the facility as a prime target for their malicious schemes.
Despite a healthy dose of resistance from my South End community to a perceived health risk, Boston University has been eager to establish a Level 4 biosafety lab for research on highly dangerous pathogens. The interests of science were delayed, however, when the first risk assessment report, released two years ago, was deemed wholly inadequate, particularly given the high stakes of potentially exposing a densely populated area to Ebola and other deadly viruses.FULL ENTRY
Thursday night’s deadly shoot-out in Greenland, N.H., occurring on the same day as a fatal stand-off in Modesto, Calif., has some observers around the country wondering if the job of a police officer is perhaps getting appreciably more dangerous. And, oddly enough, a story in last Monday’s New York Times, under the ominous headline “Even as Violent Crime Falls, Killing of Officers Rises,” would seem to confirm the impression:
"As violent crime has decreased across the country, a disturbing trend has emerged: rising numbers of police officers are being killed. According to statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 72 officers were killed by perpetrators in 2011, a 25 percent increase from the previous year and a 75 percent increase from 2008."
There is more to the matter than the Times noted in its suddenly and sadly relevant story. These are the FBI figures on the number of police officers feloniously killed (as opposed to those killed accidentally) that the Times would have used for its report, data which show a sharp rise in fatalities.FULL ENTRY
Where is the outrage? More to the point, where is the news coverage?
You may have missed it. Actually, unless you were searching for it (or are a frequent viewer of Sean Hannity's show), you probably did.
It seems that a version of the 911 tape that we all heard over and over again of George Zimmerman calling the cops to report suspicious behavior by 17-year-old Trayvon Martin just before fatally shooting the boy was like something out of the Nixon White House -- edited. Sure, we all heard it with our own ears, but it is what we didn’t hear that’s key to understanding the confrontation between the neighborhood watchman and the Skittles-toting youngster.
The sad news is that mass murder has once against erupted on a college campus -- apparently, not even small church-affiliated schools are immune. The fortunate news, however, is that no matter how shocking and headline-grabbing, shooting rampages on college campuses are extremely rare.
Notwithstanding the low risk for college campuses--large and small, public and private, religious and non-sectarian, there are certain themes that emerge time and time again in these tragic episodes. And the latest horror at Oikos University in Oakland, which, based on early reports, implicated a 43-year-old man of Asian descent who had failed to complete a degree in a professional field, is eerily consistent with the pattern to earlier campus shootings with multiple victims.