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With crisis over, a displaced Back Bay resident has some questions

Lost in all the other news last week was the fate of Back Bay residents forced out of their homes because their apartments and condos were located in a crime scene. One of them, Mike the Mad Biologist, wants to know why the city basically ignored these residents:

Where was the Back Bay community liaison during all of this, especially on Monday night and Tuesday when affected residents desperately needed assistance and verifiable information? If she was unavailable (i.e., displaced herself; hopefully not injured in the blasts), why were other liaisons not dispatched on a temporary basis? Indeed, why were not other liaisons dispatched for a day or two regardless? ...

I've never heard of a disaster situation where elected officials and their surrogates weren't on the ground. As I've written before, this is Rascal King 101. The sheer incompetency is staggering.

Meanwhile, the city has set up staggered times today for residents and businesses in the crime-scene zone to go back in.

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Comments

This wasn't lost in anything. This was unimportant. This is the whining of a privileged douche with to much time on his hands and a blog. This is the burden of the temporarily inconvenienced. I left this comment on his blog:

Yes they were apathetic. I guess trying to find all the limbs was distracting them from the really important business of reassuring the temporarily inconvenienced. Maybe the streets, literally washed in blood, should have been left till after someone held your hand. The one you still have attached to your body.

I do not understand people. I just don't.

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This way I only have to insult you on one blog.

Yes, you do not understand people. Probably that is one of a long list of things you do not understand.

The original poster is quite correct. This was a large police action, but he was not asking anyone in law enforcement to drop what they were doing and help him. He was asking why the people in the Mayor's office who are supposed to deal with things like temporary displacement did not. I really doubt the Back Bay community liaison is in charge of gathering body parts after a terrorist attack. They are probably supposed to be, you know, liasioning with the Back Bay community?

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the city set up shelters for the displaced. Am I missing something here?

What else can the city say besides "it's an active crime scene, we don't know if there's hidden IED's for secondary attacks (or worse), and when the FED's are done you'll be allowed back in".

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The City setup a resource center for assistance, did he go there? I assume the liaison was there to help. It is hard for the City to reach out if they don't have a method to contact you.

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outrage is contagious. be cool.

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Believe me, there is nothing a person like you could say to me that would be in any way insulting.

Your lack of ability to prioritize human suffering is astonishing. I will never be able to explain why your concern for the terribly liaison-less is sickening. There is no explaining decent human behavior to you because you are not decent nor human I expect. What your heart must look like?

And please be assured that snark...is not a sign of a clever person, it's the exact, you know, opposite.

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You say that you don't understand people. This much is clear, because you can't understand how we can feel for those who have lost their lives or were horribly injured, but we can also sympathize with those who were driven out of their homes without warning. We feel worse for the former, yes, but they're not mutually-exclusive and we can find enough space in our hearts for everyone who was affected --from the dead and mutilated, to those who have been paycheck-less and homeless for a week.

That's what human decency is like.

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Seriously?

These residents have been out of their homes for more than a week now. Leave your home right now. No, don't take anything with you. Yes, leave your pets behind. And any medicine you might have. Need it for work or school? To bad. Have an interview and need your suit? Tough noogies. Oh, and no one is going to tell you when you're going to be allowed home again.

Is it as bad as losing a life or a limb? But neither is it simply an "inconvenience". It's a major life-impacting incident. I can't blame anyone for being frustrated if the flow of information was as lacking as the blogger indicates.

It's clear that you don't understand people. Your utter lack of sympathy expressed here makes it clear that the problem is you, not them.

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If I remember correctly most of the blocks in back bay began opening back up Tuesday once they determined there were no more bombs in the area. If you're one of the few people who do live in the actual crime scene where the bombs actually went off then okay. But don't make it seem like everyone in the back bay was out of their homes for a week. The area in the crime scene is mostly commercial but I'm sure the city has had made arrangements with those who do live there.

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"I'm sure the city has had made arrangements with those who do live there."

That's EXACTLY what Mike's blog is all about. The city did NOT make proper arrangements, and left residents out in the cold.

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How about this?

http://www.cityofboston.gov/news/default.aspx?id=6079

Mike couldn't walk a couple blocks to park plaza to the mayors resource office?

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Read point 3 of the blog post.

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"On Tuesday, when the emergency care/shelter station was moved from Park Plaza Castle, why did the mayor’s hotline not know this?"

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I didn't make any claims about "everyone in the Back Bay". My ability to empathize isn't contingent on only a large number of people being impacted. Why is yours?

And the original blogger seems to feel that there weren't proper arrangements made. Since I'm not in the area, I can't speak to the veracity of that, but given that I'm seeing a lot of snarky complaining rather than actual factual information to the contrary I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

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Learn to think on your own for once. Id be fine with the city not diverting a single resource if it meant helping people who actually needed it a couple blocks away. Need verifiable information? How about the thousands of local and national news outlets across the country covering the story. Or how about calling the mayors office. Need a place to stay? How about the thousands of nice people who offered spare rooms, couches, etc to people.

Sorry but your problems were the least that anyone was worried about on Monday.

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How is someone standing on the Commonwealth Mall with a dead cell phone battery supposed to access all those media reports? And the elderly woman with medical needs that Mike talks about? She was supposed to walk to where there was help and ask a stranger for a couch?

also, if you reads the posts, he talks about the calls he made that were unanswered and others where the staffer didn't have the information that the place to get help had moved.

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Fuck this guy and his bullshit blog. If he can afford to live in the Back Bay, he obviously could have afforded to go to a hotel for a few days. Oh, wait, he was in a "secure, undisclosed location".

Wotta douche.

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Several of my neighbors were putting up folks displaced from the hotels in the same areas.

Not everyone who lives in the Back Bay is wealthy - my coworker's son, who lives in an apartment over a business pretty much between the bomb locations, couldn't even find a room for one night, much less afford it for a week. He found himself a living room floor in Brookline to crash on - but he was a single person, too. There are elderly people who live in the area as well.

They should have had at least somebody pointing people toward resources and options that they may not have known about as this sort of thing is, thankfully, rare.

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but the majority of them sure do act like they are. Also, there were plenty of rooms available in the city after Monday, or maybe I was dreaming when I was dropping non marathon people in hotels as varied as the Day's Inn on Soldier's Field Rd. or the Westin Waltham last week.

And to me, it's a little hard to feel sympathy for a guy who claims to be smart enough to be

Helping idiots who desperately need my assistance by calling them fucking morons since 2004

Well,I have a little trouble believing that you're capable of assisting anyone, let alone "idiots" if you can't figure out where to go after the city falls victim to a terrorist attack and you can't get back in your house.

Tell you what, Mike, why don't you move over to Grove Hall or Talbot Ave or Decatur Street so you can see what city government inaction is really like.

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Assuming that anyone living in the Back Bay can suddenly cough up hundreds of dollars in hotel and/or alternate transportation costs is ridiculous. There are plenty of 1bds or studios in the area just barely affordable to people without large bank accounts --but drop a sudden, emergency expense such as this on them, and suddenly they're not so affordable anymore.

Does feeling empathy for the injured and the victims preclude any sympathy for those who might be having serious, just not life-threatening issues? I'd trust the human heart to be bigger than that.

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Home, Condo and Rental cover "loss of use" including loss of use by civil authority. Based on the concept of indemnification they could have stayed at any area hotel assuming they lived in high end apartment. They would also reimburse the insured for food cost up to a reasonable amount, you cant go out and eat $50 steaks every night because you don't cook $50 steaks every night at home!

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Unfortunately, to many people, and Back Bay residents are no exception, home/renter's insurance is not a priority if they can afford it at all. Especially if they're students, middle class, or haven't been in the neighborhood long enough to get around to it. It may be irresponsible, or it may simply be out of their reach. We do not know their circumstances and therefore we cannot judge.

The "$50 steak" comment is pointless and ludicrous. Unless you know of someone trying to defraud their insurance that way, why even bring it up?

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Yeah, you'd be amazed how many people don't even know this is a thing. When I was younger and was renting, I didn't think I needed renter's insurance because I didn't have any possessions that were worth anything. Fortunately, my dad worked for an insurance company, so he explained to me that it was worth it in case I was displaced from my unit or someone was injured in my unit. I wouldn't have known these things otherwise or bothered to research them, since I figured renter's insurance just covered replacement of possessions for, like, adults with adult furniture.

I now own a unit in a three-family, and the other two owners rent out their units. Our condo docs require that anyone renting a unit has their own renter's insurance (I assume this is so they are less tempted to sue the association or other owners in the event something happens to their stuff). Every time a new tenant moves in and we ask for proof of renter's insurance, they have been unaware of where someone gets such a thing and we owners have helped them figure it out. This isn't all young people and has included working families with kids, who've just never considered renter's insurance.

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Had it for several years. I'm finding more and more landlords and rental agencies are requiring it.

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Yeah, eventually you might get a check. What if your credit card has a low limit or you only have cash?

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I've been thinking about the people who work in the area though. The banks aren't going to care if these people lost a week's worth of work. Their rental agreements also likely don't care. I'm not talking about the wealthier people who can afford to take a week off. I'm talking about the ones who don't make much money, and students who are paying their own way through school. They may have a particularly difficult time paying rent for the upcoming month.

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Lots of restaurants, retail...these are hourly wage folks and I've heard of at least one business that shall go nameless that's making people use sick days or vacation days this week, even though they're not open yet.

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Seriously, the limbs are picked up and the blood is washed off. There's people essentially left homeless and without their belongings for over a week now. Yeah, sure, some people may have it worse (no limbs), but that doesn't make this any less of a problem! Let's see how happy you would be if you were displaced for over a week with no communication as to when you can move in, or simply retrieve items, etc...

Also, the "rich" argument is hilarious. Rents are high, sure, but they could easily be spending a majority of their income just to live in such a place (which they now can't even access)! Give me a break, all you assholes riding this guy's ass.

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It's human psychology for peripheral people to go through "stages" after a disaster/tragedy. At first there's deep compassion along with secret thankfulness "I/my family/fill in the blank" wasn't hurt/maimed/killed, and, further, what can I do to help. People group together and look to be part of rallies, funerals, other organized and visible events where they can show support, respect, and honor for those who were physically pained or killed.

This is why fund raiser and fund organizers know they need to use this period to raisee money - people's hearts are open and most are not focued on their own issues, even those issues not related to the event. I'm sure the unemployed or the person who lost a dear cat the previous week were actually feeling good about themselves because this big ugly event made all of that pale in comparison.

But for most people, that all wears off. It's part of our psychology as evolved beings. A tragedy fades for people not directly harmed. They move on to themselves, their needs, their families needs, their concerns. I'm not saying they forget. But it's what we humans are wired to do. Think about our own specimen self. It's not right or wrong. It is how our species survived for trillions of years.

In the end, I think - ok hope - we can all maybe just be kinder in small, do-able, little ways to the strangers we meet momentarily through the day. A smile, paying the toll or coffee of the person in line behind you without waiting for a thank you, slipping a little kid a dollar when you see him eyeing the candy at the check out.

Just my two cents.

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I'm not accusing, I'm just curious to know if NABB representatives were active and helpful last week. I hope and expect that they were; I'd count on them more than a mayor's liaison I never knew existed.

Since our friends were able to get back to their homes in the crime zone (apts and condos in the Pru highrises) last Monday night, we didn't realize that so many others were still evacuated until we read about it later in the week. It goes to show how little information was out there about our neighbors that we had only vague reports and no organized way to help them.

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Unless terrorists have invented an anti-entropy bomb which turns a pile of rubble into a tall building, I don't think NABB would care.

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First of all, it's only a week later and you've all lost your sympathy for your fellow resident? I didn't see anything in Mike's post about asking for anything of monetary value. He just wanted information and guidance and I can't believe anyone is critical of that.

We have a growing problem in this country based on the posts here. We expect the rich to pay for everything, but when they are in need, they should help themselves or even just go $%&K themselves(and I'm not saying Mike is rich - as others point out there is a VERY wide range of income levels and financial circumstances in the Back Bay). Last time I checked, basic government services weren't income tested.

I understand that the mayor and his office were busy with issues of public safety and then commerce, but I think the city council fell down on this one. Half of the at large councilors and Ross are running for mayor. With the mayor's office focused on public safety and the business community (there has been a business assistance desk set up in the Park Plaza Hotel since about Wednesday of last week), the councilors should have taken the initiative to field calls from residents. Their primary function is constituent services.

This was a failing and should be addressed and if this had happened in Roxbury, or Eastie or parts of Dot and Hyde Park sympathy would gush forth on this board. We seem to have forgotten that no matter how fat our wallets are, we are all human and for all humans, losing your home for any number of reasons, even temporarily, is a disruptive and difficult situation.

Mike - if you need anything else and can't get answers, please call the Neighborhood Assn office at 617-247-3961. On top of a sympathetic ear in the office, I think they can help you get through to some ears in City Hall if there is still a need.

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For being the voice of reason, and for actually having some useful information to pass along!

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I got the impression that the growing problem was that the super wealthy, fronted by the Koch brothers, don't want to pay for anything, because the wealthy in (third world shithole of your choice) don't pay any taxes. Ergo, they are spending millions to manipulate the political process and the media toward that end.

Remember Mitt and the Gits and their hit song "take care of it yourself, freeloading proles!"?

I sympathize with the lack of information and access to the appointed liason being a problem here, but I'm not buying your whine. Remember, we just had a campaign where we were constantly bombarded by highly well funded messages telling us that the majority of Americans are all lazy and don't take responsibility for ourselves, etc.

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Stevil wasn't trolling as much as he was pitching the "we expect the rich to pay for everything" in a state with flat income and sales tax. That is just dumbass bs. City real estate tax is flat too.

When people are prohibited from entering their "homes" by the gov't, the gov't really should assist in making accommodation for them, if they need the help, (don't you think?)

The trolling at the top of this post is just that and its quite effective. It attacks the cooperative but frustrated (who wouldn't be) resident who is pissed off. It frames a debate that divides in contrast with those severely damaged by the blast. It's a debate I'll pass on becuase it's completely unimportant except for how it divides.

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It's not that he was asking for information. I totally get that.

It's the WAY he asked it. There was an incredible amount of snark and unnecessary sarcasm in his post, which in my opinion, there is NO place for in a situation like this.

This, is what makes Mike The Mad Biologist a Massively Mad Douchebag.

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I dunno, if I had been shut out of my home for a week, with no answers in sight, and kept being ignored by the government*, I'd be a hell of a lot snarkier than this. There are probably many other displaced residents with plenty of sympathy and broken hearts for the victims, but whose blogs are nothing but long strings of curses at city officials.

* He makes it clear that there wasn't even an angry response, or even a bureaucratic runaround. There was nothing.

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The Animal Rescue League of Boston had a post on Facebook last Tuesday, I think, stating that residents should contact them for assistance getting their pets to safety. I believe they were also at the Park Plaza castle to provide information and temporary shelter for displaced pets.

I was not affected or displaced but saw that on my Facebook feed. As others have stated I heard non-stop from the media that residents should go to the castle for assistance. My coworkers and I even discussed that that morning (we discussed it was a strange thing that a "castle" really an armory was in use.) I am not sure how someone who was affected was unaware of this information.

I sympathize with them but honestly it comes off as a selfish and heartless complaint. Poor you, here is cookie.

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I'm a VIP, and people are supposed to come to me. I mean, I paid way to much for my condo after all. While were at it, can we do something about the noise, noise, noise?

/end snark

Really though. All the above is good and well, but again, there was a info desk and shelter set up ot get information and stay in contact with the city officials.

Why didn't the blogger use it? If he did, what specifically are his problems with it? I find it hard to believe he didn't hear about it.

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"I find it hard to believe he didn't hear about it."

I find it hard to believe people aren't actually reading the blog post, or the accompanying ones he linked to, where he deals with exactly the same questions UHub readers are asking of him.

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Apparently they moved it and when he called the city to find out where it went, the mayor's office didn't know. I don't know all the details, but he reached out to the obvious source of every other answer in the city and they didn't have info on it.

Again - what does how much you pay for your condo (or in rent) have to do with the government providing you appropriate (and non-monetary) disaster assistance?

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Posted MONDAY, the day of the bombings. Information and resources for residents. On the ground.

http://www.cityofboston.gov/news/default.aspx?id=6079

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From Mike's Blog:

The city hotline was not helpful, and the political offices had no response. This made many people feel completely adrift since they didn’t even know to whom to bring problems. By the way, when people are being evacuated rapidly, you can’t have everything on a website: at some point, people’s cell phone batteries drain. The human touch not only helps but is required.

I bet dollars to doughnuts that residents of the area indeed drained those batteries pretty quick trying to cut through the overloaded cell phone grids to get in touch with loved ones, and going online for updates. How many of them would be cool-headed enough to dash towards a Starbucks outside the sealed-off area? How many of those would risk missing an important announcement from the police or liaisons in order to leave the vicinity to recharge their phones? How many news outlets propagated the above release?

Just because it's on a website doesn't mean the residents had access to it. People sitting comfortably at their desks did, but don't assume the same of panicked neighbors huddling together in an emergency, with no authorities to guide them, without any idea what's going to happen to them or to their homes, and with phones that have become an extremely valuable, but dwindling, privilege.

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As Mike's blog says, BPD evacuated residents within minutes of the attack. Some people might have had the presence of mind to remember to grab their cell phone, tablet, or laptop (and charger) with them as they ran out in the midst of panic; others might have been too distraught to remember to put on shoes, let alone grab their devices. And there were probably many Back Bay residents AT the scene (or along the marathon route,) with their batteries half- or mostly-dead from snapping photos and texting all day... or worse, who simply dropped their belongings (inc. internet devices) and ran when the blasts occurred. With a huge section of Back Bay blocked off, everyone else with a cell phone already using it to contact friends and family, and not knowing what's going to happen, would these residents go hunting for an internet cafe, Staples, or any such publicly-accessible internet connection? Or would they believe, reasonably and naturally, that there would soon be a government or neighborhood representative to tell them where to go and what to do?

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It's disheartening to read some of the comments on various threads I've seen on UHub as of late regarding the bombing in the Back Bay. Did a terrorists bomb your neighborhood? Wouldn't you be horrified for the victims and horrified that it happened in your neighborhood, particularly for those who live on the section of Boylston St. where the bombs went off? Others can go home, but the people who live at the crime scene could not. You wouldn't be shocked and traumatized knowing and possibly having witnessed three people die and others lose limbs in a hateful violent attack? You don't think that some of these residents and possibly their friends/ family are some of those who were injured? The petty anger and lack of compassion directed toward those impacted by the explosions is disgusting. Good luck to you in life if this is how you treat others. Pathetic. To those who are still finding compassion in their hearts to show support to all of Boston, the runners, the injured spectators and their loved ones, the people who witnessed the hateful attack, the people who were evacuated from their homes, thank you!!

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Auntie Zeituni could have taken a few of the displaced. Granted, the Southie waterfront isn't the Back Bay but you're already paying for her place so why not enjoy it?

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Is that the public housing built for soldiers returning home from WWII? I'm glad its getting good use by people who need it. Why do conservatives hate the poor?

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They hate the dumb poor and the willfully poor.

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Why do conservatives demonize 47% of all americans as takers, as lazy, as entitled? Surely you're not arguing that 47% of Americans are willfully poor.

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I'd point out that 47% mostly include the working poor and elderly that pay no income tax because of the Conservative pushed "Make work pay" EITC. Which is basically zero'ing out all taxes owed and then subsiding, with tax dollar redistribution, those who don't make enough privately.

Now I’m not saying it’s a wrong policy per say (although it is subsidizing low pay employers), but to push it with one hand, and demonize those people with the other….

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Actually, no, they hate the poor. All of them. No need to limit your scope; there's plenty of contempt to go around!

They also hate minorities, women, sick people, the homeless, Muslims, minorities, veterans who are no longer actively killing aforementioned minorities/Muslims, minorities (have I mentioned minorities? I really want to emphasize this one), and providers of social services. But that's a tale for another day, Will.

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She texted you a booty call on Monday night, said she was lonely.

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O-Fish-L had a booty call with Auntie Zeituni? Damn.

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First, thank God, Mike was not one of the physically injured or killed.


There were city hall employees who are not BPD or BFD that *were* hospitalized. Beyond bodily injury, there is emotional and psychological trauma which they suffered.

The mayor checked himself out of the hospital after surgery to go back on the job after the attack.

Being unable to get back to one's residence to retrieve clean underwear is a inconvenience of
sorts.

Mike's posts do illustrate the need for neighbors and tenant associations to have their own network of communication. As others commented, there was substantial information on the City Hall website that Mike did not see on his own. He was upset that Councilor Mike Ross or other officials were not more visible to himself during the midst of a manhunt and crime scene closure. He, in particular, calls out one City employee without knowing if that individual, relatives or co-workers had been harmed. What is most bothersome in Mike's words is his lack of proper priorities that comes across as privileged (he's Ok) whining and Monday morning quarterbacking.

Fortunately, Mike was only a displaced resident, as afraid and in search of information as many other Boston area residents. He is not a public official or first responder - none of whom have aired such self-centered concerns over their own lack of sleep or fear as they faced a violent unknown.

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The Democratic Party became the party of immigrants because Democrats, not Republicans, were the political folks who helped immigrants become United States residents and citizens. Perhaps leaders of the local Democratic wards did not feel a need to reach out to people who have needs. The would have been a good opportunity for the other party to win loyalty. Perhaps the leaders of neither political party believe that it is there job anymore to put feet on the ground when citizens need help.

I don't get the vicious responses to Mike's complaint. Were the writers of the nastygrams themselves displaced? Keyboard courage is easy when comfortably situated in a warm room which you did not have to abandon.

For all the lovely sounds of togetherness I don't believe that the sense of citywide identity will remain. It would be a great thing if a permanent communal bond of Boston identity could arise from this tragedy. But there seems to be too much invested in tearing each other down.

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What we witnessed in these parts over the past week was quasi-martial law. Just a lil' taste of what can happen when the full force of the government, backed up by police and military, can do, laws and constitutional rights be damned. And most people gave high praise. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR. There are many similar examples throughout history, they'll be more to come. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

And no, I am not a neocon, Republican, conspiracy nut, wingnut, or whatever other cliche talking point you can throw at me.

And what's Senator Warren's constituency office have to say about all this? Say what you well about the man, love him or hated him, but Ted Kennedy's office would have been far more on the ball.

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to martial law does not understand what it is like to be from a country where that happens. Yes, they may have overreacted a bit. But there was an actual murderer on the loose. Get a clue, people. The American government, as foul as it can be, is no military ruled state.

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Can't take the heat. He's been deleting comments he doesn't agree with. My comment wasn't even trolling, but info and a question. Gone.

He'd rather sit atop his golden soapbox it seems, rather then talk about why he didn't use the resources made available to residents. He was inconvenienced, and he needs to make sure that never happens again.

pfuu pfuu.

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Were you here when the bombs went off? It was extremely chaotic and it is not unreasonable to think that the red cross or the city or someone would be onsite and not just online to make sure the residents and visitors who were displaced were assisted. Online resources are useless when you have no access to them and/or are shellshocked from the gruesome things you may have witnessed

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The next time there's a hurricane, and people are evacuated and put out on the street, let's just tell them that all the shelter and assistance information they could want is online. Don't have a phone? Battery died? Too old to comfortably use a computer? Don't know where or how to connect to the internet? Tough break, you luddite, you're on your own. Officials are too busy handling other matters to spare a single human being to help you. And if your tech-savvy neighbor even dares complain, we'll burn him and his privileged butt at the stake for voicing his opinion.

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Dear Residents and Businesses,
Thank you for your patience and support today. Your resilience during this challenging time is an inspiration to all Bostonians.
In order to reopen Boylston Street as respectfully and as quickly as possible, Mayor Menino has announced there will be full public access at 3:00AM, Wednesday April 24th to the entire impacted area including: Boylston St., Hereford St., Gloucester St., Fairfield St., Clarendon St., Ring Rd., and all public alleys.
The City will deploy a significant presence in the entire affected area, including police and outreach staff, to ensure that all residents and businesses are safe and supported.
The business and resident resource center at the Hynes Convention Center will be open Wednesday 8AM-5PM or you may call the Mayor’s Hotline, open 24/7, at 617-635-4500 with any questions. Given the difficult nature of the past week’s events, we also encourage you to call us on the Mayor’s Healthline at 617-534-5050 to be connected to counselors. They will be available 9AM-5PM the rest of this week. We will also be following up individually with many of you to offer our continuing support. Thank you all.

Sincerely,
Back Bay Response Team

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