My Thoughts On The Boston Marathon Tragedy

The shock of yesterday has left me speechless, but I will stand on my soapbox once again and advocate the use of "Paid Detail" police officers at large clubs. Go to a TD Bank and you might see a real police officer standing where everyone can see him. TD Bank was once described as too easy to rob, and they took advantage of the NYPD’s Paid Detail to beef up their security. Simply, a firm pays $37 an hour to the cop and a 10-percent administrative fee to the city and they get a cop dedicated to protecting them. Wall Street has these officers protecting their world as well. In fact, the program paid the city $1,184,000 in 2011, which means private firms shelled out $11,800,000 for armed police officers with ticket books and arresting power. The events in Boston demand a rethinking of a department policy that disallows NYC clubs to participate.

Nightclubs invariably attract hundreds – if not thousands – of revelers. Highly trained and bonded security are there to protect and serve. They mostly toss a few drunks, break up a small skirmish between frat boys, deter pocketbook and cell phone thieves, and help door people keep out troublemakers or the unkempt. They are a thin line, pretty much helpless against serious threat. An armed police officer is necessary to protect these large, nightly gatherings of people. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, usually a bastion for public safety, has nixed the Paid Detail program for premises with liquor licenses. I have been told fear of corruption is the issue, yet he’ll let them work for bankers?

Rotating cops through should easily solve that issue. The bad guys have struck clubs before and will again. The party animals boozing around and being promiscuous are a ripe target for the hateful. As I write this, it is unclear who attacked Boston and our world of wonder, but it is clear that maximum mayhem was intended. Nightclubs are built to withstand most fires and wear and tear, but are ill-equipped against determined assholes. Allowing NY City’s finest to look out for the public in places they choose to gather seems like a good idea for these times.

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Photo: usatoday.

Get an In-Depth First Look at Steve McQueen’s ‘Twelve Years a Slave’

With only two features under his belt, director Steve McQueen stands out like a beacon for modern filmmakers. The fearless and outspoken filmmaker whose work is as brutally human as it is viciously beautiful has given us the Michael Fassbinder-led Hunger and Shame, but since the latter’s debut in early 2012, we’ve been waiting eagerly for his follow-up, the 19th-century-set drama Twelve Years a Slave

Starring the brilliant Chiwetel Ejiofor—whom McQueen calls, "like a Sidney Poitier or even Harry Belafonte"—the film is based on Solomon Northup’s 1853 autobiography, telling his story as a slave who was kidnapped and put in a slave pen, "paving the way for a grueling life under numerous owners." "You can look at this film and be of any ethnic grouping and identify with Solomon," says McQueen, "he has been taken away into circumstances that are horrific and not pleasant. All he wants is to get back to his family."
Alongside Ejiofor, the cast features the ample talents of Fassbinder, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyongo, Sarah Paulson, and Scoot McNairy with Fox Searchlight (the company releasing the film) alums, Beasts of the Southern Wild stars Quvezhane Wallis and Dwight Henry. And last night, we were given the first hefty taste of the film with a slew of stills from the picture courtesy of USA Today. Speaking to the publication, McQueen says Northup’s story was  "the Anne Frank story of America of that time…It’s the situation and the detail of Solomon’s recollection of those events that ingrained itself in my brain, and the humanity of everyone involved." 
Needless to say, excitement for the film is high. So in the meantime, check out the photos below.