Sunday, April 21, 2013

More Bombing Comments

Well - I suppose, being a Boston area resident, I have some obligation to say something more about this very interesting week. First thing to say, obviously, is to note that it took the law 4 days to get the guys who apparently did this - that is impressive. And, given the suspects' behavior, it looks pretty good that they got the right guys - so that, while there was a lot of misinformation and noise around this thing, the officials zeroed in on the perps and got them...

How they got them - there is some controversy about that. Tom Watson probably gets at the issues best - the implications of near martial law, imposed because of one guy with a gun and maybe some homemade bombs; the implications of making these things ubiquitous media events. I have to admit - I have mixed feelings about the way the police handled things Friday. It does seem excessive - it's worrisome that one guy can shut down an entire city, a whole metropolitan area. But - well, there's a lot on the other side. There's no escaping the fact that they got the kid. Granted, they got him after they lifted the lockdown - that might be related. But they got him. And more importantly - they got him alive - and they didn't get anyone else.

While I probably do share some of Watson's concerns about this lockdown, I think paranoia about what the government might do is not too different from paranoia about terrorists. You can't live as if terrorists are going to blow stuff up every week; when they do, you have to do something about it. (I am about to quote the Maltese Falcon here - twice, actually... - beams and partners...) I think maybe the officials extended the lockdown too far - Watertown, Cambridge, parts of Boston - quite reasonable; all of Boston? maybe not. But - I can see why they did it, and as far as I can tell, it worked. It was a police action - an active shooter, well armed and desperate, on the loose somewhere - the lockdown served to get everyone else out of the way. Without it, there was always going to be a very real chance of mistakes - mis-identifications, people interfering with the police, people getting caught in the middle of the kid turned up again.

All this happened Friday, April 19 - Patriot's Day proper, and more recently, the 18th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombings, and the 20th anniversary of Waco. I found it hard not to think of that when this ended - I think the only people the cops hurt in all this episode were the two suspects. Given the nature of events - the potential for arresting the wrong people, or just the danger inherent in getting into shootouts with desperate criminals - getting through this clean is impressive. And now - they have a suspect in custody, taken alive; he will be arraigned and indicted and tried, he will have a lawyer and somewhere along the line give interviews (frigging McVeigh did...), and probably apply for parole like Charles Manson. And all of that, I think, is what will really vindicate our freedom. It's more important than the possible overreactions on Friday.

Finally - read Pierce for the details.

1 comment:

Sam Juliano said...

I regret not getting over here right after the calamity that struck your beloved city WS, but like everyone else I was aghast and grief-stricken over the terrible event. Also like everyone else I was delighted that the perpetrators were apprehended (one killed) and remain riveted by the aftermath. Yeah I a'm a big Yankee fan (ha!) but I love Boston.