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April 25, 2013

Comments

I think it is important to differentiate between our reaction in the immediate aftermath of the event and our long-term reaction. Yes, there was a major reaction between the bombs going off and the suspects being arrested. Was it an overreaction (which I admit is rather my feeling, but then I'm on the far side of the continent)? Perhaps.

But what it really important, if we are to achieve a "refusal to be terrorized," is what we do now. If we demand extreme and special handling for the suspect, rather than just running him thru the standard legal process, we are embracing being terrorized. If we substantially change laws and regulations in the name of "perfect security," we are embracing being terrorized.

Not to say that it is not worthwhile reviewing our existing methods of watching out for would-be terrorists. But only if we are willing to have the outcome of that review be "the cost of changes which might have prevented this are higher than the benefits, and might not work anyway."

I understand the distress at the lockdown, but I also think it served a second purpose, which is to prevent civilians from doing something stupid. Or prevent police from doing something stupid because they think a civilian is doing something suspicious.

I saw the lockdown as "the fewer people moving, the easier to find the guy(s) who really need to be moving."

I'm not sure whether I should be impressed at how quickly law enforcement managed to find these guys or surprised at how little thought the perps put into what they were going to do after the bombings. Both, I guess.

In any case, I'd give extreme measures a pass in the very short term.

Speak for yourself. I have a ton of friends in Boston, and none of them were terrorised. They just wanted the guy caught.

I put that in the same category as both Bush and Obama's statements that "the United States does not torture." Which is to say, in the same category as there is no cannibalism in the British Navy. Absolutely none, and when I say none, I mean there is a certain amount, more than we are prepared to admit ...

The people of Boston don't seem to have been particularly terrorized, but Fox News and Republican lawmakers were sure acting scared.

Bother. Ugh, my last comment is stuck in the "spam" bucket. Could you get it out? And could you change the Monty Python link to this one: http://www.ibras.dk/montypython/episode32.htm

Doc Sci - got the comment up, will see what I can do about the link. But I think point made either way.

This has been another episode of "Who's 'we,' Kemosabe?"

...or, alternatively, a first cousin of Daffy Duck's "pronoun trouble."

Joshua: Speak for yourself. I have a ton of friends in Boston, and none of them were terrorised. They just wanted the guy caught.

Did they feel free to go out to Dunkin' Donuts during that time?

I think that if I lived in Boston, I would have been more nervous about defying the shut down than about running into one of the bombers.


I can see how having fewer people on the streets would make things easier for law enforcement. On the other hand are we going to do tht eerytime some criminal is on the loose, potentially out to highjack an escape vehicle or take hostages?

So I think the shut down was an overly dramatic over reaction.

As for what Obama said: I don't think politica statemsnt like that are to be taken as factual. The remards were more like setting a standard of how we are supposed to behave. And its a standard I agree with. To me its an implied rebuke to the politicians and media types who wanted to milk the situation for maximum hystteria for their own agendas.

As for the celbratin in the streets over the capture--I see no problem with that. he attacked the city, after all. So why shouldn't people be glad that he got caught?

What should have been done instead?

The lockdown didn't just keep people from walking around outdoors. It also kept people from driving; kept vehicles off the streets.

Tsarnaev's physical condition was unknown at that time. For all anyone knew, he was in good enough shape to snag a vehicle and lam it out of town.

Maybe to grab more bombs and head for New York, as the FBI suggests.

What then?

I think that the way law enforcement handled the aftermath of the Boston bombings was fine.

We've become a nation of performance reviewers. People who have no clue sit around and evaluate the performance of people whose jobs they wouldn't have the first inkling how to do. It goes on over and over here on ObWi.

When any one person here applies for a job as a police person [or an editor, or an Army general, or whatever], maybe I'll have some interest in their analysis.

Politicians are fair game, because we, the voters, are their boss. Government employees are somewhat fair game because we, the taxpayers, pay their salaries. Still, with the latter category, some clue about the zillions of concerns and precautions and worries these folks have in a situation where there's a person on the loose willing to kill or maim hundreds of people at once - I'm happy to give them some room.

I think that the way law enforcement handled the aftermath of the Boston bombings was fine.

I thought it all went fairly well all in all, unless this is true. If that's true, it makes them rather more skittish, vengeful or both than we'd like our officers of the law to be.

Considering the question of whether the lockdown was an overreaction, I wonder how much the police were spooked by Sean Collier's death. It was a horrific and pointless death of course, but the idea of killing a cop just because he's a cop (as opposed to killing people randomly or killing a cop who is chasing you) may have rattled the authorities. Maybe?

Before his memorial service, I was walking to work near MIT and stopped by a motorcade of attendees. The motorcade consisted of a dozen buses, school buses, MBTA buses, and private buses, all filled to the brim with police officers in dress uniform. There were thousands of police officers at the service, and apparently many had come in from out of state.

I'm not criticizing; just pointing out that this seems a bit odd. Unfortunately, police are killed on the job somewhat often in this country. But those deaths don't usually merit thousands of officers streaming in from across the country. So what was it in this case that triggered that change? Was it the fact that Collier was so young? That he didn't get a chance to fight back? Was it just frustration over the bombings?

To me it looks like a controlled 'using a sledgehammer to crack a nut' approach. Instead of a random and panicked 'arrest all Muslims and anyone wearing a basecap' all over the country and a search for a war one could base on the event the government locked down a limited area for a limited amount of time, then fine-combed it. I think it was intended and for the most part worked as a show of strength (not just posturing) to show that 'you won't get way with it here'. The second part that makes the big difference (imo) is that the state of siege got ended as fast as it got instituted. From my point of view it is the RW demagogues that do all they can to spoil the effect by demanding to show all the symptoms of being terrorized.

As an aside: I feel a real sense of panic turned into demagogic ranting from another direction, the black helicopterc crowd. They saw the whole thing as a dress rehearsal for the coming crackdown on them 'it could be you that they hunt down to-morrow. You need to increase your arsenal (and send us another check)'.

I don't think the lockdown particularly "worked", given that the younger brother was only discovered after, and because, it was lifted, and somebody ventured out of their home, and found him. If they'd continued the lockdown another few hours, they might have had a corpse to question.

But given the uncertainty over the state of his health, and how well armed he might be, I don't feel much urge to second guess.

Again, Sapient makes the salient point. The easiest job in the world is someone else's, which makes it so easy to sit in judgment. Hindsight being what it is, the peanut gallery always has the right answer--usually days after the event. No one posted a "how to handle going forward" memo during the search because no one had a clue.

Whether the 'youth' was armed or not could not be known until he was apprehended. Shots had been exchanged earlier, raising the fair presumption that more shots could be exchanged. But, if concernced citizens want to form a group to work, unarmed, with law enforcement and be the first ones to approach one or more suspects holed up in a boat or a house or wherever, so that a bloodless and reasoned exchange could take place, I'd be in favor of giving that program a long period of field testing.

As for the RW contingent going bonkers post-event, and rushing to conclusions, I give you the immediate and near term aftermath of the Gabby Giffords tragedy. Of course, someone will tell how *that* is different.

A guy at large who:

was a participant in a mass bombing
killed a cop while he sat in his cruiser
hijacked a car at gunpoint
led cops on a high-speed gun battle complete with bombs
escaped a police cordon by ramming through it, running over his brother in the process

Boston's a really compact city. All of the towns in the lockdown, including the cities of Boston and Cambridge in their entirety and most nearby towns, are within about a five-mile radius of Watertown. Tsarnaev could have gone anywhere in the lockdown area, on foot, in a couple of hours.

The lockdown was a large response, but it was a large event. I don't really know anyone who lives around Boston who thought it was inappropriate or a badly done. I'm sure folks like that exist, but I haven't met or heard from any of them.

In general, I thought the overall response, from all parties, was competent, appropriate, and effective.

I'm not sure where the question about Tsarnaev being unarmed when he was captured will land. What is definitely true is that cops are clannish. Shoot a cop, and the rules of engagement will likely be interpreted in a way not in your favor from that point forward.

I'm not sure that's a good thing - either the clannishness, or the response - but it's a reality.

"lay blame on "lax" immigration standards so they can be further tightened (those dangerous 8 year old immigrants!)"

With few exceptions, 8-year old boys are terrorists, much like 14-year old girls, and 2-year olds of both sexes.

We can now address damn-near everyone as "former terrorist..."

I don't think the lockdown particularly "worked" given that the younger brother was only discovered after, and because, it was lifted, and somebody ventured out of their home, and found him.

without the lockdown, he might not have had to hide in the boat at all. he might have been able to carjack/steal a car and get the fnck out of Dodge before the cops found him.

with the lockdown, he was forced to stay put, hoping the cops would overlook him until he could escape.

McKinneyTexas, I think the Giffords case was a different thing but that does not necessarily mean that you are wrong. Unfortunately that case also attracted the same insane (or pretending to be so) guys that see the government behind any violent act on Earth (you don't have to dig deep to find the claim that Giffords was a pawn or even a willing participant in a charade for some evil government plan, like grabbing all guns or killing Alex Jones by giving him apoplexy).

I've got thoughts on the comments but going to have to wait until the weekend it seems.

sapient: We've become a nation of performance reviewers. People who have no clue sit around and evaluate the performance of people whose jobs they wouldn't have the first inkling how to do. It goes on over and over here on ObWi.

And yet you saw fit to say: I think that the way law enforcement handled the aftermath of the Boston bombings was fine.

Apparently that doesn't count as a performance review (you should have said "meets expectations," I guess).

Laura: I think that if I lived in Boston, I would have been more nervous about defying the shut down than about running into one of the bombers.

This is, in part, what I was on to. If I fear to leave my abode because of what the authorities might do, then something has gone awry.

I can understand the idea that getting all the people out of the way would leave the fugitive with fewer potential victims for highjacking and give him less cover for just walkiing around. I just don't like the precedent. A few years ago in the Seattle mero area a crazy guy shot several police officers who were having lunch in a cafe. he didn't have a grudge against those particlualr cops--it was a murderous hate crime directed toward cops in general. Then he ran off. There was a big man hunt and the potential that the guy would take a hostage or highjack a car, but thewhole metro area didn't get shut down.

Murderous rampages happen. If the armed killer is out on the loose, should cities be shut down?

I can't see doing this every time some crazy person/ mean person/ terrorist person decides to kill random strangers and then runs away.

In my mind its part of that refusal to live in fear.

Performance reviews.

The Soviet Union had the KGB.

We have each other.

I can't see doing this every time some crazy person/ mean person/ terrorist person decides to kill random strangers and then runs away.

I can see doing it when the guy is throwing pressure cooker bombs wherever. I'd prefer not to have had another several people killed and many more with legs blown off, and am really glad that the guys' other bombs and bullets didn't do more harm than they did.

Crazy rampages will happen, no doubt, but I'm hoping that crazy rampages with IEDs aren't going to become a constant part of life that we just walk by and try to ignore (except those of us who are lying there without limbs). I "get" the stiff upper lip phenomenon - those Brits did set a high standard and all. But c'mon - some lives were probably saved from closing things down. That's a good thing.

As to the performance review, Ugh, my larger point is that once the bombings happened, the actions of the police probably saved some lives in that the guys were planning to do a lot more damage. Obviously, they didn't stop the guys from killing the police officer. But the other explosives that they had didn't kill anyone, and that was probably because of how the situation was handled.

But the folks here would probably have done better, because most of us are probably cops in our spare time when we're not being editors or Army generals.

Come to think of it, why do we need police anyway? These guys would probably have gotten bored with killing folks after awhile. The survivors should have just ignored them and gone on with their business. Being worried about them killing and dismembering more people just gave them the gratification they wanted.

'The folks here…'

Is it really difficult to understand why this doesn't help your argument? Why do you keep using it when it has been pointed out it is 1) rude and 2) mistaken?

Sorry, lj, but I don't consider it rude. Perhaps it's overgeneralizing. but naming each comment to which I'm referring seems a bit much. I think "the folks here" are extremely bright people (sorry if I'm overgeneralizing here) who can tell if I'm referring to their points. The people whose points I have agreed with can also discern that.

People who don't seem to have been particularly put out by the large response to the bombing are those who live near the area. (russell comes to mind.) I'm sure there are exceptions, perhaps many. But the handling of the situation seems to have satisfied the people who were most directly affected. (Not to mention that the police didn't hurt anybody, except the guy who was throwing bombs at them.)

I'm sorry that I don't have the same etiquette sensibilities that you do, lj, but this is a blog where there should be some tolerance of people's rhetorical style.

As Laura said, we live in a society where madmen killing and maiming large numbers of people is becoming a fairly regular event. Even still, I'm against treating the events as "normal."

Just a couple of observations. First, it really isn't that big of a deal to shut down Boston/Cambridge/Watertown/Allston/Brighton.

It happens a couple of times a year for snow. I am not being flip, it may be much more unnatural to shut down, say, Atlanta. The mayor in Boston and the Governor have a shut down procedure that they use regularly. The purpose of which is to allow the city/state employees unfettered access to the roads. It just seems an easier mental transition to "let's let them find the bomber" than it might be in other places.

Which leads to my second point, they were bombers. They had bombed the marathon, they had thrown IED's at the cops. The older brother was strapped with a bomb when shot to death. (true or not that was what was believed at the time). So, comparing this manhunt to almost any other kind of criminal manhunt is unrealistic. From a police/security viewpoint the potential for another bomb is significantly more worrisome than a manhunt for almost anything else. Up to and including when they had him trapped in a boat, not wanting anyone to get blown up trying to arrest him.

Third, there was a precipitating event for the shutdown. A cop was shot, a barricade was run, IED's were thrown, a probable perimeter was established by events. No one shut down the city just so they could look for someone. There was an event that caused them to believe the danger was "right now".

All together those things seem to support what happened. It's not really a report card, just a pov.

In my mind its part of that refusal to live in fear.

I hear you, but the general flavor of the shutdown - i.e., the subjective experience of living in the area during the shutdown - was less "living in fear" and more "let's get this done".

I.e., if that's the most effective way to find the guy, then do it.

It might be worth an after-the-fact review to consider whether it was, in fact, the most effective way, but that's sort of a different question.

Shorter me: what Marty said.

Look sapient, I'm not asking you to enumerate everyone who has an opinion that you are disagreeing with, I'm just asking that you stop with the 'you folks here'.

If you feel so rhetorically constrained by that simple request, you may want to consider why that is the case. I realize that there can be a certain thrill when it feels like it is you (not you in particular, that's the generic you) against the world and you are holding them off by the force of your arguments, but to my mind, it just serves to raise the temperature. If you are really unable to frame a comment without using that construction, I'm certainly not going to ban you for it, but it does call into question your ability to discern differences of opinion.

Well, it isn't like I sit up nights worrying about whether or not the Boston police did the right thing. I'm sure they were acting in good faith.

I can see how shut downs would be seen more readily as an option in a place wshere it already happens for other reasons. A shut down would be extraordiary where I live. Sometimes snow shuts everything down, but rarely, and the shut down is voluntary. The news says the schools are closed so everyone who can goes back to bed. In fact, my own opinion as a Midwesterner, is that people out here are weather wimps and milk the least bit of snow for the maximum of skipping out on work.

Still I am concerned abut the hyperventilating and about how the hyperventaliting gets used to incrementally chip away at our social norms so we get a new normal of increased governmental power. In other words, as I said, I think the Boston police were acting in good faith. But the next police department might not be.

I'm a lot more upset about the consequences to our society of the yellow journalism that mainfested itself over the event. The attempt to promote fear in order to increase viewer time, so cynical, so poisonous.

I've tried to imagine how I would feel if a bomber was running around where I live. It's conceiveable. I live in an area infested by Ron Paul die-hards with lots of access to fertilizer. Suppose one of them blew up the courthouse and escaped?

Well given the geography, road blocks would be more effective than a shut down. However, what would it be like to have an anoucement that businesses will be closed and peole should stay home?

I wouldn't mind at all if it was a choice. In fact i would very much appreciate the warning. But I would mind being told that busiesses had to close and people had to stay home.

Let's run a different scenario.Down at the Capital there was a tent city of Occupiers. Let's suppose the police moved in beat up a buch of people threw tear gass all over the place and then shots were fired. Then Shut down! All busiesses close! Everyone off the streets!

That's like a scenario from Soviet-occupied Poland.


So, no I am not comparing the Boston cops to the KGB! I'm not even criticizing them. I'm just worried about the slippery slope.

"Let's run a different scenario.Down at the Capital there was a tent city of Occupiers. Let's suppose the police moved in beat up a buch of people threw tear gass all over the place and then shots were fired. Then Shut down! All busiesses close! Everyone off the streets!"

That would be bad, and it's really far down the slippery slope. I am not sure the cops get applause that day.

We've become a nation of performance reviewers

No we haven't. A nation of performance reviewers is the very definition of a democracy. The US hasn't been a democracy for quite some time. Your dollars count but your votes don't.

I have a ton of friends in Boston, and none of them were terrorised

I haven't heard about any protest over the imposition of martial law due to a couple of douchebags with pipe bombs. If you accept the imposition of martial law over a couple of douchebags with pipe bombs, you were terrorised.

Keep calm and carry on, that's a good rule of thumb. In the US apparently we now freak out and shut things down.

Complete submission to the terrorists, and to the people who will use your fear for their purposes.

Complete cowardice. Makes me ashamed to be an American.

I don't think Sapient was wrong or rude. I agree with him. Broad, sweeping and pejorative criticisms of aspects of Americana that are disfavored in the progressive narrative are routinely made, often out of gross ignorance, and the general chorus is 'alleluia'. There is some nuance amongest lefties here, but minimal actual leftish push back other than Sapient.

As for rudeness, there is more than one lefty commenter here who fits that description, with virtually no intervention by the headliners. Having been on the receiving end for years, it doesn't bother me at all until I see someone called out for not playing nice with the left. *That* is an issue.

Complete submission to the terrorists, and to the people who will use your fear for their purposes.

Except one guy is dead, and the other guy is in jail. And, with the exception of MIT cop Sean Collier, nobody was injured or killed after the initial bombing.

And everybody has gone on about the business of helping the folks who were harmed, and/or otherwise on with their lives.

It was a big deal for a week, now it's done, and life is going on. And, is going on as it was before, with no dramatic change. No public gatherings or events have been cancelled, Boylston is open to unfettered public access, next year the Marathon will run as planned.

And the turnout will likely be huge, just to send a big "FU" to the Tsarnaevs and folks like them.

So, I'm not sure "their purposes" have really been fulfilled.

I have no problem with anyone who says they wouldn't want the cops in their area to handle it the way the Boston cops handled it. What's practical and effective here wouldn't necessarily be in other places.

To each his own.

But AFAICT folks here were generally fine with the shutdown.

That may strike you as knuckling under to the will of the terrorists and/or the fell hand of the tyrannical state. To most folks here, I think it just felt like doing what needed to be done.

Everybody's got their own way of going about stuff. LIve your life as you wish, we'll do the same.

As for rudeness, there is more than one lefty commenter here who fits that description,

It is unclear what 'that description' is. If it's that there are some people who make broad pejorative criticisms of the US, I'll admit that. However, I think that the US will survive the opprobrium of the commentariat here, as withering as it may be.

But I am trying to get at a specific problem I have, which is trying to lump everyone here into one barrel. I note this as someone who is sympathetic to the points sapient has made and has defended them from time to time. But he continues to make that point in a way that is designed to start a fight. He starts with

It goes on over and over here on ObWi.

I let that one pass, but then

But the folks here would probably have done better, because most of us are probably cops in our spare time when we're not being editors or Army generals.

As sapient hasn't revealed that he is a cop, nor an editor or an Army general, what precisely does that mean? Perhaps there is some other reason, but it sure seems to me like he's taking the objections he's had to things Dr. Science has written and transferring them to Ugh. And that's BS, pure and simple. And if he doesn't realize that, he's being stupid and he's being rude.

People are responsible for their own words, and though I often make jokes about the hive mind here, it is simply wrong to attack Ugh, (whose particular journey to his point of view is actually rather interesting) because he is posting on the same blog as someone who salient disagrees with. I'm not sure why that is so difficult to comprehend.

I do realize that the weight of opinion here is tilted to one side of the political spectrum here. But that doesn't give people who feel they are in the minority (and I use the word 'feel' here because it isn't really clear to me that salient is as much in the minority as he obviously feels he is, given this, this and this) the right to defend their view by trying to weigh someone down with someone else's words.

In sum, if you think you are the only person in the room who realizes there is a problem, you may want to consider how you are presenting it, cause if it is so overwhelmingly obvious, there must be something wrong with your delivery. And, believe it or not, prefacing a point with variations on 'you people are idiots' could be a problem.

I haven't heard about any protest over the imposition of martial law due to a couple of douchebags with pipe bombs.

when was martial law imposed ?

lj, As I mentioned, I did use the word "you" loosely, with the expectation that the people I was addressing would be able to identify themselves, and the people that I wasn't addressing would know that they were not included in the term. I'm sorry that you were offended.

Speaking of attributing attitudes and words to people who didn't say them, I've never prefaced a comment with "you people are idiots".

I don't have any particular problem with what the cops did in Boston--maybe I didn't follow it closely enough. I happen to agree that if it was necessary to inconvenience people to stop further killings, a little inconvenience is okay. Not sure where the line is--sometimes things are more gray than sharply delineated.

But I do object to sapient's bizarre and anti-democratic notion that we have to be cops or Army generals to criticize the way cops or Army generals do their jobs. If anything, we're a little too deferential to the military and the police in our society. There's some happy medium from being a lefty who spits on vets (leaving aside the question of how often that actually happened) and sapient's position.

"we live in a society where madmen killing and maiming large numbers of people is becoming a fairly regular event"

We also live in a society where we do these things to others and don't investigate our own actions or punish high-ranking wrongdoers. Where little things like war crimes are just issues we have to move past. I support the police doing their jobs, catching murderers before they kill again, but I suspect there's a relationship between how the Boston murders got front page treatment day after day, while the recent report that said the US was guilty of torture got a few days of exposure and then seems to have vanished--

link

I mean, if we lived in a democracy where we took our professed values seriously, there would be discussions everywhere in the mainstream press and among our politicians about that report and what we should do about it. There'd be talk of investigations and possible criminal prosecutions for those responsible, not just on some stupid blog, but out in the real world. We'd be able to look at both the Boston bombings and our own atrocities at the same time. But so far that doesn't seem to be happening. What a surprise.

Okay, I just posted something a few minutes ago and it's not up. It contained one link--maybe it was placed in the spam file. I'll see what happens to this one.

For my own part, I'll confess to frequent idiocy, even consistent idiocy.

I can understand others here being insulted by insinuating comparisons to my high standards of idiocy.

It may be that everyone here has occasional lapses into idiocy, but the beauty of OBWI, rather than it being a hive mind, is that each of us lapses at different times.

But if you think you are being MORE idiotic than I am at any particular moment, than you just experienced a lapse into idiocy.

I'm confident it's a temporary phenomenon.

When it seems like I'm referring to "you people", what I really mean is "those people, over there" in the really superlative hive minds whose collective bees dance in allergy fever lockstep when the political pollen is in season.

Fine, sapient, rather than 'you people are idiots', how about variations of 'you people are (always?) wrong' or 'here, you do the same things over and over'. It's reductive and it tends to produce the kind of reaction you see. And I should stress, I'm not offended, I'm just trying to keep the place ticking over without any major incidents. Even if I wanted to (and I don't) I couldn't catch everything. But I've just said that I'd try to step in a bit more on this sort of stuff. Maybe you missed that comment, but I hope you will note it.

But returning to the matter at hand, here are the first lines of the first 4 comments of this post:
I think it is important to differentiate between our reaction in the immediate aftermath of the event and our long-term reaction.

I understand the distress at the lockdown, but I also think it served a second purpose, which is to prevent civilians from doing something stupid.

I saw the lockdown as "the fewer people moving, the easier to find the guy(s) who really need to be moving."

Speak for yourself. I have a ton of friends in Boston, and none of them were terrorised. They just wanted the guy caught.

Now ask yourself. What exactly is it that we do over and over here at ObWi? As I said, I'm not upset, it's just that to make an accusation when the evidence in the very thread you are posting in refutes your accusation, you are simply creating the conditions that undermine any useful points you make.

ps, I just freed Donald's comment, again with no idea why it got caught up. But if anyone writes something and you (that means everyone who is posting here) don't see it, put a shorter comment and I'll try to get to it as soon as possible

I'm going to take your point, lj, and drop out of this exchange. I explained what I was doing. You have somewhat misinterpreted my meaning, and I apologize for making it unclear what I was actually saying.

That said, I think that your monitoring the thread to avoid "major incidents" tends to derail the conversation, when most people understand that some of the people here have quirky rhetorical habits. And, sure, arguments happen here. It's called engaging with people you feel are worthy of your time, but you don't agree with. It's worthwhile, at least, IMO. And it doesn't constitute a "major incident".

The crime rate in Berlin was probably never lower than it was in 1939. Mobs of Brownshirts roaming the streets would be a big disincentive to burglars. But it doesn't mean it was a good idea.

But I do object to sapient's bizarre and anti-democratic notion that we have to be cops or Army generals to criticize the way cops or Army generals do their jobs. If anything, we're a little too deferential to the military and the police in our society.

Just want to respond to this portion of Donald's comment: I think that we should be absolutely free and profuse in our criticism of cops and Army generals, but I think that we should do so by figuring out 1) what their job is, 2) what their options are, 3) what the consequences of alternative actions are, etc. I don't think it's fair to blame Army generals for political policies, such as the Iraq war. I do think it's fair to blame an army general for allowing people under his command to break the law without facing consequences. Etc.

Back to the current controversy: if police had manhandled people on the street, or had shot at people because they looked like the perpetrators, or had engaged in other acts of police brutality, etc., I think that a huge public outcry would be appropriate (in addition to consequences faced by the bad cops). This didn't happen. All that happened was that people were inconvenienced.

Maybe there was a better way to handle it even so. And if there was, the critics should come forward, and describe it, including describing the consequences of the alternative strategy, and whether those consequences would have been worth it. I'm not against criticism of authority. I'm against knee-jerk criticism of authority without analysis of the facts.

hidflect, I rather doubt that, although the Nazis tried to give that impression. Newspapers were not allowed to talk about it (unless specfically ordered to do so for a narrow purpose) and the crime statistics were highly classified and got manipulated even internally. The later GDR did the same btw. Certain crimes officially did not exist, although they were rampant. If one believed official GDR statistics there were zero cases of rape and no suicides since such things do not happen under true socialism.
Experience from both dictatorships shows that even with draconic punishments (death for petty theft during WW2) and seemingly total surveillance crime does not necessarily go down, although the pattern usually changes. There were some quite spectacular cases during the 3rd Reich where it took years to catch certain criminals, although it became a top priority. At least one serial killer probably never got caught (and some innocent mentally ill person got executed instead just to get the case off the books).

For the record: I am a born resident of Berlin (West).

As a Boston resident, I'll just chime in to agree with Russell (and add that my husband disagrees).

Another reason why shelter in place seemed reasonable to me was that I listened to the TV broadcast of the hundreds of bullets being exchanged. Previously, I had witnessed from a safe distance another fusillade against a kid engaged in a prank, who wound up very dead. When the cops are on a murderous manhunt, one does not want to get in their way.

The purpose of all the smoke detectors in your house is not to save your property or your neighbors property. They are there to wake you up and get you and your family out of the house before you all perish from smoke inhalation.
The purpose of smoke detectors in commercial buildings that spend many hours a day unoccupied is to notify the fire department their service is needed ASAP. The detectors must be monitored and in this situation were the building contained explosive material the detectors should have been linked direct to the Fire Dept. By the time someone notices the smoke billowing in the sky it's too late.

Bah, smoke detectors are just tools of the vice squad and the tobacco-foes. And don't forget that there is radioactive material in them that wannabe dirty bombers can use.

Joke aside, the latter has actually been tried. But the cops grew suspicious about the guy collecting hundreds of the things and got him before he could even try to assemble his spiked IED.

sorry, I sent my comment to the wrong posting. Was meant for the Texas tragedy. opps

Perhaps I overstated my case.

What I lay out in the paragraph after the blockquote points to, if anything, people being terrorized and intimidated, as does what's in the next paragraph.

It was never clear to me whether "shelter in place" was, from a legal standpoint, an order or a request. It was clear, however, that if you were going to go wandering about Watertown and the surrounding areas the greatest threat to your health and safety was not Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

We'll see what kind of precedent this sets for reacting (maybe none), and what lessons future terrorists have learned.

It was never clear to me whether "shelter in place" was, from a legal standpoint, an order or a request.

It was a request. But since the government shut down the public transit system and many many businesses shut down, it didn't really matter. I mean, let's say I wanted to ignore the request. I can walk to work, but the building was closed. Almost all the local restaurants were closed. Gas stations were closed. What does it matter if you're free to walk about the city if everything is closed?

"I don't think it's fair to blame Army generals for political policies, such as the Iraq war. I do think it's fair to blame an army general for allowing people under his command to break the law without facing consequences. Etc."

Okay, no problem with that.

Turb - agree with you there. Although, it's still nice to go for a run (or, in my case, get the kids outside).

Looking back through the coverage, agree it seems it was a "request," but one backed up with "prepare to have guns pointed at you if you go outside."

This kind of thing is in part why I'm focused on the reaction in Boston.

It's the latest violence to strike Iraq, where nearly 200 people have been killed and hundreds more wounded in bomb blasts and gunfights across the country since April 23.

That would be in the past week.

Accomplices!

Feh.

I've tried to imagine myself in a place near where a bomb went off--how would I feel? Obviously scared. Probably angry. But I think not as scared as I felt one night about thrity years ago when I friend and I got stranded in the Detriot Am Trak station. I thought we might die that night. I thought someone might try to kill me. Me. Not kill people in general with the possibility of one of those people being me. I'm pretty sure that there were people in the statio that night who would kill any woman they could get their hands on or any man they thought might have some money, and there we were: prey.

What does this have got do wtih Boston? Not much. People get to feel how they feel and I'm not going to judge. I just think my own reation would have been to feel sorry about the suffering, relieved that I survived, resent the shutdown, cheer the capture of the asshole, be angered by people who tried to exploit the incident for commercial or political advantage, and to recognize that there are plenty of places, including in the US, that are a lot more dangerous than Boston.

And I feel priviliged that I don't live in one of those chronically dangerous places. Lucky. Grateful.

Everybody seems to have run out of steam. You don't seem to have read the same reviews of the situation that I have, though one link hinting at alternative accounts did surface. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/24/boston-bombing-suspect-unarmed_n_3150723.html

False Flags, Fake Blood, and Michelle Obama: A Guide to the ...
www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/04/boston-marathon-conspiracies/‎
Apr 23, 2013 – Forget everything you thought you knew about the Boston bombings. The real ... “There is clear evidence of false flag staging here,” he wrote.
NH State Rep. Suggests Boston Bombing Was 'False Flag' Conspiracy
livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/.../nh-state-rep-suggests-boston-bombin...‎
Apr 23, 2013 – A Republican state representative in New Hampshire posted a video by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Facebook last week suggesting the ...
Back to Back C-span Callers: Boston Marathon Bombing a False ...
www.infowars.com/back-to-back-c-span-callers-boston-marathon-bombi...‎
Apr 22, 2013 – This past weekend, CSpan received consecutive calls from people concerned that the Boston Marathon bombings were a false flag attack.
FBI's Boston Bombing False Flag - A CLOSER LOOK! - YouTube
► 60:01► 60:01
www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ0DGh4fNy0
Apr 25, 2013
NH State Rep. Claims Boston Marathon Bombings Were A 'False Flag'
www.ibtimes.com/nh-state-rep-claims-boston-marathon-bombings-were-...‎
Apr 24, 2013 – Republican New Hampshire State Rep. Stella Tremblay believes the United States government may have orchestrated the Boston Marathon ...
Northerntruthseeker: Boston Marathon False Flag Attack: Proof That ...
northerntruthseeker.blogspot.com/.../boston-marathon-false-flag-attack-p...‎
Apr 23, 2013 – Boston Marathon False Flag Attack: Proof That "Craft" Security Firm Did The Bombing? I received an email from a friend just a few hours ago ...
Boston Bombing: Anatomy of a False Flag - Mathaba.Net
www.mathaba.net/news/?x=632851
Apr 21, 2013 – False flags are an American tradition. They go way back. The Boston bombings appear the latest. More on that below. Notable earlier false ...

Guess I'd never make a pundit. I prefer to research matters rather than idly speculate about what if'a.

Gotta be some Polish army uniforms around here somewhere.

Could be Chinese...

Remember when 9/11 was a false flag operation? Good times.

You don't seem to have read the same reviews of the situation that I have

What I heard was that the Tsarnaevs were audioanimatronic holographic demons sent back in time from the future by Lex Luthor, to try to freak everybody out and thus drive down the price of Back Bay Boston real estate, so that he could get a really good deal on a condo over on Exeter St in the year 2027.

It could be true. Can you disprove it?

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