security theater, martial law, and a tale that trumps every cop-and-donut joke you've ever heard

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258 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    Yesterday I had a software problem at work. The company help desk couldn't fix the problem and wanted to kick it to the vendor, who happened to have their offices in the locked down part of Boston. As a result, I've got work sitting on my desk which won't be touched until Monday when I call the help desk and they call the vendor. So even though I'm nowhere near Boston the lockdown caused me inconvenience and cost my company some money through lost time.

  2. Anthony Cunningham says:

    "I'm glad that the two murderous cowards who attacked civilians in Boston recently are off the streets. "

    Really? They've been tried and convicted in the last 24 hours?

  3. Clark says:

    Really? They've been tried and convicted in the last 24 hours?

    Uh…what?

    What are you objecting to – the "two murderous cowards" part? Are you saying that I should have been more circumspect in guessing that the bloody guy hiding in a boat instead of calling for an ambulance might actually be a perpetrator?

    Or are you saying that when I said "off the streets" I'm somehow wrong, and one or both of them are still running around free?

  4. Maddy says:

    It's all good, those brains were on reddit, sorting out the world from there.

    (the donut shops is a brilliant example of self-serving decision making. At least it's transparent. I suppose.

  5. Patrick says:

    What Anthony means is that we have only the government's word (and copious crowdsourced photographic evidence) that the Tsarnaev brothers are in fact the guilty parties.

    They could be a pair of wild and crazy guys from Chechnya, as innocent as Richard Jewell.

    Now I don't believe that's what the Tsarnaev brothers are (I do trust the the crowdsourced work of 4chan and Reddit, and I don't believe the government always lies), but that's his point.

  6. C. N. Nevets says:

    The whole idea of a lockdown for a manhunt of one individual is almost beyond comprehension and, as far as I can tell, remains without explanation. An order was given with due gravity and people obeyed.

    It's either theater or there was something else afoot that they were trying to manage that has not been revealed.

  7. Zac says:

    People can argue the intent of the founding fathers, but I think all can agree that one of the founding principles of this country is checks and balances? It is the fundamental thing that differentiates our form of government. As such, I believe, that every amendment to the Constitution must be read with that fundamental principle in mind.

    You bring up a very important issue that has been missing from the gun control debate. Checks and Balances, is not just a process for how different branches of our government work, but is also the process by which The People keep the Government itself in check, and balanced.

    With the vast array of weaponry that I saw on display yesterday (being used in a domestic situation, btw); I'm starting to better understand what's at stake, in this "debate".

  8. Clark says:

    @E:

    Respectfully disagree.
    http://desmondandmollyjones.wordpress.com/2013/04/20/boston-strong/

    Read the whole thing.

    Don't see what there supports "I disagree".

    With which of my points do you disagree, and why?

  9. Mary Sue says:

    Did you have to go for the fat hate? Jesus, how does ice cream hurt? Is it made of ground glass? Why are you eating ice cream with ground glass?

    Stick with the law, you're not a doctor.

  10. Steve says:

    It is a clear deterrent to future terrorist attacks in Boston. "Do not commit terrorist acts in Boston, because we will shut down the entire Boston area to catch you."

    aka, terrorists, lower hanging fruit in other cities!

    also, i do not begrudge the cops some dunkies. They put in long hours, and there is always the intangible morale issue. Boston truly does run on Dunkin.

  11. David says:

    @Clark, you fail to notice the contradiction in your reasoning here:

    Third, keeping citizens off the street meant that 99% of the eyes and brains that might solve a crime were being wasted….

    We had thousands of police going door-to-door, searching houses…and yet not one of them saw the evidence that a citizen did just minutes after the lock-down ended.

    Keeping citizens from going to work, etc., didn't "waste" their eyes and brains; it distributed their eyes and brains across the broad area of interest where the suspect was in hiding. If everyone had gone to work, as usual, then their eyes and brains would've been spatially concentrated, and the area of interest would have had less coverage, not more.

    Concretely, the person who noticed a change in the state of his or her backyard boat wouldn't have done so– wouldn't have been able to do so– if he or she had been away at work or out on the town.

    The crime is spatially central; we want a crowd so their eyes and brains can participate in crowdsourcing the concentrated malevolence. The flight is spatially peripheral; we want diffusion so their eyes and brains provide maximal coverage.

    The fact that the anomaly was sighted "just minutes after the lockdown ended" is irrelevant, since the end of the lockdown contributed nothing to the sighting; the sighting and concomitant report occurred at home by someone who was no longer technically locked down, but was home because s/he had been.

    I appreciate your broader point; that's why I don't want to see it feebly buttressed by illusory or ill-conceived lines of argument.

  12. Patrick says:

    Stick with the law, you're not a doctor.

    Clark is not a lawyer.

    Clark actually IS a doctor.

  13. InMD says:

    Having lived through the DC Sniper incident (and for that matter spending my entire life in close proximity to Washington DC and Baltimore, where there is considerable violence on a weekly basis) I can say I was totally perplexed by the response to this. Really it's a terrible statement about how easy it has become for the authorities and media to cow people into submission with the fear of incredibly remote dangers.

    It also sets a really terrible precedent. I don't see how this country is going to continue to function if we're going to shut down major cities over a handful of murders.

  14. Steve says:

    @MarySue

    how ice cream hurts: http://www.calorieking.com/foods/calories-in-ice-cream-original-vanilla_f-ZmlkPTEwNDk5Mw.html

    That being said, my favorite quotable quote… “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

  15. Clark says:

    @Mary Sue:
    > Did you have to go for the fat hate?

    I've been in shape. I've been fat. I've been very fat. I've been very VERY fat.

    I don't hate fat people.

    I think that most of the "concern" for fitness we see in the media is just status whoring for self-aggrandization.

    I don't think it's easy to lose weight.

    …but that said, I stand entirely by my statement: if you're 200 lbs overweight, an additional 1,000 calories of high glycemic index snack is not a good thing.

  16. David says:

    The crowdsourcing at Reddit, btw, failed to produce anything noteworthy other than the branding of the two suspects hats (Bridgestone and Polo).

    When somebody turned up with a photo that incidentally included suspect #2 rounding a corner, the consensus at Reddit was to deem it a photoshop… until someone beyond that realm finally traced it back to an innocuous facebook posting and confirmed its authenticity.

    The crowdsourcing produced a long list of suspects who had nothing in common with the actual perps other than backpack possession and marathon attendance, but utterly failed even to spot these two in the crowd shots.

    Why the praise of Reddit for effective data mining? Looks a lot more like failure and chaos, no?

  17. Steve says:

    @InMD Yep, other cities should totally act rationally.

    (note to terrorists: we're wicked hardcore in boston)

  18. Clark says:

    @Patrick:

    Clark actually IS a doctor.

    Well, yes. …but I never claimed I've got an MD.

  19. Clark says:

    @David:

    Why the praise of Reddit for effective data mining?

    I never mentioned Reddit nor did I praise it.

    I said

    It was thousands of citizen photographs that helped break this case

    and I stand by that.

    @David:

    Keeping citizens from going to work, etc., didn't "waste" their eyes and brains; it distributed their eyes

    If the cops had said to citizens "check out your yard, check out your garage, look around your neighborhood", I'd agree with you.

    In fact, it wasn't until the cops gave up on finding the guy in Watertown and ended the lock-down, and people were free to wander around their neighborhoods as they would usually be at 6pm after work that they suspect was found.

  20. Ian says:

    If we assume a main goal of terror is to cause disruption and spread fear, "lockdown" is exactly what they want. Regardless of the motives and background of these suspects, this sends the message to any future terrorists that two stoners with relatively little training can indeed shut down a major city for an entire workday, causing millions of dollars in economic losses.

    I understand shutting down the area where the gunfight had occurred and where the suspect was supposedly hiding (though it's worth pointing out that he was outside the perimeter they had set up, which is why he wasn't found when they searched every property inside said perimiter). But stopping business downtown, which is six miles away, because a tired, likely wounded 19-year-old with no resources and with a dead brother who seemed to be the mastermind of the operation? An incredible overreaction.

  21. InMD says:

    Steve,

    Be careful what you wish for. Maybe there's an argument out there that this was a rational use of resources and sacrifice by the population. Just be advised that you've given the authorities an excuse to essentially impose martial law for a handful of murders. Even if you agree with it in this instance you may not the next time it happens.

    From my perspective hardcore would be continuing to go about your daily business in spite of heinous acts by murderous people. Not hiding in your homes while a bunch of armed bureaucrats bang on doors and wave guns around. That's just me though.

  22. Nick says:

    Excellent write up.

  23. David says:

    @Clark,

    One factor your comparison to other crimes in other places neglects is the scale of potential escalation.

    Yes, "only" 4 people died– common in many urban centers in any given week. But many more were gruesomely injured, and (most importantly) the methodology of destruction in Boston (indiscriminate targeting of crowds, explosives) differs relevantly from the methodology of destruction behind, say, a shooting in Baltimore (selective targeting of individuals, bullets).

    Whether the perpetrators of the crime intended to escalate their destructive enterprise was an unknown factor. Escalation in the case of explosives targeting random crowds is a much worse potential event than escalation in the case of gangland shootings.

    When the police received their first concrete evidence of whether and how the perps might escalate– during the shootout in the early hours of that crazy, dramatic night– it was in the form of additional explosives (a pipe bomb? another pot bomb?). This fact lends greater weight, not lesser, to the idea that the potential escalation of the crime could grievously harm, maim, or kill many more.

    So yeah– if raw number of fatal casualties were the only decision-relevant factors, then your comparisons would be well formed. But raw number of fatal casualties is not, and should not be, the only factor relevant to a decision about how to contain, answer, and negate a potential imminent threat.

  24. Clark says:

    @David:

    > One factor your comparison to other crimes in other places neglects is the scale of potential escalation.

    This is an excellent point, and one I made post 9/11, arguing that terrorism was a big deal, and that the comparison of traffic fatalities to terrorism was a bad one, and that terrorism deserved a much BIGGER response than did traffic fatalities.

    With that in mind, note that I never once said "1,000 cops on the street is a bad idea".

    I am in favor of grossly disproportionate responses to terrorism, because a killer can keep on killing (and because there's game theory involved: to some degree, the size of our response deters future terrorists).

    I limited my criticism to the lock-down component of the response, and I stand by that.

  25. David says:

    @David:

    "Why the praise of Reddit for effective data mining?"
    I never mentioned Reddit nor did I praise it.

    Why do you think my question about Reddit was addressed to you in particular? It wasn't; I was responding in general to at least two commenters who had spoken favorably in that vein. Your denial is off point.

    I said

    "It was thousands of citizen photographs that helped break this case"
    and I stand by that.

    While crowdsourcing data (as opposed to interpretation of data) was effective, it's a technique that would have contributed little or nothing to apprehending the fleeing perp– especially if potential data gatherers had been concentrated rather than evenly distributed across the residential areas to which the perp had fled!

    The people, God love 'em, are great as gathering data, ok at culling relevant content from gathered data, and miserably weak at interpreting data. Folks like the woman in the article you cite are examples of the first two; the reddit forum illustrates the third.

    That's why declaring defiantly that you stand by your statement (which nobody challenged in the first place) achieves nothing; it's off topic when it comes to my remark about Reddit.

    @David:

    "Keeping citizens from going to work, etc., didn't 'waste' their eyes and brains; it distributed their eyes"

    If the cops had said to citizens 'check out your yard, check out your garage, look around your neighborhood', I'd agree with you.

    We do not know just what instructions were given to the people whose homes were systematically swept. Reports suggest that the home with the boat had been cleared earlier, before the perp discovered his nautical inclinations, and that the homeowner was paying special attention precisely because he was "involved" in the undertaking. (How many people go out to check their tarped backyard boat casually or at random?)

    In fact, it wasn't until the cops gave up on finding the guy in Watertown and ended the lock-down, and people were free to wander around their neighborhoods as they would usually be at 6pm after work that they suspect was found.

    True as a matter of chronology, this point is irrelevant as support for your argument. It was indeed "after" people were free that one of them called in a report; but it was not because they were again free that he or she did so.

  26. Kelly says:

    Honestly, had the MO of the alleged suspects been anything but explosives, I don't think a lockdown would have been as effective. Am I the only one that remembers that there were other explosive devices found during the sweep of Watertown? I would NOT have wanted to be the one responsible for the decision to lockdown or not and decide 'no' only to have more people grievously injured by more explosives.

  27. David says:

    @Clark

    I limited my criticism to the lock-down component of the response, and I stand by that.

    Good! We're making progress.

    As a side note: "grossly disproportionate" isn't a great way to describe massive police response, if the circumstance to which they're responding rationally calls for it. The proportional calibration is, I think, better understood and characterized as "asymmetrical". In other words, "proportion" doesn't automatically commit us to a function from one perp to one cop, or from one weapon to one countermeasure.

    Rhetorical point aside, I'll note that you're almost there. You grant that an asymmetrical response is wholly appropriate in the event of terrorism. Now all you need is to realize that the lockdown, far from impeding, well, anything, was the precise vector by means of which they successfully apprehended the dude.

    Again– the fact that people were (roughly) evenly distributed across the entire residential domain and were giving their full attention to this issue (having few alternatives) is precisely why the perp was unable to snake away in the shadows. There were multiple observers at every home, by every yard, at every waypoint, and on every street. Not metaphorically; literally.

    Absent the lockdown, his chance of escape would've been much higher.

  28. Library Nachos says:

    This is Boston and it's not surprising how this city reacted in this instance.

    1-31-07: Never Forget.

  29. Mike in AZ says:

    I couldn't believe how many law enforcement people were just standing around chatting it up with no real purpose other than watching what's going on. Then again, Massachusetts state troopers have a core competency in watching pothole repair, but since construction was halted, they didn't have a chance to make their overtime this week doing detail.

    I agree, shutting down a city to catch a 19 year old kid was complete overkill and I think the message Boston sent the terrorist community may only encourage more of the same on the future.

  30. RDD Guy says:

    It has begun to circulate on the interwebs: The suspect is going to be questioned without a Miranda warning, citing a "public safety exception". Would Popehat please elucidate what the exact exception is, who has the discretion to say that there is "objectively reasonable need to protect the police or the public from immediate danger", and what (if any) judicial oversight is involved. Could there be a pre-trial motion in limine in Mr. Tsarnaev's future?

  31. Albert says:

    At the Boston Marathon site, *three* people were killed. It’s been common for years that 2-3 people at a time get killed on the streets of Boston due to violent crime. What was different this time — maybe that the victims were white, and killed in the high rent district of Back Bay, instead of the unfashionable Roxbury/Dorchester neighbourhoods? Can non-whites finally expect that crimes against people of their ethnic backgrounds will finally be taken as seriously? Will we see the SWAT team cruising around the 'hood now, taking the "everyday" thugs off the streets? Look around: that daily dose of violence is every bit as terrible as what the Marathon Bombers did. Untimely death sucks, no matter what the root cause, but we saw a massively disproportionate response to a death toll that was really unremarkable for local violent crime.

    When it came down to it, the bombers failed. Yes, they maimed dozens of people. But two bombs packed with shrapnel only yielded three deaths, despite the explosions being located in a very crowded place. I'm not sure this was blind luck. Yes, there were many doctors and nurses providing definitive care within seconds, and a bounty of world-class trauma hospitals within 5 minutes driving distance, but I think anyone would have expected the death toll to have been higher, all things considered. This underscores what militaries of the world already know: it's tough work to design and build a bomb that's able to kill a lot of people while still being man portable.

    When it came down to it, the bombers won. No, they didn't kill that many people, but they certainly disrupted things. My opinion after the bombing was that the best response the city could have made was to throw gigantic block parties in every neighbourhood: in effect, demonstrating that the citizens won't be cowed, and undermining the intentions of the bombers. What can we expect going forward? Probably the government doing the bomber's dirty work for them — longer lines to get into public venues, more government intrusion, and the like. Remember flying places pre-9/11, when you could count on security being a quick formality? Were the streets flowing with the blood of the citizens back then?

    No-one has the kinds of law enforcement resources to do that kind of thing with any regularity. The number of out of town cops and SWAT Teams that I saw in news footage was staggering — Boston, NEMLEC, Cape Cod sent SWAT units (that I could identify) and I understand that Concord and Manchester, NH sent a couple, too. The usual alphabet soup of federal agencies showed up. There was the National Guard deployed. Several helicopters. So who was keeping an eye on things in the communities that sent their cops and SWAT teams? How would an incident in, say, Lowell have been handled? This would have been a scary example of luring public safety in one direction, only to stab the exposed underbelly.

  32. joe pullen says:

    I always wondered about the door to door searches. Seems a few folks told the police no you can't come inside but I'm wondering if the police were asking to enter residences or just talking to people.

    I also wonder what would happen if you just didn't answer the door.

  33. Chris says:

    While I don't necessarily disagree with your broader point, it should be noted that while Killeen, TX was not shut down after the Fort Hood shooting, Fort Hood itself (effectively a city of 30,000 people) was placed under lockdown for a time.

  34. sorrykb says:

    What is the world coming to? Now I'm agreeing with Clark.
    The shutdown of an entire city didn't make a whole lot of sense to me either. Maybe the authorities in Boston were concerned that police would just start shooting at anyone wearing a baseball cap?

  35. Zack says:

    Agreed in a lot of ways. The "State of Emergency" state that we're drifting into seems to be rather disturbing. It seems like we're entering an Orwellian semi-permanent state-of-emergency.

    I think a lot of it, though, can be attributed to honest mistakes (although that doesn't mitigate their bad qualities.) And at least in my opinion, none of the failings of the government are fatal- it can still be fixed and effective, fair solutions which preserve people's rights implemented. But yeah, keeping the Dunkin Donuts open was a pretty damn hypocritical move.

    *textwall*

    It's an amalgamation of problems, notably the surrender of responsibility by Congress to the President, and the surrender of state responsibilities to federal money and direction.

    People refuse to understand that every action has consequences, and so blame their state and federal representatives for every vote that does something the person doesn't like, rather than evaluating the balance of the actions.

    The state representatives feel this most strongly in the form of the need for balanced budgets; so when a chance comes to avoid imposing taxes by taking federal money, they leap at it- no matter the constraints it imposes or the correlated costs, even if their citizens detest the constraints imposed, because they'll forget about it soon enough, whereas the discontent over a new tax is permanent.

    The congressmen feel it most strongly in the political division of the country; they're accused of being partisans or of being members of their party "in name only", depending on their seat. So to get things accomplished and keep their constituents happy, they're pressured to delegate as much of their authority as possible, so they can claim as little responsibility as possible.

    Meanwhile, the president and executives across the country are being held responsible by a public ignorant of the mechanisms of government, and are frustrated in their inability to do more to fulfill their promises and fix the problems facing their governments- and with congressmen eager to delegate power, the executive branch is eager to consume it, to enable it to act more and more broadly to fix problems.

    */textwall*

  36. Bear says:

    Boston Strong: "What it ought to tell them is that Boston is a city that will fucking hunt you down, and we will indeed stop the fucking trains to do it."

    Yeah, we saw how well that worked in apprehending Whitey Bulger.

    My personal take on the alleged marathon bomber is: What we know came from the lamestream muddia, the same lamestream muddia that finger at least three other people first, who reported the bomber arrested days ago, who reported that the clowns who used an improvised pipe bomb had 'military grade' explosives, who reported that the alleged bombers hid by robbing a convenience store, who reported the surviving alleged bomber's vehicle in NY, who reported that the 'authorities believed this guy was so dangerous that they had to lock down an entire metro region only to lift the lockdown before they caught him (and as Clark noted, didn't catch him until a homeowner found him post-lockdown). We don't know jack, and I for one would like to see a fair trial to prove his guilt which I'm inclined to believe. Just ask the Innocence Project about folks everyone 'believed' to be guilty.

    No one locked down an entire region for 23 killed in Killeen, 13 killed at Columbine, 12 killed and 58 wounded at Aurora, 27 killed in Newtown, 10 killed in the DC area.

    For that matter, no one locked down LA for Dorner who killed four, wounded three, and announced his intent to kill more cops. The LA cops must be laughing their asses off at the Boston Panty Pissers.

  37. Chris says:

    Bostonian here. Mid-afternoon during the "lockdown" I drove around Boston, got stuff at CVS, which was open, got stuff at a deli, which was open, fueled my car at a gas station, where they were working on cars. No arrests–I saw the occasional cop car; I suppose if I was breaking the law in their eyes they could have come after me, but they'd have had to turn on their sirens so the many other cars on the road knew to pull over. Oh yeah, and I got beer. Three cash registers going but I still had to wait in line.

    If you went closer to the manhunt, things were indeed very quiet. And in Watertown things were pretty much on "lockdown." But if you were downtown in your office, MEMA tweeted that you should just go home, even if, and they were explicit on this point, that involved someone coming to pick you up on their car. So no "marshall" or martial law, at least in Boston proper.

    Albert: I spend time in Dorchester and Roxbury and other parts of the city. Even three people dead in one day is not typical. Boston averages 1 dead a week. 170 people maimed in one day by people who appear to have more of the kind of bombs they used is not a normal day here. Who do you think you're kidding?

    I agree the "shelter in place" advisory was overly broad and I've said as much to others here in Bosotn. But just we're all on the same page, so did many people in my Boston neighborhood. We drove around, worked from home, bought beer and no we weren't in trouble with anyone for doing so.

  38. LW says:

    @Albert: "At the Boston Marathon site, *three* people were killed. It’s been common for years that 2-3 people at a time get killed on the streets of Boston due to violent crime. What was different this time — maybe that the victims were white, and killed in the high rent district of Back Bay, instead of the unfashionable Roxbury/Dorchester neighbourhoods?"

    Maybe what was different was that more than a hundred others were maimed or grievously injured at the same time. Is that a routine occurrence in Roxbury/Dorchester neighborhoods?

  39. Ian says:

    @Chris
    I too live in Boston and my neighborhood was normal in the afternoon when I went out to get some beer. And yes, there were no arrests for leaving your house — it was just a strong suggestion. But I think the scary thing is the amount of areas that were empty, particularly downtown and basically all of Cambridge some of which was not really close to any "action." To me it seems like businesses largely immediately capitulated with the strong suggestion from the authorities (combined with the T being closed). Given that this happened without any actual order or real thought, it's concerning. Remember how W established terror alerts after 9/11 and the media ate it up? This is the end result. Foucault would have a lot to say.

  40. Bear says:

    @David, speaking of contradictions…

    Keeping citizens from going to work, etc., didn't "waste" their eyes and brains; it distributed their eyes and brains across the broad area of interest where the suspect was in hiding.

    since the end of the lockdown contributed nothing to the sighting; the sighting and concomitant report occurred at home by someone who was no longer technically locked down,

    In fact, the lockdown didn't 'distribute' eyes. It locked them away because folks were supposed to stay indoors, off the street, out of their yards. Except the donut workers; they saw plenty of terrorists*.

    (* http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/terrorism-2002-2005 ; read the CFR definition of terrorism and explain how the fearmongering actions of the 'authorities' — warrantless searches, a lockdown of dubious legality, etc. — differs.)

  41. Aaron Spink says:

    The public safety exception comes from a series of supreme court rulings related to Miranda violations. The initial one involved a case where a cop had chased a sexual assault suspect, that was confirmed to have a gun by the victim, into a store. When apprehended, the suspect did not have the gun on him and the officer asked where the gun was. The defendant answered and the gun was recovered. At trial, defense tried to suppress the gun evidence and was successful in both the initial court and appeals court. At the supreme court, the ruling was overturned on the theory that the locating of the gun was a matter of public safety, a potentially loaded gun lying around a store presents a very real possibility of future public harm. Central to the case is that the intention of the officers in asking the question does not have to be for the public safety as long as the prosecution can make a case that question could/would support the public safety. The supreme court case in question is New York v. Quarles.

    I'm not aware of any other public safety exceptions making it to the supreme court.

    Oh particular interest is a relatively recent effort by the FBI in particular to broaden the interpretation of the public safety exception wrt to terrorist cases on the grounds that the suspect make have information about non-immediate public safety threats. The current FBI interpretation is certainly at least somewhat in the spirit of the Quarles decision but definitely stretches the bounds outside of the actual ruling.

    But the main thing to keep in mind from the quarles ruling is that it gives law enforcement reasonable latitude to ask questions of a public safety nature with the ability of prosecutors to spin reasonable reasons for those questions at a later date. So as long as the FBI keeps there questions to areas that could be reasonably construed as in the interest of public safety before reading Miranda rights, the odds are that it will be admissible in court. So asking about any other co-conspirators who are still out there is likely valid, on the grounds that they pose a threat to public safety, while asking for an actual confession or details about past events(the bombings/shootings) is likely not.

    There is certainly some gray area though, they could ask if any weapons involved in the shootings are still out there for instance or if any guns recovered were the only ones used.

    The FBI position and background is available at: https://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/february2011/legal_digest

  42. Chris says:

    @Ian. My take on the business closures was 1) the mass transit was closed, making getting people to work hard and 2) liability in the event anything happened. I think that's why in my area it seemed the commercial establishments that were closed tended to be those owned by the corporate brand, less so franchisees and independents. They were likely more sensitive to the potential liability associated with telling employees to come to work with the mass transit shut down and a "shelter in place" advisory in effect.

    Again, though, I thought it the advisory was overly broad. I haven't really come to a conclusion about whether it would have made sense confined to Watertown, but parts of Boston are 10 miles from Watertown.

  43. Lucy says:

    I think squelching public transportation and effectively turning a crowded city into a ghost town was instrumental in creating the situation where these guys couldn't slip away in the crowd. The important thing about context Is that all the details have validity. Boston has large crowd events everyday. Crowd bombers are out of their element with no crowds. Also, there were more explosives found in the sweep. This decision financially stings, but stings less than hundreds of dismembered citizens.

    You raise a critical issue however, which is whether this level of martial law is absolute. Is there ever a circumstance in which it is appropriate? Never? What about the choice of citizens who would want to be off the streets? Would they be protected from consequences at work? Are there any circumstances in which a lock down might be a good decision? Is this really an issue about freedom of choice and literal freedom to walk out of one's dwelling and onto public streets regardless of danger or threat? If that is the underlying issue, what about snow days and seatbelts and helmet laws and on up into all those other ugly hot button topics like abortion and the right to be overweight without anyone telling you it's bad for your health and also deadly?

    Dunkin Donuts coffee tastes like sewage. I once shot a cup with a sniper rifle. (It was my birthday at a shooting range. I include this bit of detail to emphasize the importance of more context.) They serve other food besides donuts, but again, at your own peril.

  44. Rebecca Raven says:

    Thousands of armed officers crawling all over the neighborhood? I'm staying in. Unexploded ordinance suspected in my city? I'm staying in. Suspects on the transit system? I'm staying home.

    I'm a member of my local ICS and if I get the order to shelter in place, I'm doing it because they can't tell you the actual danger or risk. I suggest everyone do the same.

    Easy to mock in hindsight.

  45. Paul says:

    While I don't agree with shutting down the city, I think counting the number of deaths, or even the number of severely maimed victims, is a poor way to measure the impact of this event. Had the DC sniper shot and wounded more than 100 people in a day, the argument wouldn't be that he "only" killed 4 people. Police did not ask everyone to stay home until AFTER a car chase where the suspects tossed pipe bombs at their pursuers, and the remaining suspect was believed to be wearing a suicide vest.

    Again, though I believe that asking people to stay home was a mistake from a strategic perspective (the enemy has now confirmed that 2,000 dollars will by you millions in economic impact), I think from a tactical perspective there was reason to believe a suicide bomber or a slightly more effective explosion could have cost hundreds of lives if the city was going about business as normal. A subway train, rush hour crowds, a long line at a security checkpoint at the airport. 3 pipe bombs and a suicide vest between 7 and 9am could have had catastrophic impact, and it was certainly a reasonable scenario given the circumstances. We talk a lot about security theater in the face of hypothetical events, like how taking tweezers from people doesn't save them from people with bombs. Here was a person with bombs, and it might be a good idea to consider the things that went well.

    If I can't find my car keys, I don't wait for my wife to notice them, I search the places I think they might be. And if she finds them in the fridge after I've searched my coat pockets, I don't think to myself "damn, this is was just searching theater." And if you have limited resources then eventually you have to draw a circle on a map and say "here's where we're going to search". If everyone had gone to work that day would he have even needed to hide in a boat? he would have had a million more places to hide indoors while so many eyes were out at work.

    Just because I would have made a different decision doesn't mean the people who thought this was the right call were out of their minds.

  46. David says:

    @Bear
    The reason you failed to show a contradiction in what I wrote is that there is no contradiction in what I said.

    If folks were "supposed to stay indoors, off the street, out of their yards", and if the perp was understood to be lurking in the neighborhoods in question, then it's obvious– or should be obvious– that eyes were indeed distributed, not locked down. Unless the homes in Watertown lack windows.

    You can demonstrate the correctness of this observation with a simple thought experiment.

    (Scenario A)
    Imagine the neighborhood empty of people because everyone is in the city, at the mall, at work, or elsewhere. Streets in town are busy, shops and gathering places open, etc. The neighborhood, in contrast, is vacant and barely monitored. And that's where you are.

    (Scenario B)
    Now imagine that streets in town are empty, shops and gathering places closed, etc. and that the neighborhood is full of people, each in her home, everyone being vigilant. And that's where you are.

    If you were a perp in hiding, and you were in the neighborhood, which scenario would you prefer as you attempt to make your escape?

  47. Jay says:

    Something people seem to be misunderstanding is that staying at home was completely voluntary. They asked that people please shelter in place, but they did not order people to do so, nor was it considered criminal if people were out and about. (Unlike, say, during the blizzard when people were arrested for using their cars).

  48. Mic says:

    I appreciate your sentiments. While the reality is there were only a couple of people, I am not an expert in types of bombs or tactics. From what I've gleaned this week, there were concerns that this was an active terror cell, that this could have been much more than a lone gunman scenario.

    In hindsight this is like shutting down a city for a hurricane that duds out. The fine is one that we may never know, because much of the information, investigation, and assumptions will not be opened for public scrutiny.

  49. Aaron Spink says:

    Also, people seem to be a bit hung up on comparing the number of dead to other cities and such which is missing the massive number of really life altering injuries that were sustained. Similar comparisons are made related to modern battlefield death when the reality is that do to logistics and medical advances many battlefield wounds that even 20 years ago would likely be fatal, now only result in grievous long term injury.

    Part of the reason the number of dead was so low is that there was actually well operating on-site medical triage and services which resulted in many people who would of died only ending up with missing limbs. There was a fully staffed medical tend setup for the marathon which had many of the medical supplies (primarily saline which was on hand for dehydration) that were required to get people semi-stabilized long enough that they could get to the various large number of Tier 1 trama centers in the area due to the large density of medical schools in the area.

    If the same incident had happened at say a Nascar event, the number of dead would of been significantly higher because while they have onsite medical staff, the number of staff and the amount of equipment would be a small fraction of what is on hand for a large scale marathon where they expect to need to treat hundreds of people. Add to the fact that demographically, it would be much less likely that there would be numerous world class medical personal as part of the spectators.

    All things considered, the boston marathon was pretty much a best case scenario for something like this to have occurred at from a capability to handle the result due to normal preparation requirements and location of level 1 trama units. Boston has 5 level 1 trauma units which is incredibly high given the area and population. For example, LA with a much large population has 3. SF which is roughly the same size both in city and metro population has 1.

  50. Bear says:

    @David: "If you were a perp in hiding, and you were in the neighborhood, which scenario would you prefer as you attempt to make your escape?"

    I wouldn't be there at all. I have enough of a brain that, if I were homicidally inclined, I'd be much more dangerous than that. As soon as I realized that I'd been on candid camera, I would have left the area without robbing a convenience store, lobbing alleged 'military grade' pipe bombs (still waiting for an explanation of that one), or otherwise attracting attention (like engaging in a fire fight with the MIT cops). As reported, the Tsarnaev brothers were a pair of sub-competent losers. Without the media hype to scare them, they probably could have been apprehended at home watching the news for… the anticipated media hype about themselves. Just maybe if instead of 'crowdsourcing' the released photos of the accused, the cops had done a Google image search and found Tsarnaev's Facebook page, this idiocy could have been avoided.

    I'm kinda looking forward to the lost business lawsuits.

    @Jay: "Something people seem to be misunderstanding is that staying at home was completely voluntary."

    If, by voluntary, you mean it was perfectly safe to ignore screaming threats from thousands of heavily armed thugs panicking over 'military grade' pipe bombs (which — if we can believe still more reports — didn't even work), as they demanded to 'voluntarily' search homes without warrants. Or if, by voluntary, you mean they could walk to work (what with transit being officially shut down) and get jacked up by thousands of heavily armed, panic-stricken thugs…

    Then, yeah, it was voluntary.

  51. Dan Petitpas says:

    Just a short comment. The boat was outside of the 20-block area that the cops had in total lockdown. The guy had run farther than the cops thought. As for people driving around and doing their normal activities, I live in a suburb south of the city, and outside the stay-inside area, and traffic was nearly non-existent. Yes, the supermarket was open, and people did go to pick up groceries, but that was about all anyone was doing.

  52. azteclady says:

    I am uncomfortable but I find that I agree with Clark.

    It's uncomfortable to go against the "feel good" mood prevalent every where, but the logic can't be refuted. This was not an organized attack with a number of people scattered through the city going head to head with the cops, but a manhunt for one fugitive. The response was disproportionate and dictated by emotion rather than logic.

  53. Shar says:

    The lockdown of Boston has serious implications. If the government can make millions of people stay home because of the (perceived) legitimate search for one dangerous person, why can't they invent something that will force all of us to stay home any time they wish? It's got the whisper of "police state" and I worry that we are becoming lemmings out of fear.

    My reaction to the 9/11 bombing was "lets keep on living our American lives in the terrorist faces." Giving in to the fear, and allowing the government to undress us and feel us up at the airport was a terrible precedent. The entire urban/suburban Boston area cowering at home is yet another. I fear that we've lost the spirit that was so important to the forefathers that created this country.

  54. Jay says:

    @Bear – I live here, none of what you described is an accurate depiction of what life was like outside the 20 block radius of the police perimeter (I cannot speak about what it was like inside the perimeter as I was not there, I'm guessing neither were you). I was able to walk out of my house in Cambridge and see a minimal police presence. I could get in my car and drive the city streets un-harassed. So yeah, my decision to stay in my house most of the day was completely voluntary. And arguments that the T being closed somehow prevented people from being able to move about the city is stretching it, sure it makes it more difficult, but not impossible.

    I will agree with you that I am quite concerned by the manner in which the searches were conducted and by the willingness of everyone to let the police in to their homes.

  55. SPQR says:

    The lockdown was ridiculous, illegal and ultimately counterproductive as the suspect was only found when a civilian was allowed to leave his house and stumble upon him.

  56. Gee, there is actually rational discussion on this site. What a rare find! Thank you, Hacker News, for referring me here.

  57. Lucy says:

    How is it illegal if it's voluntary?

  58. Dan Weber says:

    Just because I would have made a different decision doesn't mean the people who thought this was the right call were out of their minds

    Yeah, the second-guessing is annoying. I don't know if it was the right call, since I don't have a crystal ball into another universe.

    The boat was apparently just outside the area the police were searching. That's bad luck, not stupidity; they had to draw the line somewhere. If they had drawn the line a little differently, apparently they would switch from idiots to geniuses.

    if instead of 'crowdsourcing' the released photos of the accused, the cops had done a Google image search and found Tsarnaev's Facebook page

    While shows like "24" and "CSI:" are fun, the real world doesn't work like that.

    Oh, and "all bugs are shallow with enough eyes" is wrong. Open-source projects are full of security-critical bugs that no one notices until someone skilled in the art goes and looks for them. You don't need lots of eyes; you need the right kinds of eyes.

    And Reddit was nothing but a clusterfuck in tagging the suspects. They tagged about 5 of the 2 suspects, none of whom where the Tsarnaev brothers. I saw a few people referring the idiots to the Popehat post here about Richard Jewell, trying to get them to stop.

  59. eddie says:

    You've been linked to by the Legendary Bruce Schneier.

  60. Chris says:

    @Clark. The more I re-read and think about your post the more I’m concluding that you are playing very fast and loose in your facts and analysis. That’s too bad, because even many of us in Boston thought the advisory was overbroad.

    You put “martial law” in the post title. You then ignore that loaded term in your post, so we don’t know to what you were referring. Was it to the area inside the perimeter in Watertown? Do you seriously mean “martial law” applied to the Boston area generally? What specifically do you mean by “martial law” and to what area of greater Boston do you see that it applied?

    You write “keeping somewhere between 2 and 5 million people from work, shopping, and school destroyed a nearly unimaginable amount of value.” It was school vacation week, so you had universities and private schools, which even in Boston add up to a small fraction of all students, and the area in the advisory has a bit under 1 million residents. 5 million isn’t the upper end of the range, it’s wildly off. You didn’t even need to make up facts to make your point. Why did you?

    @Bear, you clearly weren’t here nor do you seem to care to be enlightened by what people from Boston are reporting. You’re off in some fantasy world. Now I’ve been telling people the breadth of the shelter in place advisory was silly, and many I’ve talked to agree, but you’re describing a world I just can’t square with what I saw and heard and you don’t seem to care that you’re so far off.

    You write that “what we know came from the lamestream muddia.” You weren’t following twitter? You weren’t checking out Reddit and it’s million-miles-an-hour discussion of photos not taken by media? You assume that not only were we all just relying on the media, but we were all relying on the “lamestream muddia.” If you were following Boston.com you’d probably have been pretty impressed.

    You mock someone saying the “shelter in place” was voluntary by saying “you mean they could walk to work (what with transit being officially shut down) and get jacked up by thousands of heavily armed, panic-stricken thugs…” Okay, how about, drive to work and no police officer stops you. I mean I was driving around Boston during this advisory and I drove by the occasional cop car—the occasional one that wasn’t actually over in Watertown.

    You weren’t here. I get that. But going off on some fantasy about what was going on here, asserting we only know what we heard from the “lamestream media,” asserting we could only walk to work and then only to get “jacked,” and then drawing conclusions from this dystopian fantasy of yours, that’s where I call you out. And this coming from someone who agrees with you they shouldn’t have issued the advisory.

  61. BDR says:

    Steve: It is a clear deterrent to future terrorist attacks in Boston. "Do not commit terrorist acts in Boston, because we will shut down the entire Boston area to catch you."

    I am not sure that the lesson for future terrorists isn't exactly the opposite. Kill and maim some people in other cities and life goes on but in Boston you can bring the entire city's, even the region's, economy to a halt for days. You have managed to disrupt more than just the few city blocks and several hundred lives directly affected by your bombs.

    And terrorists usually aren't that concerned about getting captured or killed. Attention and/or heaven awaits, after all.

  62. Dal says:

    Your analogies are false, "killing" any valid points you might have made later in your piece…couldn't finish it after that.

    "Washington DC, during ongoing sniper terrorist attacks in 2002 that killed twice as many people, was not shut down.

    Kileen Texas, after the Fort Hood terrorist attack in 2009 that killed three times as many people, was not shut down."

    Impossible in the first case as no one had a clue who the snipers were or where they were. (I lived and worked in the DC area at the time.)

    Completely unnecessary in the second as the killer was already isolated at Fort Hood, which was effectively "shut down."

  63. ShelbyC says:

    "Fuck with us, we'll shut the entire city down…"

    Great. Fuck with me, and I'll punch myself in the balls, how 'bout that.

    The security theater crap is horribly counterproductive.

  64. ShelbyC says:

    @Dal "Impossible in the first case as no one had a clue who the snipers were or where they were."

    That just makes what they did in Boston worse, right? Why shut down Boston when you knew the guy was in Watertown?

  65. Nobody says:

    Boston also shut down for Lite Brites, if you remember. They have a tough image, but the city sure does panic easily. At least this time it was a real attack they shut down for. I wonder why that city is so panicky though? Given that terrorists want to cause terror, you'd think they were putting a target on their back by acting so terrified. And that just doesn't seem any too bright.

  66. Bear says:

    @Dan Weber: "While shows like "24" and "CSI:" are fun, the real world doesn't work like that."

    Since I never saw '24' and haven't seen any 'CSI' variant in at least 9 years (is that still on?), I'll take your word for. I know most of the forensic crap I saw on CSI was crap. But I also know that I have successfully identified people using Google images.

    But since you say the crowdsourcing (reddit, for example) was of no use, how did the cops ID the brothers, and did releasing the pictures do anything but flush the idiots out of hiding and into gunfights?

    @Chris: "@Bear, you clearly weren’t here nor do you seem to care to be enlightened by what people from Boston are reporting. You’re off in some fantasy world."

    No. I'm talking about the fantasy world that the lamestream muddia was reporting. I would love to be enlightened by Bostonians who have real data on what was happening. I think all I've seen so far falls into the "I was scared so the cops everywhere made me safe" or "what a fucking joke" categories. Your descriptions now add a new category that does provide useful data. Thanks.

    I still think that a 'lockdown' voluntary or otherwise, for a couple of idiots was unnecessarily extreme and counter-productive. If you can give me hard data that show the 'shelter in place' contributed to the capture, please do.

  67. Lilly says:

    Arguments can be made for both sides, but as one commenter already pointed out:

    they had strong reasons to think that the suspect had more bombs, and was strapped in explosives. they did not want to take the risk of hundreds more dying, plus millions in damages, if the suspect started blowing up transit spots and other areas of dense populations on a workday as a diversion to getting away.

    Snipers are different from bombers: Snipers don't need crowds. Bombers do.

  68. Walt K says:

    I can agree that it was an overreaction, but how can you say that there was no lockdown in the case of the DC sniper shootings and there were no further fatalities. It went on for three weeks and there certainly were further fatalities. Would a lockdown have prevented them? Who knows. But I don't see how that one proves your point.

  69. Chris says:

    @Bear. Given I've already stated several times over several posts that I thought the advisory was a bad idea, I don't think you're going to get the defense of it you suggested I provide. We differ in your description of what life was like if you wanted to go to work in Boston outside a section of Watertown, how we've been finding out what we know or think we know, and the conclusions you draw from those assertions of yours that in my experience don't square.

  70. Fred Grott says:

    You forgot something…nowhere near in this disaster did TSA find terrorists…

  71. Chris says:

    @Walt K. Good point–one more thing in Clark's argument that falls apart on inspection. The only way you can say no more people died in the DC sniper shootings despite no "lockdown" is if you start counting after the last person died. Now that you shine a light on it, Clark's example of the DC sniper shootings is just absurd.

  72. Neo says:

    … but could you imagine the hue and cry if a Republican President sent the FBI to Boston and shutdown the city ?
    Michael Moore was about the only Democrat to stay in character yesterday, when he started whining about two teenagers shutting down the city of Boston.
    Welcome to Obama's “police state”

  73. Doctor Railgun says:

    Sounds like the Dunkin Donut employees were considered first responders. When there's a hunger emergency, they run toward – not away.

  74. Elle says:

    As a Bostonian who lives less than ten minutes driving from where the Watertown events occurred and about the same/closer to the bombings (almost right between the two locations), I applaud what law enforcement did.

    A few points people are missing:
    1. It was not a police state of everyone being forced to stay inside. There were actually many people who went outside during the day yesterday. I personally did not (but that is not abnormal, as I work from home), but I know of many who went to restaurants (which in some areas were busier than most Friday mornings/afternoons), grocery stores, liquor stores, and other places. Yes, most of the city was shut down, but not to the degree it likely appears to people who were not here. The only place you couldn't drive on the street was a specific area of Watertown. Most people heeded the warning for their own safety. Others did not; that is why you can see people gathering to watch the work of the officers and in other places (but generally unrelated and not shown by the media)
    2. It was frightening here all week. I would gladly have us sitting around watching the news for one day than not knowing what was happening. If they had not issued shelter in place, I imagine we would not have had as much information (or it would be chaotic panic) and the results very well may have been different.
    3. Dunkin Donuts, as I mentioned, was not the only business to stay open. They requested to stay open (by my understanding) to serve to emergency personnel and others. They also offered to serve law enforcement for free. In addition to serving law enforcement, they made money by serving many private individuals. I do not think anyone was forced to go to work to get the cops their donuts; what is an institution in this region asked to stay open to serve the area.
    4. Considering the law enforcement, from my understanding, believed the suspect to have more bombs and a desire to cause maximum damage, it seems wiser to keep people away from congregating. Even though he didn't have a bomb strapped to him, from the facts it seemed very likely a possibility. Therefore, shelter in place was both to help find the suspect and prevent/minimize/decrease the chance of the suspect causing another bombing in a crowd.

    I understand the point some are trying to make, but Boston was not in a police state and, as a Bostonian, I am glad they put shelter in place in place rather than not informing us. Other situations where such a warning did not occur have been mentioned, but I can say I am glad they did so and would hope they would do so again; the suspects are caught and hopefully life can resume as close to normal as possible in a relatively short time. If the suspects were not caught yesterday (and of course the trial still must occur), the unease would continue for much longer.

    Also, I don't see how the DC Sniper example helps your point. But that is another discussion.

  75. Dan Weber says:

    But since you say the crowdsourcing (reddit, for example) was of no use

    Shit, it was of negative use. Reddit and 4chan falsely identified a whole bunch of people. They never came close to help identifying the actual people.

    how did the cops ID the brothers

    I don't know. People who knew the younger brother didn't even recognize him from the photographs. The brothers ambushed at MIT police officer for his car and gun very early Friday morning and that's what caused the firefight and the older brother's death. I believe the identification happened from his body, but feel free to update on that.

    if a Republican President sent the FBI to Boston and shutdown the city

    It was Governor Patrick who made the call.

  76. Nebris says:

    I had a friend who was a crime reporter in LA. Once at a Darrel Gates conference on the LAPD's 'deployment plan' she said, "How about a map of all the Dunkin' Donuts locations?"

  77. JR says:

    Thanks for this.
    As I – a former Watertown resident – watched the insanity unfold yesterday, I began to question the wisdom of it all rather seriously after my initial shock wore off. I questioned even more the apparent universal compliance of the Boston residents – if anyone in the entire city questioned the wisdom of a massive shutdown to catch one guy, I didn't see it.
    Compounding all of this is the reality that the police performance as far as catching the guy was almost hilariously inept. It was the ordinary citizens who identified him, they only were caught on camera at the 7-11 by a fortuitous stroke of luck, and despite having shredded and spit upon the Constitution Friday, they missed the guy hiding a mere seven blocks away from where his brother had been shot – it took a citizen to find him then too. If their actions had been swiftly effective, it might be harder to argue against them, but in spite of the police state tactics and high tech gear used, their efforts were mostly useless. A pathetic show all around.

  78. Joe R says:

    For those commenting about the DC sniper shootings: it wasn't limited to DC. Actually looking at the map puts most of the deaths in MD, one in DC proper, and a few others in VA.

    So, locking down DC wouldn't have been effective considering that the crimes extended through a much greater area.

    Despite this one flawed part of his post, I'm glad to see another Clark post on here, especially when it captures a lot of what I've been feeling regarding this whole situation.

  79. Walt K says:

    @Joe R,

    I think we all understand it wasn't limited to DC. In the same way that if we had been referring to it as the beltway sniper situation, no one would have thought that closing down 495 would have been an effective solution.

  80. Peter says:

    I can't get how the entire Boston police department can be chasing and shoot dead one suspect only fire another heavily wounded to get away. To many cooks spoil the broth?

    A digested read of this week could be 'two criminal young men kill 4 and injure scores and shut down a US city for 4 days with home made bombs… And nobody dared critically analyse the response.'

  81. If you shut down a city every time there's a risk like this, the bad guys have won.

    As a Londoner (UK) I was astonished by the lockdown. Perhaps because I lived through the IRA period, when bombs and bomb threats became an everyday threat; yet London didn't shut down. And more recently I was at the tube station bombed a few years ago just the previous day – and know BMA house very well – the place where many people were treated by doctors there for a committee meeting after one of the bombs detonated that day went on a bus. And only isolated parts of London were closed.

    As a public health doctor I am concerned that the consequences of a shut-down could be very serious, if not as immediately obvious. How many people were unable to access urgent medical care? (People couldn't get to hospitals; and reports I've read suggest that emergency room doctors were ordered to stay home rather than report to work.) How many people needing critical equipment for their welfare or survival will have suffered or died because repair operators couldn't repair or maintain the equipment?

    The shut down will have caused immense harm; and I find it impossible to believe that the likely harm caused by not shutting down could come anywhere near the harm caused by the shutdown.

    I fear that this will be a consequence of something similar to what is happening in Italy, after the conviction and heavy prison sentences given to seismologists, for failing to predict the unpredictable and/or to communicate the risks in a way that the public could understand: seismologists there will now not give sensible risk assessments – everything has to be high risk, just in case. Did somebody in authority in Boston decide that they'd rather be responsible for doing too much – knowing that this will be immensely harmful, but most of the harm will be distributed widely – rather than risking the conspicuous but (in the scheme of things) minor harm likely to arise if people were permitted to carry on with their normal lives?

  82. Clark says:

    @eddie:
    > You've been linked to by the Legendary Bruce Schneier.

    Cool. When I met him around 20 years ago he signed a copy of one of his books for me. Because this was before he got huge, he just signed it "Bruce Schneier", not "the Legendary Bruce Schneier".

  83. Jacob says:

    What, no comparing the Tsarnaev brothers to Obama? What are you, going soft? What was the brothers' opinion of Michelle's bangs?

  84. Ken White says:

    I would want to read and explore more before I characterize the mass shutdown. There may be some features that distinguish it from more mundane situations, given the bombs. I'm not saying I think it was likely justified; I'm saying I'd like more of an after-action report to develop before I decide just how excessive it was.

    That said, what I really like about this post — and most of Clark's posts — is that it challenges the too-widely-accepted belief that "we're the government, and we say it was necessary for public safety" should end the inquiry. It never should.

  85. Ken White says:

    Oh, Jacob. Lay down the burden of your simmering grudge. It's unhealthy, Jacob, for children and kittens and other living things.

  86. Bob Brown says:

    As we were reminded by an earlier Popehat post, a bomb went off in crowded Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta in 1996. It killed one person and injured 111 others. The carnage would have been much worse had not Richard Jewell and others begun clearing the area before the bomb went off.

    Minutes after the explosion, with the bomber still at large, the message I got was … get dressed and come to work. Of course, I worked at a hospital at the time, and so was a sort-of special case, but there was never a thought of shutting the city down.

  87. Jacob says:

    It was just a joke, relax…here's another (in poor taste so beware)

    Actually, all three clearly love bangs

  88. Bob Brown says:

    I share Joe Pullen's concern about house to house searches. I am a thousand safe miles from Boston, and the real truth is that I would probably have complied if a half dozen heavily-armed commandos in body armor had demanded to search the cottage where I live. But in my fantasies I heard myself saying, "not without a warrant."

  89. Frank says:

    "I'm glad that the two murderous cowards who attacked civilians in Boston recently are off the streets. "

    Really? When was Boston PD disbanded?

  90. Dan Weber says:

    Minutes after the explosion, with the bomber still at large, the message I got was … get dressed and come to work.

    Same thing happened in Boston. Remember, the bombing was on Monday, most people went back to work Tuesday, those that were taking a 4-day-weekend went in on Wednesday.

    No one was thinking of shutting down the city because of the bombing. They call to shelter in place came when the suspect was being pursued through residential areas as the Friday commute was about to begin.

  91. TomB says:

    "But in my fantasies I heard myself saying, "not without a warrant.""

    I think it's been long enough now for some silliness.

    Honestly, when I first saw this happening, I had my own fantasy (well, a couple, but only one that I can share here). They knock on the door, and I stick my head out of a third story window wearing a very silly medieval French helmet and shout: "ALOOO, OOOH EEZ EET?"

    Of course when they ask about a terrorist, I tell them; "WE ALREADY 'AVE ONE. EEZ VARY NIZE."

    Hilarity ensues.

  92. Kevin Lyda says:

    I asked about this on the forums which seem very quiet…

    http://www.popehat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2823

  93. Frank says:

    Jay:

    As officers fanned out across the Boston area, Bryce Acosta, 24, came out of his Cambridge home with his hands up.

    "I had like 30 FBI guys come storm my house with assault rifles," he said. They yelled, "Is anybody in there?" and began searching his house and an adjacent shed, leaving after about 10 minutes.

    *****

    Watertown, Mass. — Samantha Piccaluga, a 23-year-old university student, said that at about 3:30 p.m. Friday, jittery police whipped out their guns and rushed toward a man who appeared to come out of a house on Dexter Street in Watertown, near where the shootings had occurred in the early morning.

    The neighborhood has been cordoned off by police, who have ordered residents to stay inside.

    “They’re yelling, ‘Why did you get out of your house,’” Piaccaluga said, as she watched the drama unfold from her upstairs window on nearby Nichols Avenue. Angry, cursing police were “in his face,” she said. They then slapped handcuffs on the man, who was about 40 years old and was wearing a T-shirt, she said, and then began interviewing him….

    Early in the morning, she said, she saw officers bring a nude, handcuffed man down the street and put him into a patrol car. “He was completely naked, no underwear,” she said, adding that police brought the man a blanket. At around 4 a.m., the man was taken out of the car and apparently transferred away in an ambulance, she said. She said she did not know who the man was.

    *****

    Apparently the police in Boston and the IRS have a slightly different definition of "voluntary" than you or I.

  94. TerryTowels says:

    Thanks for the write-up. I'm happy to know I wasn't the only one looking at a dystopian vision of the U.S. Shutting down a city in search for two people made me think of the movie Farenheit 451; especially the end.

  95. Chris says:

    Ken: What I don't like about Clark's post is it tosses out terms like "martial law" only to just leave them hanging and undefined (as you can see us Bostonians are chiming in here to point out it felt nothing like martial law to us, given no one got arrested, shot or even sent home with a warning for driving or walking around Boston proper), it refers to 2 to 5 million people who couldn't work, shop or go to school when there were 1 million people living in the zone where staying inside was advised, but not actually enforced outside possibly a portion of Watertown. His example of the DC sniper is just silly–how can he say there were no further deaths despite no "lockdown"? What could that even mean given people died on several different days?

    I wish it was a more coherent post that checked out on the facts and comparables. There's a good critique to be written of the response. This wasn't it. It's not even worthwhile. I'm commenting because as someone from Boston with a stronger sense of civil liberties than maybe most, there are just so many silly assertions to set straight. Quality counts.

    Peter: When the older brother was shot, it wasn't the entire Boston police department, or any significant portion of it, on the scene. The massive reinforcements happened in the wake of that shooting. And the hell they shut down the city for 4 days. In those days I took a business trip out of BOS, went into work downtown, went out to a restaurant, took mass transit. You're just so flat wrong and yet you could have maybe picked something up from all the people from Boston commenting here.

  96. Bob Brown says:

    @Dan Weber: My first reaction was, "Yup. You're right." Upon reflection, I'm not sure I do. I'm seeing things filtered through blogs and news reports, so I may be wrong, but it seems like "pursuit" was over and the search had become a manhunt by the time of the lockdown.

    My recollection (confession: I didn't go back and re-read everything) is that the reasons given for lockdown were a) that Dzhokar Tsarnaev might slip away in the crowds, or b) he set off another bomb in a crowd.

    I can sort-of buy a) as a valid reason, although nay-sayers will say that crowds would have spotted Tsarnaev. If b), then Boston and Atlanta are comparable, the difference being that we were in the middle of a Summer Olympics and had crowds every place there was a place. (Since nobody had a clue who the Atlanta bomber was until a year later, there was no need for him to "slip away.")

  97. Chris says:

    @Bob. From what I can tell you got the facts right–it was a man hunt, no longer a chase, by the time the massive reinforcements arrived and the "Shelter in Place" advisory came out. At first "Shelter in Place" was invoked only for Watertown and neighboring suburbs, but then it covered all of Boston, which was just silly.

    I speculate that the "Shelter in Place" was lifted because they figured they were about to go through the night without finding him and asking people for miles into Boston to stay inside was just untenable–already many people further away were starting to disregard the advisory. I don't think it was a ploy or them giving up, just realizing this was silly.

    I was caught in Europe by the ash cloud–same thing. With no change in the ash cloud plumes, all of the sudden it was "you can fly now."

  98. Dale Beardmore says:

    They're practicing for the time comes for obummers martial law takeover!

  99. TerryTowels says:

    @Chris. Re the ash plume fly-nofly thing. Until they knew what was in the ash plume, they didn't want planes in the air.

    Volcanic ash is mostly glass, and will melt in and clog the insides of jet turbines. Many, many governments were behind the scenes trying to work out how to let the airlines resume operation. As I remember, some military jets were sent into the plumes, and came back with damaged turbines.

    As I remember, the upshot is that the flights were routed around the plumes, or where the plumes had thinned out.

  100. Bill Morris says:

    Agreed on all points. I laughed out loud when I heard about the Dunkin' Donut thing. My concern is that, again, Security trumps Freedom. I understand using extreme caution in the area where the terrorist was spotted, but I keep hearing people say, "We are not going to let the Terrorists keep us from living our lives! Then what was this? Shutting down the entire city? I also found humorous the News Conference in Watertown earlier in the day friday with the Governor, Mayor of Boston, Mayor of Watertown, etc. It was an hour late because they had Bomb sniffing dogs and swat teams check out the area where the VIPs were gathering to speak. Then they didn't give us any news but to tell residents to stay in their homes. I'm not complaining, the Cops doing the grunt work did a good job. There is just something about being elected to public office that goes to some people heads.

  101. Chris says:

    @Terry. I have a different recollection of how the ash cloud situation played out. It involved the CEO of BA and one of their pilots flying from one UK airport to another to make the point that for most of the region where flights were grounded there was no risk. In fact, by the time I got out of London, the various government agencies were pointing fingers at each other as to who was to blame for the extent of the grounding.

  102. TerryTowels says:

    @Chris, ah well, I was following it from the science view.

  103. zztop says:

    From the slashdot thread:

    "In retrospect, it's interesting that the bomber didn't kill more people when they actually had the chance. During their escape, they held up a convenience store and stole a car — without shooting the robbery victims. An interesting artifact of human psychology, even at its most twisted: the terrorists willing to blow up random strangers weren't willing to look a shopkeeper or driver in the eye and shoot them; in panicked flight and personal contact with potential victims, they showed far more restraint and respect for human life than their premeditated impersonal cold-blooded murders just hours before."

  104. Peri Duncan says:

    I also respectfully disagree. I see the points you are making, and I lived the Beltway Sniper. There was not a perimeter for him with us in pursuit. You'd have had to shut down all of DC, The commonwealth of VA and parts of MD. Also, there was no martial law or shut down. People were asked to voluntarily stay inside. Most did. Some chose not to. Those that did not were not arrested. There's a difference. A big one.

  105. Myk says:

    Maybe BPD etc (and the citizenry of that city) should remind themselves what the goal of terrorism is, and thus the best response. http://kfmonkey.blogspot.co.uk/2006/08/wait-arent-you-scared.html

  106. Elle says:

    @Myk: I agree that a good response is to show that the acts have not caused the chaos intended. I also happen to prefer staying alive, so when a credible threat (knowing someone who has previously bombed and potentially has other bombs and weapons on him is in the residential area) comes through, I appreciate officials strongly encouraging us to stay inside and not create groups (potential targets). Had we (Boston) been encouraged to stay inside since Monday, I would agree with your point. That didn't happen. From the point of knowing such a person was loose until not being sure where he was, I'd prefer some warning and encouragement to stay inside.

  107. Billy says:

    Long time listener, first time caller. This was properly entertaining, and the underlying brilliant.

    Heads can easily mush with government talking points and then the media talking points. Clearer heads have logic implosions on the talking points. Even clearer ones can communicate and make a point in the madness–you not me.

    Simple words and sense.

  108. GoldGerryGold says:

    Oh this strikes my fancy.

    Based on the bias information the government gave us. And of course adding in the government watchdogs–noble beasts–of the media. Somehow you have taken this information in the best light and still creating a clear mockery of the situation. Its a comical tragedy. I laughed.

  109. McJibJab says:

    Interesting points. One part makes less sense than the rest…
    "in London, Washington, LA after the El Al shootings, and so on and so on and so on, there were not lockdowns, and there were no further fatalities. It's not perfect proof, but it's suggestive."

    There were no further fatalities? than what? than there were? Truisms are true, dude. Surely a lockdown when a sniper is on the loose would offer fewer targets.

  110. Dan Weber says:

    Shutting down all of Boston may have been an over-reaction. Closing Watertown and Cambridge was one thing.

    Maybe not the whole MBTA, either, but at least the Red Line. It would take a lot of man power to make sure he wasn't leaving on the train.

    We have a coordination problem, though, with trying to shut down only part of the city. Without buses or the Red Line, how many people can't get in? Is having a bunch of people running at half-power more trouble than it's worth — that is, it might be less of a waste of resources to just call a snow day, so most people know that most things aren't running. (Lots of businesses in downtown Boston are closed on the weekends.)

    Also, by not running the MBTA, they could free up the police manpower to scour Watertown more thoroughly.

  111. Ken says:

    Frank:

    Good points, all. Some incidents I personally overheard on the police scanner (from memory):

    Officer: We've got a woman here who says she's a scientist, and has to get in to feed her animals. Can we let her through?
    CP: request denied

    Officer: We have a guy who lives at XXX street and who wants to go to his home. Should we give him the OK?
    CP: That would be a negative

    Officer: We have a group of workers who have been stuck in their store for more than 20 hours, and they want to go home. Can we let them?"
    CP: They can leave, but only after we've screened every one of their vehicles

    SO yeah, "voluntary" means something different when you're in an area cordoned off by hundreds (thousands?) of armed guys, all of whom are 1) Trained to take control of every interaction they have with "civilians"; 2) used to being being obeyed by citizens; and 3) edgy as hell because OMFG SOMETHING REALLY REALLY REALLY DANGEROUS is going on

  112. MarkT says:

    Another reason the lockdown was a bad idea (if not already mentioned):
    The lockdown will encourage MORE terrorism!
    We just gave the terrorists what they were hoping for all along and that was to disrupt our lives, not just economically, but in many other ways also. I will not be surprised to see more and more of this type of terrorism in the near future. May God help us b/c our "leaders" in charge are bumbling idiots at best.

  113. orvis barfley says:

    i don't know enough to have much of an opinion, but my thinking at the time was that that would make it pretty hard to get away.  i have to imagine there wasn't much traffic, and it would be pretty easy to verify the little bit there was didn't have this guy aboard.

  114. Rick C says:

    Why did Boston get locked down when so many other cities? I don't know for a fact, but I bet it's for the same reason that Boston, alone among cities, freaked out after the Mooninite incident of 2007.

  115. Chris says:

    Ken,

    Clark went out on a limb and I'd like to understand if you're out there on the limb with him, because right now I call bullshit. Again, as someone who lives in Boston and found the "Shelter in Place" advisory overbroad. Neither you nor Clark have engaged on any of the substantive fact checking that's gone down in these comments around what actually happened to "2 to 5 million" people or the comparables.

    I wonder if you, simply in a different league from your co-bloggers, can't bring yourself to lend the same critical eye to their BS as you do to Prenda's, various prosecutors and others.

    There was a cordoned off part of Watertown where there was a real manhunt going on–seems to have been pretty well justified. There was a section of Cambridge where, as far as we can tell, the two suspects lived and bombs were found. I live in Boston, several other commenters lived in Boston. I went out, they went out, we didn't get arrested or even accosted. For fuck's sake Ken, the Mass. Emergency Management Agency was telling people to get a ride home from work if they needed to–what were they going to do–shoot the driver?

    It's just going on and on–conflating specific police actions in Watertown and Cambridge with what was going on in Dorchetster, West Roxbury, Newton. Clark still hasn't justified an upper range of 5 million people or how the DC sniper situation is an apt comparable showing a different approach with no further casualties, as he alleged and as has been seriously debunked.

    Hello? Anyone there? Boston calling. We think you're full of it right now.

    Further evidence this blog rocks when Ken is writing. The others are along for the ride.

  116. AlphaCentauri says:

    If they really think the guy was in a suicide vest, and you expect that he will not try to detonate himself unless he can find a crowd of a suitable size to do so in, it makes sense to discourage people from gathering in crowded places. It doesn't sound like it hurt their economy much, what with everyone out buying beer.

    A more interesting question is how the US can be so willing take any precaution necessary to prevent civilian casualties from domestic bombings, but be unwilling to join other nations in prohibiting the export of land mines?

  117. Lucy says:

    @Ken, *OMFG SOMETHING WICKED WICKED WICKED DANGEROUS is going on!
    @All,
    Massholes can be pretty uptight when it comes to their elbow room around issues like their right to leave their house. If people who lived it are giving accounts that do not resemble the exaggerated claims for sake of a point on here, I'm inclined to go with Masshole's version. To reiterate a point in an adjacent post, we shouldn't go to irrational lengths to spark a rational discussion.

  118. Lucy says:

    Disclaimer: I'm a native Masshole, so the term was meant as an inclusive term of endearment, not as an insult.

  119. Gen says:

    Boston shuts down for inclement weather all of the time; shutting the whole city down for a threat which could potentially move anywhere very quickly on public transit was a good decision.

  120. Fidel says:

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  121. Stephen Cobb says:

    Well, according to NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, the pro-Al Qaeda chat rooms were loving the lock down when it happened and crowing about how much it was hurting the economy. If we let 2 guys with bombs and guns close a city, we are doing the terrorists' job for them.

    In the UK, between 1970 and 2005, some 19,000 IEDs were detonated, killing over 600 people. That's one IED every 17 hours on average, and none of them caused a city-wide lock down.

  122. Peter Desnoyers says:

    My thoughts, from Cambridge – the suspect wasn't the threat, the law enforcement was. The proper debate is probably whether it was appropriate to have what is reported as "thousands" of officers swarming through Watertown, a town of 30,000 people. Given that they were, I think the only safe thing to do was to ask people in affected areas to stay inside. (I stayed in most of the day – I left to pick up my daughter from a friend's house she had stayed at, a block from the Cambridge location, but avoided that side of the block.)

    Did it make sense for the "shelter in place" request to cover such a broad area? I don't know. The main argument I can think of for it is traffic – Boston has just enough road and transit capacity to get everyone in to work, and any significant reductions in roadway and transit capacity are going to result in a lot of people spending much of the day sitting in their cars. Politically it was probably the right call – a year from now people are going to remember a weird three-day weekend, instead of the mother of all traffic jams.

  123. Peter Desnoyers says:

    One last thing:
    ">how did the cops ID the brothers?
    People who knew the younger brother didn't even recognize him from the photographs."

    According to at least one high school student who recognized the younger suspect, the FBI hotline was busy all day Thursday and he couldn't get through.

  124. Malc says:

    Pondering this, my view is that those who are justifying the "shelter in place"/lockdown are missing the critical First Amendment issue. I certainly am willing to accept that the lockdown was not as absolute as many have implied, while still noting that in some places/times/situations it really was.

    What bothers me (and maybe is the impetus for Clark's post) is that the language used was broad and assertive: the government was giving orders. Had it been more like a request, such as when governments ask people to stay off the streets during/following a storm, I doubt anyone would have said much.

    But the language they did use was more like that used during "mandatory evacuations" (which are not actually mandatory, but I digress): you MUST do this.

    And when the full force of government roars orders, many people obey, and I think it valid to presume that there are vanishingly small numbers of situations where the government may issue such orders.

    So how come the government gets to (heh!) cry "Fire in a Crowded Theater" (sorry, couldn't resist!)?

  125. Bergman says:

    Terrorist is the only occupation where you can be wildly successful because you missed your targets 100% of the time. A terrorist's targets aren't the people he kills — those are just collateral damage. The targets of a terrorist are the people he doesn't kill, that are now so scared they'll be next that they do what the terrorist wants them to.

    You win a war, whether it be on drugs, terror or the neighbor across the border by achieving your objectives while denying him his. To be successful at this, you have to know what the enemy wants, so you can deny him those things.

    If you have a terrorist who wants to disrupt your way of life, hates your freedoms and is willing to die to accomplish his goals, you defeat him by holding firm to your principles of freedom, going on about your business as if he didn't exist.

    But we didn't do that and we still don't do that. Instead, we sacrifice our freedoms on the altar of imagined safety, cause massive disruptions of our day to day lives like the Boston lockdown, and if we manage to kill the terrorist, so what? He already won, and we were utterly defeated. Why? Because we sacrificed every one of our objectives in order to give our enemy everything he wanted.

  126. AlphaCentauri says:

    Speaking as a resident of the Northeast, we get orders all the time to stay home due to bad weather. Traffic accidents or stuck vehicles blocking narrow streets can keep ambulances or fire trucks from getting through, tire chains or not. This isn't some weird government overreach. It's an unexpected day off from work, and most people are cool with that. We didn't get much snow where I live this year, so the economy is built with a few unused days off still available for this winter.

  127. anon says:

    Um. I know what happened if you didn't answer the door. My home is inside the search perimeter, but my family and I were on vacation. No one was home. Police surrounded and entered our house, presumably because we were not there to answer the door.

    My house is about 300 feet from the site of the gunfight where the older brother was killed and the younger brother escaped on foot. My house is large and creaky; I have a lot of trees in my yard and a large garage. Frankly, it would have been an excellent place to hide, which is why it's a favored hide-and-seek spot for neighborhood kids, including my own two children, who are 9 and 11.

    Had I been there, I would have let the police in, and since I wasn't there, when I got back I felt better that I did not have to enter my house and check my garage, basement, and attic alone.

  128. Bearman says:

    Good thing nobody that who works at Duncan Donuts got shot having to go to work..

  129. Ken White says:

    Dear @Chris:

    Ken,

    Clark went out on a limb and I'd like to understand if you're out there on the limb with him, because right now I call bullshit. Again, as someone who lives in Boston and found the "Shelter in Place" advisory overbroad. Neither you nor Clark have engaged on any of the substantive fact checking that's gone down in these comments around what actually happened to "2 to 5 million" people or the comparables.

    Let me see if I understand you: you're concerned because, in the course of a sunny May [or April. Whatever!] Saturday, when I was taking a daughter to soccer and running errands and preparing for a charity auction, I did not thoroughly respond to a post my co-blogger wrote, and respond to all of the points made by commenters?

    Am I obligated to fisk every co-blogger post, rather than writing what I did, which is that I would want to research the particulars but agreed with the general sense that one should question the government's assertion that particular security measures are necessary?

    Or . . . wait . . . is every commenter on the internet who uses the name "Ken" necessarily me? Are you confusing me with someone else?

    I wonder if you, simply in a different league from your co-bloggers, can't bring yourself to lend the same critical eye to their BS as you do to Prenda's, various prosecutors and others.

    I shall address the douchiness of this later.

    There was a cordoned off part of Watertown where there was a real manhunt going on–seems to have been pretty well justified. There was a section of Cambridge where, as far as we can tell, the two suspects lived and bombs were found. I live in Boston, several other commenters lived in Boston. I went out, they went out, we didn't get arrested or even accosted. For fuck's sake Ken, the Mass. Emergency Management Agency was telling people to get a ride home from work if they needed to–what were they going to do–shoot the driver?

    It's just going on and on–conflating specific police actions in Watertown and Cambridge with what was going on in Dorchetster, West Roxbury, Newton. Clark still hasn't justified an upper range of 5 million people or how the DC sniper situation is an apt comparable showing a different approach with no further casualties, as he alleged and as has been seriously debunked.

    Hello? Anyone there? Boston calling. We think you're full of it right now.

    I'm not sure whether these points are fair or not, Chris, because I haven't immersed myself in the facts of this particular security situation. That's because, despite your somewhat odd and disordered sense of entitlement, I don't line-edit and critique and research every blog post that a co-blogger writes — particularly not in the course of a single pleasant but busy Saturday. Perhaps you'd be happier at a blog where the authors all commit, all day and every day, to pay attention to you?

    I suppose that would have to be a blog where every blogger committed to love and cherish you every moment of every weekend day, Chris, because in point of fact, my coblogger David did closely question Clark's logic. But that did not apparently register with you, or deter you from making sweeping douchey generalizations about my co-bloggers.

    Further evidence this blog rocks when Ken is writing. The others are along for the ride.

    I'm told by some people that I'm a narcissist, Chris, so I will react to this as one: this is a grave insult to me. You take me for some self-absorbed punk who will say "well, he came into the house I share with comrades and friends, and insulted them, but he said something flattering about me, so he's cool." But whatever bad things can be said of me, Chris, I am not that person. I am not happy that you like my writing about other subjects. Rather, it makes me feel rather grimy, and I wish you would go away and not read it any more.

    Chris, I don't know if you are under a lot of stress because of the terrible events in Boston, or if you have some sort of social interaction disability about which I am supposed to be sensitive. Frankly I don't care. I blog with my friends. I wouldn't blog without them. Your sneering and entitled insults irritate me. You're a punk, and I'd be happier if you don't come back or read my words again. If you do read them, please read each one with an undertone of contempt directed specially to you.

  130. Seanchaigirl says:

    @Ken, the street names you "XXX"-ed up there are actually a pretty important detail. If it was someone on Arlington Street who wanted to go home and the cops said no, that's ridiculous. If it was someone on Arsenal Street (at least certain blocks on Arsenal), that's the heart of the search zone for an armed and dangerous suspect who might be wearing a suicide vest. I find that pretty understandable.

    The term lock down is misleading here. Yes, people stayed home from work or went home early. No, they were not forced. It was much like the milder snow storms we sometimes have here. If Al-Qaeda is gleefully rubbing their hands together over the shut down, posts like this that are totally off the mark about the extent of the Shelter in Place are not helping.

    Also, the Shelter in Place didn't happen directly after the bombings and extend indefinitely while the police did their thing; it happened when the police were in direct pursuit of a dangerous suspect who had fled to a densely populated residential area. This kid had already proven that he wasn't averse to collateral damage – in fact, it's probably what he was hoping for. To someone watching from across the country, "three deaths" might seem like a tiny impact but I assure you that here in Boston we're looking not only at those losses but at 176 people who were maimed in under 20 seconds, many with horrific, life-threatening and life-changing injuries. 58 of those woulds were serious enough to still require hospitalization 5 days later. So the question I'm asking myself is, if there was no Shelter in Place request out there, would business have gone on as usual in Boston Friday? Having lived through hurricane warnings, snowstorms – and hell, regular Marathon Mondays, which cause many natives to hole up in their apartments until the tourists have dispersed – I'm guessing no.

  131. Warren Celli says:

    But what about the murderous hypocrite coward in the white house who terrorizes civilians all over the planet? He makes the attack against innocents in Boston look like a day with Mr. Rogers.

    http://www.boxthefox.com/

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  132. Diana says:

    The comparison to Detroit is ridiculous. First, it wasn't just "a few murders". It was a few murders and about 170 severely maimed people in a matter of seconds. Days later this was followed by an intense firefight with police complete with bombs being thrown from a car. I'm a Bostonian. I never felt the government was ordering us to do anything. Most rational people would rather not get caught in the crossfire of what WAS HAPPENING and were ok with staying inside and letting law enforcement flush him out.

  133. Perhaps I'm the petty jerk of the group, but what irked me more than anything about this entire event is the transfer of all sacrifice and responsibility to ordinary citizens. Citizens and the local economy suffered huge losses for very little gain, as the lockdown did not serve to capture criminals. And then, when it happened that authorities might have to share in the sacrifice, they demurred, keeping coffee shops open for their own convenience (nothing new here really). Aside from creating a huge media staging of how authorities "really care", the show falls tragically short of any true competence. I'm forced to ask, that when police and the FBI come to capture criminals only at the tips and advisement of everyday citizens, why is their budget so big? Why do we need to shell out billions of dollars in 6-figure salaries to have an all night party at Dunkin Donuts? You might has well give badges to every citizen and put a few armed cops on bicycle patrol—we'll call it in when we're ready for the bad guys to get picked up. Finish your coffee and doughnuts.

  134. You don't seem to allow for intelligence you don't know about going into this decision that the FBI and police could have possessed.

    Since the FBI was tracking the Tsarnaevs already in 2011, perhaps they had reason to know they were active and were already hunting them and already concerned it was not an ordinary teen prank. Or they may have had reports of other terrorist networks "chatter" and decided that it had all the signs of something more serious.

    After the policeman was killed, once they saw that these were the *same suspects* (they released better photos right when they were pursuing them, and that means they had them before), they would have realized they were dealing with people so desperate or indoctrinated or paid well that they were willing to discard all caution and appear in public again with weapons and IEDs for what appears to have been a botched or crazy attack on MIT. We never learn why they went to MIT of all places, it wasn't their college.

    Once they saw the pressure cookers and ball bearings, that may have been a reason for further escalation. Please do find a Tuesday in Detroit where pressure cooker bombs were used. Find *any* place except Pakistan where they've been used, please.

    The public at large isn't half as exercised about the day-long lock-down because it worked. The "progressives" concerned about this will be endlessly challenged to explain what was wrong with something temporary like this *working*.

  135. Me says:

    It wasnt just the government saying they did it, the brothers themselves admitted it.

  136. Sarah says:

    @Malc:

    "What bothers me (and maybe is the impetus for Clark's post) is that the language used was broad and assertive: the government was giving orders. Had it been more like a request, such as when governments ask people to stay off the streets during/following a storm, I doubt anyone would have said much."

    Are you local? Because I don't see how the language of the direction given Friday compares to the February 8 executive order that banned motor vehicle use statewide until further notice. If something like that had been issued, then yes, that would be the government giving orders.

    Additional weight was obviously given to government requests in this situation because people were aware of the situation and more concerned for their own safety than they might be in a storm, but the strongest language I've seen from officials, where commands ("don't") were used instead of requests ("should," "please," "advise," "recommend"), all involved not answering a knock at the door unless it was law enforcement, or they were specific to the areas of interest in Watertown or Cambridge.

    The two exceptions I've seen on Twitter – which was, by and large, how this information was conveyed – are MEMA's "All businesses in these towns will remain closed until further notice" tweet re: Watertown, Newton, Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge, and Allston/Brighton, and the state police referencing a "stay in home order" once. I agree that that's much stronger language and should have been avoided, but that's two statements out of dozens from MEMA, BPD, the City of Boston, state police, Governor Patrick, and the Cambridge police.

  137. Clark says:

    @Catherine Fitzpatrick :

    > Find *any* place except Pakistan where they've been used, please.

    Afghanistan, Nepal, France, Stockholm, New York. (src)

  138. Clark says:

    @Catherine Fitzpatrick:
    > You don't seem to allow for intelligence you don't know about going into this decision that the FBI and police could have possessed.

    Such as…what? "The bomber is armed and dangerous…but considers both Mecca and Dunkies holy and will absolutely not attack either one."?

  139. Justin Kittredge says:

    Clark,
    The authorities do not in cases of murder always have the info needed to find the suspects. Also as should be obvious most murders are not conducted by individuals looking to go on a spree, where sheer racking up of numbers killed is the primary goal. You fear some kind of police state where every time some crazy goes on a killing spree a city gets shut-down? Oh so sorry buddy, if you care more about your country being some kind of ideal fictional fairyland that can never exist and not so much about the preservation of LIFE; then you and your family can be the first responders to every crisis our nation faces instead of the government. I guess you will need a plane. You seem to be trying to reinvent the wheel. You want armed citizens themselves to be responsible for the safety of America? And the authorities to take a back seat? Is that it? Sure then you just need to train them, furnish them with some kind of Team outfit not easily duplicated so they know they are on the same side, give them all radios so they can communicate, then make them swear oaths and abide by a whole smorgasbord of rules and regulations so they understand that they can't kill folk for stealing a bike etc. Then when the citizens of America are prepared in such a way you know what you will have? THE POLICE AGAIN IDIOT. The authorities you so mistrust ARE F'N AMERICANS. In Your Fairy World Where Citizens Take Care of Everything Themselves, It Ends Up The Same Way. The only difference between regular folk catching the terrorists and the Government, Is Uniforms, Training, Oaths, Proper Equipment, And a whole lot of other Advantages honed over time. This Police State you fear? You are fearing fellow Americans who have decided to risk their lives in the defense of others and to uphold the laws as made by our democracy. You think police states threaten our democracy? Well if you Look at the Declaration of Independence you'll be reminded of the rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. You focus on Liberty? Do you forget the First one? Life? The Lockdown which occurred happened because the authorities had a description of the suspects, and knew that said suspects were making it a mission of theirs to rack up a large body count. The Lockdown happened to preserve LIFE, not just of regular citizens, but also for the protection of the authorities, so they could bring the terrorists to justice in a controlled environment. In your examples where the gov. does not have a shutdown in the past, murderers are not always known, exact whereabouts are not known, and their motives are usually not high body count. I find your attack of keeping food establishments open f'n disgusting. The people putting their lives at risk for the welfare of the greater Boston area don't deserve access to food and liquid? You and your family should have geared up and risked your lives to bring these terrorists to justice. The Government, The Authorities, The Police are PEOPLE. How do you forget this? They are not robots or Expendable assets like the money you seemed so worried about. You have every right to ask whether the country is inching towards a police state and you have every right to exercise your influence in pointing this democracy the direction you think is best for its future and preservation. As part of the democratic process you should go about doing everything you can to get this country the way you like it. But don't forget a few things. You Are NOT The Only One With A Say. If the Majority decide they would like to have "Shutdowns" in areas where Killing sprees are taking place, because they don't want themselves and their family members to die and sh*t, then you are gonna have to just deal with that and try not to demonize those who oppose you on this issue. Imagine A Scenario: A group of terrorists is in your home city in various locations trying to rack up a body count. Your family is sadly not all snugly in your house where you can protect them with whatever guns you have. They are all over town. Wife is at the store. Your kids are in various places, the mall, a friends house, or after school activities. You can't protect them because you cannot go in several directions at once, be in several places at once. Would you like a shutdown to occur and a huge contingent of armed trained law enforcers to move into your hometown to search out and kill the armed crazy dudes? Or you gonna knock on doors gather up a posse pile into your Mini-van and do it yourselves in some kind of chaotic sublime perfection or WHAT? I Think I am done Clark.

  140. Chris says:

    Ken,

    You write: Let me see if I understand you: you're concerned because, in the course of a sunny May Saturday, when I was taking a daughter to soccer and running errands and preparing for a charity auction, I did not thoroughly respond to a post my co-blogger wrote, and respond to all of the points made by commenters?

    I'm happy to hear you had a pleasant day. You had already commented twice, once to commend the post and once to insult a commenter.

    By the way, I didn't make the last comment to get in your good graces. I didn't make any comments to get in your good graces. I don't know or care if you're a narcissist; I could care less how you try to diagnose me or read into my mood or social skills. I do take it you didn't like my assessment of the relative strength of the blogging on this site.

    Given you started with a straw man of a faulty assertion and ended with a directive that's just off the wall, I don't think it's worthwhile to either of us to engage your reply further.

    That said, I made some deliberate word choices that I regret, specifically using swear words–there wasn't any need for that. Sorry about that.

    Chris

  141. Ken White says:

    I suspect you will continue to find the content of this site a personal disappointment to you, Chris. Please don't let me detain you.

  142. Clark says:

    @Justin Kittredge:

    You fear some kind of police state where every time some crazy goes on a killing spree a city gets shut-down?

    I fear all sorts of police states, but, yes, that's one variety.

    Oh so sorry buddy, if you care more about your country being some kind of ideal fictional fairyland that can never exist and not so much about the preservation of LIFE

    You are correct that I care more about something more than the preservation of life.

    With apologies to John Stuart Mill, whose words I bastardize slightly:

    Death, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil. Death is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral feeling which thinks nothing worth death, is worse. A man who has nothing which he is willing to die for for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

    then you and your family can be the first responders to every crisis our nation faces instead of the government.

    You have an amazing belief that somehow there are "people" on side of your proposal and "government" on the other.

    In fact, it is always people who respond to crises. The question is, do those people have extraordinary rights and powers?

    Here in the United States, the power of the government is limited – or should be limited – by the Constitution.

    I guess you will need a plane. You seem to be trying to reinvent the wheel. You want armed citizens themselves to be responsible for the safety of America?

    Are they not now? Are the army and police forces composed of something other than armed citizens?

    But don't forget a few things. You Are NOT The Only One With A Say.

    In never asserted I was.

    If the Majority decide they would like to have "Shutdowns" in areas where Killing sprees are taking place, because they don't want themselves and their family members to die and sh*t, then you are gonna have to just deal with that and try not to demonize those who oppose you on this issue.

    What's your argument? That "might makes right" ?

    You are correct that I "have to deal with" what the government does, in the same physics-based sense that a mentally ill man who is strapped into a "Devil's chair" and tortured to death with pepper spray by Florida police over six hours has to "deal with it". I am not well enough armed to do anything about fascism. …at least on my own.

    Scenario: A group of terrorists is in your home city in various locations trying to rack up a body count.

    Oh, so, last week, then, when my city was shut down?

    OK. I'm imagining it. Go on.

    You can't protect them

    Neither can the police. Nor do they have any legal mandate to do so. Go on.

    Is that it? Sure then you just need to train them, furnish them with some kind of Team outfit not easily duplicated so they know they are on the same side, give them all radios so they can communicate, then make them swear oaths and abide by a whole smorgasbord of rules and regulations

    I've heard of the fascist mindset before, but I'd never truly understood what that phrase meant. Thank you.

    The authorities you so mistrust ARE F'N AMERICANS.

    So does being born American mean that they never do wrong? Was slavery not perpetrated by Americans, and done so under the color of American law? Were Japanese Americans not herded into internment camps by the American government? Was the Tuskegee syphilis experiment not done by the American government? Was gold not confiscated by the American government? Were dissenting voices during the Civil War not jailed by the American government? Were the men women and children of Mt Carmel not incinerated by the American government?

    Saying "They are Americans" says nothing.

    The Lockdown happened to preserve LIFE

    Asserted with out evidence.

    Why were donut stores open?

    I find your attack of keeping food establishments open f'n disgusting.

    I find your inability to disagree with out name calling disgusting.

    THE POLICE AGAIN IDIOT.

    I shrugged it off when you called my "buddy".

    Now you've called me "idiot".

    I've beaten smarter men than you into the ground and enjoyed every second of it, but in the spirit of personal growth and maturity, I'll merely ask that you apologize for your name-calling.

  143. fugarwe says:

    Wow. Provide some very compelling counter points around here this is the response you get:

    They are ignored.

    You are attacked personally and told to go away.

  144. fugarwe says:

    I'm continually entertained by the donut store being open references. it reinforces the general idea of the people who were there and actually KNOW what happened when they say you built this blog on faulty logic, shaky suppositions, and false assertions. But back to the donut stores, and why it is clear you don't know what you are talking about, and instead just taking the opportunity to make fun of the cops with pictures of them eating donuts: When you mobilize this kind of manpower, for manhunts or disaster situations, one of the huge components is feeding, hydrating, and housing the responders. Surprisingly, to you apparently, organizations that save our butt in these situations often need help from the public. Could they have brought in the national guard and their mess tent and all the components needed? Probably, at a great cost to more manpower. But since they had a Dunkin literally across the street from the command post, they asked to use their facilities. Kind of like if there is a church nearby with a kitchen, or large meeting room to have planning sessions or roll call meetings at the beginning of the shifts. Or when they keep a cadre of power company and gas company employees busy helping with the situation. Lots and lots of civilians were required to plug in their necessary skills and infrastructure. Do we make fun of the cops for "keeping the churches open", or "keeping the utility workers out" or the like? Others have done fabulous jobs of taking this blog apart (using martial law in the title and ignoring it in the text is just one example) on it's all frosting and no cake, but I'll end with this. You lost credibility with each line you wrote on this one. And made it worse by refusing to admit your many false pretenses that have been glaringly proved in the comments before mine.

  145. Jon says:

    @Nebris
    I know that post was a while back, but in the interest of fact checking: The map of Dunkin Donuts outlets in all of the greater Los Angeles area would be a blank sheet of paper; in fact, the only one I could find in all of California was on the base at Camp Pendleton. So if that was an actual quote, your friend was either new to the area, or making a subtle joke. And the name is Daryl Gates, not Darrell.

  146. Clark says:

    @fugarwe:

    I'm continually entertained by the donut store being open references. it reinforces the general idea of the people who were there

    I was there.

    and actually KNOW what happened when they say you built this blog on faulty logic, shaky suppositions, and false assertions.

    What false assertion have I made?

    When you mobilize this kind of manpower, for manhunts or disaster situations, one of the huge components is feeding, hydrating, and housing the responders.

    If you told me that the streets are too dangerous for "civilians" to be out on and that's why for each 30 police there was one rookie who was detailed with ferrying snacks and water in from outside the perimeter, that would be a strong and coherent argument.

    …but what you're actually saying is that the streets are too dangerous for civilians…except in the cases of citizens who earn $7/hour to stack donuts in a box, in which case, there is literally no other way to keep the cops fed, so we need those citizens to risk their lives.

    Which is utterly silly.

    Could they have brought in the national guard and their mess tent and all the components needed? Probably, at a great cost to more manpower.

    So you're saying that if soldiers, who have to be paid, were to do the work, it would be expensive. But if a large corporation is willing to do it, it's free.

    they had a Dunkin literally across the street from the command post, they asked to use their facilities.

    They didn't ask to "use the facilities". They asked the corporation to send its employees out on streets that were – apparently – too dangerous for anyone other than a trained first responder.

    Lots and lots of civilians were required to plug in their necessary skills and infrastructure.

    Cops are civilians. The fact that this is not utterly clear to everyone is an example of how far we've slipped down the slope of militarization of police over the last 40 years.

    Others have done fabulous jobs of taking this blog apart (using martial law in the title and ignoring it in the text is just one example)

    Oh, please. Look back at all of my posts. The majority of them have hyperbolic attention-catching titles of the form "X, Y and Z". Security theater, martial law, and a tale that trumps every cop-and-donut joke you've ever heard? The headline I chose is part of the Clark-at-Popehat experience.

    Please criticize my post wherein a right-libertarian sticks a toe in left-libertarianism and finds that the water is fine for there not being any water, or – for that matter – toes.

    Note that – despite the title of The Third Wave, CNC, Stereolithography, and the end of gun control – gun control still exists.

    I'm pretty sure that in Conventional wisdom, Thomas Kuhn, Paul Graham, and how shit is about to get real there were no actual feces present (but, to be fair, I haven't checked the comment thread).

    When you're done bitching to me, please write a letter to the editor of Cosmo magazine and complain that you were mislead by the cover copy – it promised 37 thrilling new ways to please your man, but you already knew 32 of them.

    You lost credibility with each line you wrote on this one. And made it worse by refusing to admit your many false pretenses that have been glaringly proved in the comments before mine.

    I think that the comments pointing out that the DC sniper was a bad example, for a multitude of reasons, made an excellent point, and I'll retract that. Other than that, though, I haven't seen a single thing here that makes me reconsider anything I've said.

  147. Paul E. "Marbux" Merrell, J.D. says:

    @ David: Keeping citizens from going to work, etc., didn't "waste" their eyes and brains; it distributed their eyes and brains across the broad area of interest where the suspect was in hiding.

    That's incorrect according to what I've read. The suspect was actually hiding one block outside the the perimeter of the area being searched. And I've yet to hear a good argument for ordering people outside the search area to stay inside their homes. Supposedly, the curfew was ordered so that no one would be moving inside the search area other than the police.

  148. Clark says:

    You know, I had meant "martial law" as hyperbole, but the more I think about it, the more I think it fits.

  149. David says:

    Besides, Winchell's had that cool little boardgame thing they used to give out around Halloween. And better donuts.

  150. David says:

    @Paul E. "Marbux" Merrell, J.D.,

    The broader point, overlooked in your response, is that it's doubtful he would have hunkered down in that boat at all, whether it lay within or without the perimeter, had he not been forced by the lockdown to lie low.

    Absent the distribution of people across the area of interest (and its flipside, the dispersion of crowds and lollygaggers dans la rue), he would've had a greater chance of escape, and might've made his getaway.

  151. Dan Weber says:

    I could accept the argument that if Boston was bombed once a week, or even once a month, these reactions wouldn't be appropriate.

    However, Boston is not bombed once a month. It's last bomb scare was 5 years ago. (And I am of the opinion, then and now, that they over-reacted to that, although I may consider modifying that opinion.)

    Of course, it's not the bombings that "shut down the city." It was the suspects getting into a bomb-throwing firefight with the cops in a residential and one escaping and ditching his car to flee on foot. It was already pretty rare to find bombers to blow up public events; it's going to be even harder to find those willing to do this.

    (Any course of action based on "well, this is what the terrorists want, we should do the opposite" is doomed to failure.)

  152. Lucy says:

    Thanks for posting that video. Coming out with your hands up puts everyone in the suspect role and is scary.

    I thought you had to pass a fitness test to be a police officer. Guess I was mistaken.

  153. Chris says:

    Clark,

    I don't see the analogy between "martial law" and "dipping a toe" as terrible apt, given the only way to interpret "dipping a toe" is as a metaphor. You say later it's hyperbole and then you show a video as evidence maybe it's not hyperbole, but mocking a comment by saying of course it's just like writing "dipping a toe" seems tendentious.

    While you're revisiting the statements in your post, I might take another look at your statement " keeping somewhere between 2 and 5 million people from work, shopping, and school destroyed a nearly unimaginable amount of value." As I said earlier, I don't know why you had to invent these figures to make your point. It was school vacation week in an area of just under 1 million residents. How you get to 5 million is beyond me. As I also mentioned earlier, I was in that area and went shopping during the advisory. I wasn't in Watertown. If you focused on Watertown and Cambridge there's a lot of stuff to wade through but you might have starker examples and more worries if the activity in the video is what concerns you.

  154. Steve says:

    It seems to me that shutting down the whole city will ENCOURAGE would-be terrorists. Maximum disruption is their goal and this attack succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Death doesn't deter people like this anonymity does.

  155. Malc says:

    @Sarah: Define "local"?

    More to the point, define why you think it matters?

    I am very bothered by the twin assertions that various people are repeating, that (a) the only those "who where there" (with no real definition of "there") are entitled to views, and (b) that the storm-based prohibitions are relevant to anything.

    As to the locality: do I get to say "were you there?" when talking about e.g. London during the Irish terrorism era or during pretty much any given month in Israel (or Iraq/Afghanistan/Syria)?

    Sure, it is entirely appropriate to ask where one might be getting information from (i.e. are you just listening to the useless talking heads on the news?), but in my _specific_ experience, based on comments from relatives and friends who were subject to the event formerly known as the lockdown as well as other sources is that Clark highlighted a real, and very very serious problem:

    The security theater crap worked.

    It worked like it works for the TSA. The TSA is an expensive, intrusive, monolithic bureaucratic thug of an agency, and it gets away with it because of the not-entirely-true narrative that they spin.

    And a week ago various of my younger relatives would have trusted the Boston PD about as far as they could throw them (post donut, obviously), but now they're feting them (presumably for their ability to not entirely screw up a federal investigation).

    The other point (about storms): even with New England's exotic and variable climate, snow tends to fall on everyone more-or-less equally, so you tend to be equally messed up wherever in the area you happen to be, so a restriction on someone traveling from (e.g.) Lexington to South St for work makes all kinds of sense from a public safety perspective.

    The same cannot be said for Friday's over-reach.

  156. Chris says:

    Malc,

    Picking on one thing you write: "I am very bothered by the twin assertions that various people are repeating, that (a) the only those "who where there" (with no real definition of "there") are entitled to views."

    I don't see that. I see several people from the Boston area noting ways in which the situation they experienced was different from what Clark describes. Maybe someone somewhere said only people from Boston "are entitled to views." But I didn't, Sarah doesn't seem to have (she seems to be pointing to something that people with local knowledge might know, namely about the snow storm)–I can't find anyone saying that.

    As for whether the snow storm alert is a valid comparable, I have my doubts too. Mostly that's because it truly was unsafe to be out anywhere in Metropolitan Boston during some of it and there was a massive plowing/clean up job needed in its wake, while, as I've said before, telling people all over Boston they should stay inside for something happening in Watertown was an overreaction and by the afternoon people in my Boston neighborhood were just ignoring it.

  157. Justin Kittredge says:

    I apologize for the use of Idiot. I also most apologize for taking out on you aggression I feel towards groups in general which have in the past maligned government agencies as if they were a giant soulless army just waiting to blindly act as a hand of oppression. Your article was not one such thing, but sometimes I see the worst, where I should not. You are right being American does not make a person good, and means nothing, in that regard. I loved your quote on death by the way. For me the list of things to die for is Family, and everything else is very distant in the running. Liberty doesn't particularly register because you can see it slowly wearing away from a long way off and this lockdown thing is not it. A bullet from a crazy person though, you do not have quite the same amount of time to contact your congressman, peace-ably assemble, and do other democratic process niceties when said bullet is coming at your head. Therefore, for me, bullets to head register higher on the concern scale. "…do those people have extraordinary rights and powers. Here in the United States, the power of the government is limited – or should be limited – by the Constitution." Well the entirety of our disagreement is just this then. I think the lockdown was a good move to ensure we won, killed them or brought them to justice. As we face new threats, bombs, gunmen, what have you, I do not fear lockdowns. What I fear most would be that we do not adapt quickly enough to take what measures are necessary to meet threats and the future of the world. Ideas and procedures and practices must all be given their trials in the sun. I don't fear change. I don't fear adaptation. If we end up with checkpoints in cities, camera feeds monitoring streets, I would fear it not. You might see it as some grotesque infringement. I might whistle my way through those checkpoints, a happy word of "Hows Life?" to whoever is manning them. I exaggerate a touch, I hope you know. Cameras everywhere? CCTV? What happens? The video is so mundane and ordinary you could die of boredom to watch such a thing. So no one would until after the crimes are committed, or for use during the event. I have walked on and off many a military base, hand them an ID, wave a hand, say "Hey." Its the equivalent of a toll booth or waltzing by a security desk. We were talking about the constitution, its got "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare" in that first sentence. Exactly how we go about that is whats up for debate yes? Not just against random crazy fuckers on a spree, but also maybe against trained paramilitary types and outright military from somewheres foreign. Whats your solution? I'd like to hear it. When an attack starts next do you think the protagonists are gonna announce whether they are amateurish domestic crazies or something worse? You have things to do I'm sure, and I understand you also have to defend yourself and your writing. And I do apologize if my language was charged, and also for using "Idiot." But the basic point, is simply, No. No I do not fear lockdowns. Nor do I think they stand for something I should fear. Seems more of an annoyance then something to get all bent out of shape about. When I think of problems and solutions I am usually most preoccupied with what is coming next, and to be ahead of the curve rather then behind it. You are ahead on the Liberty Preservation curve, great. I am surprised all the time, that terrorists do not simply make the plan to get a large group together, grab some machine guns, duffel bags of ammo, and die killing masses of innocent people until they are themselves shot down by law enforcement. Seems like such an obvious simple attack plan to me. You say police are not able to protect us? Well they are best suited for it. Justice, To serve and Protect or whatever the motto of the day is. You do realize Military were there as well right? You gonna tell me yatta-yatta its not their job to protect either? Sometimes I have a real hard time arguing with folks who only criticize things and offer nothing in way of solutions. I had to assume you wanted some crazy percent of Americans as Minute-Men or something rather then the police and military cause you never actually said what you wanted in absence of lockdowns. Just people dying all over full of liberty and lead and nails and ball-bearings? I don't know you gotta fill me in. You worry about Liberty? Thats all well and good, but in the short term of easy access to machine guns in this world and brainwashed folks that breed more brainwashed folks for infinity I'd almost think you oughtta shift your focus to a suitable plan to defend against our enemies here at home. Solutions, plans of action. Kind wondering why you left that out. You point out a case of police brutality. You gonna balance that against all the Brutality committed by those in America who are not Police? No? Because that would be a big and giant silly number difference? Are maybe boy scouts armed with sticks of Liberty gonna protect us? We are all gonna arm ourselves and handle Justice Wild West Style right? Of course then everyone will have a different sense of what Justice means. Open to Interpretation really. You want that? You mentioned money, and you are very right, as the lack of it endangers all Americans. But no I don't worry about residential area lockdown costs every now and then when people are trying to put people in the ground in great quantity.

  158. SPQR says:

    " Clark • Apr 21, 2013 @12:17 pm " – that's where you really nail it.

  159. Time to make the donuts says:

    Clark: I was with you until you got to the part about the donuts, but you're dead wrong there.

    They didn't invite people to come into work, haven't you ever seen the classic dunkin donut ads? They were there before the closure. They were stranded and couldn't go home until transit started back up. A few other businesses like that were open, restaurants and grocery stores, places where workers had arrived early. A friend took his young daughter to buy milk, nobody stopped them, and the grocery store was open.

    As for danger, trust me, the workers were under no threat with a room full of cops there.

    Check your facts, man.

  160. Clark says:

    @Chris:

    > You say later it's hyperbole and then you show a video as evidence maybe it's not hyperbole,

    I meant it at the time as hyperbole. After defending it as hyperbole my girlfriend looked over my shoulder, say my defense, and scurried off to send me a youtube video of a door-to-door search, where residents were hauled out at gunpoint.

    I was thus forced to reconsider. While I posted it as hyperbole and defended it as such, I now think that one could also make a defense of the phrase as being literally appropriate.

  161. Clark says:

    @Malc:

    I am very bothered by … people … repeating that the only those "who where there"… are entitled to views

    Agreed. And, yes, as some responses point out "no one actually SAID those words, that you 'had to be there'", but the implication was clear to me that anyone more than 5 miles from Watertown didn't appreciate the vibe or the situation or whatever.

  162. dfc says:

    I enjoy reading your posts and I submitted this post to HackerNews. But I am at a loss for why you mentioned military golf courses? Do you have a problem with the golf courses in particular or do you haev a problem with all recreational facilities on military bases?

  163. Chris says:

    Clark,

    On the business of you saying it was hyperbole and then reconsidering, I wasn't criticizing–you saw something that made you reconsider and shared it. That's cool.

    I don't buy that commenters from Boston were implying you had to be there to have any idea. Rather, we were pointing out what we saw, which in some cases contradicted your points. Of course, there's also the math of how you get to an upper end of 5 million people affected in an area with 1 million residents and other points that had nothing to do with whether the writer was from the Boston area.

  164. Dan Weber says:

    Libertarianism — big L or small l — does not want to die on this hill.

    If there is a bomber loose in a 10-by-10 house grid of the city, the vast vast majority of people in that grid are going to be very happy to let cops search their homes in pursuit of him.

    Pointing out that the suspect was just outside that zone will not make people in that zone suddenly turn against the cops. They will want to encourage slightly bigger zones in response. If one's intent is to turn people against the police, drawing attention to this "error" will only backfire.

  165. Chris says:

    I happened to be up late the night that the MIT cop got shot and this all started. I was tied in to some ex-military contacts that I have as well as listening to the police scanner, and based on that experience you are not telling the entire story. As someone above said, firstly, they didn't just "lock down Boston". They DID lock down Watertown, because that's where the suspect was. A suspect that had already shot and killed one LE officer and injured another in a shootout where well in excess of 200 rounds were fired. A suspect that in his effort to flee RAN OVER HIS OWN BROTHER. A suspect who, along with his brother, had at the time an unknown number of weapons and explosive devices. A suspect who's brother detonated an explosive device in the process of being taken down, ending his own life. A suspect who had demonstrated through both the planned bombings as well as the impromptu shootouts a willingness to kill and a blatant disregard for life – his or anyone else's. This was a unique situation to the DC snipers whose take down went very differently. In the case of London, all four bombers died in blast. In the case of Ft. Hood, he was taken down at the scene by LE. In the case of the El Al shooting, he was killed at the scene. All the events you cited went down differently than the Boston situation.

  166. Non smoker says:

    Interesting article. Didn't read ALL the comments.

    On 60 Minutes tonight they said the boat owner was "dying for a cigarette" and that's why he went outdoors after the lockdown was lifted (rather than to get a breath of fresh air). Either way your point is correct. I thought the cigarette break gave the story more of a bizarre twist. All those professionals snooping for 15 hours door-to-door and as soon as they call it off a guy goes out for a smoke and finds the terrorist in his back yard :)

  167. Flash says:

    I live in the Boston area and was not inside the "lockdown" area but am close and have friends who live a mile away, and where and when the victim of the carjacking was dropped off I was about to get out of work. Residents were ASKED to stay inside, just like we were asked not to travel during blizzard Nemo this past winter. There was a gunfight through the streets of Cambridge into Watertown, and people didn't WANT to go outside with the possibility of catching a stray bullet.
    I know I was hard at work on my picturesofdogdoodoo blog while watching the news and keeping up on twitter. I was in touch with several friends who didn't want to be terrorized by what was going on but wanted the suspect caught, so they stayed inside to be cooperative. It's scary to think what would happen if they tried to shut everything down for a more nefarious reason, but it's not like people wanted the suspect out there so more people can be murdered.

  168. fugarwe says:

    The points, you missed them. I have to assume you are being obtuse on purpose for internet trolling purposes.

  169. Clark says:

    @dfc :

    I enjoy reading your posts and I submitted this post to HackerNews.

    Indeed you did! Thanks. I went over there and upvoted it.

    But I am at a loss for why you mentioned military golf courses? Do you have a problem with the golf courses in particular or do you haev a problem with all recreational facilities on military bases?

    When I talk about wasteful government spending I try to gore one ox from each side of the aisle. Military golf courses are a relatively minor expense – as is a Cowboy Poetry festival – and yet something that I think exists more out of inertia than because anyone sat down and said "yes, we should borrow money from our grandchildren to do this."

    Feel free to replace with some other budget line item that strikes you as somewhat silly.

  170. Clark says:

    @fugarwe:

    I have to assume you are being obtuse on purpose for internet trolling purposes.

    No. You don't. But feel free to; it won't change my opinion of your arguing style.

  171. Dave Newman says:

    In Belfast, when there was a bomb scare, we left the bars. 30 min. later, when it was all clear, we went back and picked up our drinks.

    Why cannot Bostonians keep calm and carry on like the people of Northern Ireland did for decades?

  172. Chris says:

    Fugarwe,

    Clark did miss or ignore at least some of your points. But compare that to what his co-blogger Ken wrote, after misrepresenting what he and I had each written to that point:

    "You're a punk, and I'd be happier if you don't come back or read my words again. If you do read them, please read each one with an undertone of contempt directed specially to you.

    I just read his latest post on Prenda. Very well researched, analyzed, written. But if has that extra sparkle if you read it with "an undertone of contempt directed specially to you."

    Clark of course still refers to up to 5 million people who couldn't shop etc. in an area of 1 million residents, still writes there were no further fatalities in DC when they didn't shut down the city after the sniper struck, is telling commenters law enforcement told Dunkin Donuts workers to travel to work when the article he links to says only they were asked to stay open.

    Lots of points missed. Oh well, I wouldn't have stuck around this long if it weren't for the colorful and unreasoned remarks from Ken directed at me. But in the meantime I saw your points, others did too. And Clark did respond to a few.

  173. Ken White says:

    @Chris: So, having been told you're not welcome, you choose to stay, rather than be polite and exit. Noted, and options being considered.

  174. Ken White says:

    @fugarwe:

    Wow. Provide some very compelling counter points around here this is the response you get:

    They are ignored.

    You are attacked personally and told to go away.

    You are free to feel the way you like.

    Here's the way I see it: Chris is an entitled arrested adolescent who feels entitled to discourse from whom he wants, when he wants. When I write specifically that I would want to read and explore the issue more before I engage it, that's not good enough for him: it's an occasion for him to become petulant because I have not interrupted my weekend to research want he wants me to talk about, when he wants me to talk about it. Note, also, that Clark is obligated to respond to points the way Chris wants, on Chris's schedule. Chris seems to be under the impression that we work for him. Note how, over the course of yesterday, he became increasingly agitated that we were failing to devote our attention to acknowledging his specialness.

    Moreover, you are free to feel that Chris has been gratuitously insulted. The way I see it, Chris has wandered into our home and insulted my housemates for no particular purpose. I have no problem with Chris saying that Clark is wrong, or even that Clark's point is ridiculous, or that Clark's post is part of a series of posts with which he disagrees, or that he disagrees broadly with Clark's philosophy, or that Clark's post is badly reasoned or supported or even in some way disingenuous. But "this rocks when ken writes but the others are along for the ride" are the words of someone who either (1) has some difference that incapacitates him from normal social interaction, or (2) is a cock for the sake of being a cock.

    So, fugarwe, if you think this is a place where people should be able to show up and be insulting for the sake of being insulting, and we should sit and take it because of how wonderful you are, look elsewhere.

  175. Mark Lyon says:

    Something people seem to be misunderstanding is that staying at home was completely voluntary. They asked that people please shelter in place, but they did not order people to do so, nor was it considered criminal if people were out and about. (Unlike, say, during the blizzard when people were arrested for using their cars).

    Jay, I present the following:

    Exhibit A – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBKCnJPFO5I
    Exhibit B – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LrbsUVSVl8

    Men with guns demanding people close windows, stay inside and submit to searches does not in any way seem voluntary to me.

  176. LadyTL says:

    Hey Clark, I just want to be another person to point out the fat person and ice cream thing was really very offensive.

    Unless you are that fat person's doctor who is giving appropriate medical treatment, you do not know that ice cream of any sort or amount will be harmful to them no matter the weight. All you actually know if a fat person is eating ice cream.

    Your weight and loss/gain also are not relevant to the issue. Calories in Calories out does not work for everyone, not everyone succeeds at permanent or healthy weight loss and portraying your weight loss as why you think it should be okay to perpetuate a nasty stereotype without judgement is rude.

    I hope in the future you will think a bit more about your analogies to avoid the appearance of prejudice or bigotry if you wish to avoid criticism of them.

    The rest of the article was quite good though.

  177. Ken White says:

    Tastes differ. I am obese and did not find it offensive.

  178. AlphaCentauri says:

    @Dave Newman
    That makes sense. But in this case, they didn't shut the city down for a bombing. They shut it down for a dangerous armed fugitive in a residential area, and only enforced it in a limited perimeter. So people weren't going back about their business because they hadn't been given the "all clear" — the guy was still believed to be nearby, and still armed.

    I'm troubled by people being ordered out of their houses. OTOH, had I been there, I would have wanted them to insist on it, to remove the possibility of him entering my house and holding one of my kids at gunpoint while telling me to go to the door and refuse the cops entry. The fact that they couldn't find him and had no evidence he had fled made it even more concerning that he could be in a house holding hostages.

  179. Clark says:

    @LadyTL:

    Hey Clark, I just want to be another person to point out the fat person and ice cream thing was really very offensive.

    I reject the assertion that it was "offensive" as some sort of objective truth.

    If you assert that you were offended by it I'll trust you, but I don't accept that it was offensive according to any sort of "reasonable person" standard.

    Unless you are that fat person's doctor who is giving appropriate
    medical treatment, you do not know that ice cream of any sort or
    amount will be harmful to them no matter the weight.

    Oh, what namby-pamby nonsense.

    Excess weight is sub-optimal. Excess sugar is sub-optimal for all sorts of well documented metabolic paths.

    Your weight and loss/gain also are not relevant to the issue.

    Yes, my weight is relevant – the fact that I felt it was reasonable to make a statement of medical fact even though I, myself, am an American of Girth indicates that it was not intended as a slanderous / wounding / mocking comment.

    not everyone succeeds at permanent or healthy weight loss

    100% agreed. Weight loss is hard. Keeping weight off is hard. (Side note: I really respect Megan McCardle for noting this several different times over the years, despite what appears to be preternatural thinness on her part. )

    and portraying your weight loss as why you think it should be okay

    Where did I say that I lost weight? I said that I've been at many different weight points. I'm certainly not at a thin, "pleasingly plump" or even "husky" weight today.

    to perpetuate a nasty stereotype without judgement is rude.

    What stereotype did I perpetuate?

    I stated an utterly uncontroversial medical fact: that excess sugar and excess calories are bad.

    I strive to be kind to people, but to deny reality by saying things like

    • being 200 pounds overweight is just as healthy as being at a target weight
    • the average woman has as much upper body strength as the average man and therefore as large a percentage of women can handle infantry work as men
    • all individuals have the same intelligence

    and other shibboleths of our current never-let-anyone-feel-bad-about-anything-SWPL-culture is something that I will not do.

    Reality has sharp edges, and sometimes objective facts make us feel bad. I will not insult anyone's intelligence by pretending that such facts are somehow not true.

    I hope in the future you will think a bit more about your analogies to avoid the appearance of prejudice or bigotry

    First, I think that true prejudice and true bigotry are reprehensible and should be avoided, but much of what's called "prejudice and bigotry" these days is an etiolated, washed-out imitation. When we're no longer fighting to allow black women to sit in the front of the bus or fighting to allow gays to dance at a bar without being harassed by cops, and are instead creating speech codes so that statements like "excess consumption of sugar is bad" are thought-crimes, we're no longer in the realm of the variety of prejudice that I care about.

    Second, I really don't mind at all if random strangers conclude that I am prejudiced or bigotted. I hope that they don't, I suppose, but I'm not going to alter my presentation to accomplish it.

  180. Angry Alex says:

    Assuming this hasn't been pointed out, given what's happened with the LAPD and that rogue cop recently the citizens are likely safer

  181. Lucas Perin says:

    From the New York Times:

    "As investigators intensified their search for clues, the investigation’s focus shifted in the last two days from a manhunt that relied heavily on cutting-edge surveillance technology to help track down the suspects to more traditional investigative methods."

    That citizen climbing on a stepladder to look inside his boat seemed pretty high-tech to me.

  182. Peter N. Steinmetz says:

    What is the legality of this "lockdown" anyway? What sort of orders or instructions were given and on what legal authority?

  183. Geebes says:

    In london there were no further fatalities?
    Ask Jean Charles de Menezes. Oh yeah, you can't. Because he is dead.

  184. Anony Mouse says:

    @Non smoker

    Frankly, that's what I assumed. I mean, does anyone use "get some fresh air" as anything but a euphemism for smoking any more?

  185. Mrs.Schaarschmidt says:

    Way to set up a bunch of straw-man arguments then knock them down! That was really simple!

    a) I'd like to know your source regarding the police request to keep Dunkin Donuts open.

    b) While I am still unsure about how I feel about the lockdown, you missed all of the probable reasons that the lockdown actually happened. It's easy to argue against "Gee I truest the government, don't you?" Try arguing against the actual facts.

    The truth is that we don't know all of the actual facts, so it's a little harder to make the argument. But it is known that the suspect that died had a detonator on them. There were reports of at least one other controlled explosion during the lockdown.

    During the lockdown, there were no crowds. During the lockdown it was possible to sweep for other explosive devices. The door-to-door thing seemed kind of silly to me even at the time (he could just be hiding under a bed or in a closet – I'm sure they couldn't sweep every square inch of every house they went to anyway). My feeling though is that the entire exercise was more about searching for and neutralizing explosives that could be anywhere or everywhere.

    My point is not that the lockdown was a good thing – I don't know if it was or not. But setting up straw men is not an argument

  186. Clark says:

    @Mrs.Schaarschmidt:

    While I am still unsure about how I feel about the lockdown, you missed all of the probable reasons that the lockdown actually happened. It's easy to argue against "Gee I truest the government, don't you?" Try arguing against the actual facts.

    What fact did I miss that somehow makes my "the streets were too dangerous for citizens…but not for donut bakers" wrong?

    The door-to-door thing seemed kind of silly to me even at the time

    "Silly" not the word I'd choose to describe squads of uniformed men with automatic weapons and body armor deploying into a town and pulling people out of their homes with out warrants.

    My feeling though is that the entire exercise was more about searching for and neutralizing explosives

    I am more than happy to debate your thoughts (your rational modeling of the world and your logical inferrences and arguments), but I have absolutely no interest in debating your feelings (your subjective experience of emotions).

    My point is not that the lockdown was a good thing – I don't know if it was or not. But setting up straw men is not an argument

    In what way was my point a straw man?

  187. Geebes says:

    My point also applies in Washington…

    "But in … Washington … there [was no] lockdown, and there were no further fatalities."

    A lockdown might have occurred after the second day, after which there were another 7 shootings, 4 of them fatal.

    James Martin 55 Killed October 2, 2002
    James Buchanan 39 Killed October 3, 2002
    Premkumar Walekar 54 Killed October 3, 2002
    Sarah Ramos 34 Killed October 3, 2002
    Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera 25 Killed October 3, 2002
    Pascal Charlot 72 Killed October 3, 2002
    Caroline Seawell 43 Survived October 4, 2002
    Iran Brown 13 Survived October 7, 2002
    Dean Harold Meyers 53 Killed October 9, 2002
    Kenneth Bridges 53 Killed October 11, 2002
    Linda Franklin 47 Killed October 14, 2002
    Jeffrey Hopper 37 Survived October 19, 2002
    Conrad Johnson 35 Killed October 22, 2002

  188. Chris says:

    My tongue has spots all over it!

  189. Dan says:

    You rattle on a bit don't you..? Try and get to the point a bit quicker next time, we all know words, you're no god when it comes to using them.

  190. Clark says:

    @Geebes:

    A lockdown might have occurred after the second day, after which there were another 7 shootings, 4 of them fatal.

    You are entirely correct; I retract the DC example.

  191. Clark says:

    @Dan:

    You rattle on a bit don't you..?

    Yes..!

    Try and get to the point a bit quicker next time

    No..!

    we all know words, you're no god when it comes to using them.

    I never claimed I was.

    If my blog posts aren't to your liking please contact Ken; he'll refund whatever fee you paid at the door.

  192. Geebes says:

    Your London example is also invalid, because the Metropolitan Police shot an innocent man seven times in the head after mistaking him for a terrorist.

  193. Clark says:

    @Geebes:

    Your London example is also invalid, because the Metropolitan Police shot an innocent man seven times in the head after mistaking him for a terrorist.

    I don't see how that fact weighs on either side of the debate.

  194. Geebes says:

    It weighs in because your examples are wrong. You said there was no lockdown in London and DC, and that there were no further fatalities. You said this was "suggestive".

    There were no lockdowns, but there were further fatalities. Is this still suggestive? or are you only prepared to look at examples that support your hypothesis?

  195. Common Sense says:

    Another issue is the fact that this may have kept people from seeing doctors who didn't feel their minor symptoms warranted the risk (or their doctor was closed), yet they died because their problem was more serious than they realized (my sister died at few years ago of something she and her husband dismissed as not being worth going to a hospital for, even without a city lockdown to discourage it).

    Someone who was prevented from working that day for hourly wages similarly might put off a doctor visit since they are short of cash.. and might wind up dying because of it.

  196. John Doe says:

    Hmm – this doesn't seem like a reasonable way to treat innocent citizens.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nrkcUV_7Qk

    At least they didn't shoot the dog.

    However, it is pretty clear they aren't asking people to 'check their yards' – nor are they asking any questions at all. They are giving orders. So we know that in at least one case, if not others, thug cops with machine guns stood around barking at innocent citizens.

  197. Bill says:

    @albert, I couldn't agree with your POV more. Thanks for posting your comment.

    @clark, thanks for posting this in the vein that you did. It makes it more debatable than emotional. We need more of that in America. We show all of the signs of an insecure teenager in this country. We're so hypersensitive to any criticism or alternative way of looking at things.

  198. Big M says:

    Given the fact that the "mainstream" media and the "government" do nothing but lie, I'd be more inclined to call them patsies instead of murderous cowards.

    By the time they get done torturing and drugging them, they'll probably confess to blowing up the Hindenburg and the Lusitania, and crucifying Jesus.

    You'll forgive me for not believing one single word about this coming from any "news" sources.

  199. B Dubya says:

    I'm sure you have heard this before:
    "People who give up essential libertiy in exchange for safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    People who are unwilling to take their own safety as a personal obligation are, likewise, neither safe nor free citizens. They are subjects of whatever entity weilds power in their immediate vivinity, whether that power is from criminal enterprise or from government.

  200. I have to point out to you Clark, that given Popehat is a legal blog, you really ought not to go lathering, rinsing & repeating the MSM's sensationalistic story reporting by parroting popular sheeplethink. As heinous and grotesque as the suspects may be, they are, in fact, innocent til proven guilty. The court of public opinion does not get to decide especially since this case has enough unanswered questions big enough to drive a fleet of buses through it much like Sandy Hook.

  201. Flash says:

    I would be interested to hear if there were any arrests that happened that were related to something the police found while looking for the suspect. There had to be someone who didn't clean up after a party and got caught with something they shouldn't have.

  202. Ken White says:

    @prattleonboyo

    I have to point out to you Clark, that given Popehat is a legal blog,

    @popehat's About Page:

    Since a number of Popehat's authors are attorneys, work in closely related fields, or have strong interests in politics, law is also a relative constant in the site's focus. Nevertheless, though it may seem to be at times, this is not a "law blog" as such. Ultimately, the subject of Popehat is whatever the author of a given post wishes to discuss, aided by a good community of readers and commenters, whose thoughts and feedback are greatly appreciated.

    But that was probably inserted in there by masons, or Jews, or Masonic Jews, to thwart you.

    you really ought not to go lathering, rinsing & repeating the MSM's sensationalistic story reporting by parroting popular sheeplethink.

    I cannot hear "sheeple" without imagining a writer who does not bathe with socially acceptable regularity.

    As heinous and grotesque as the suspects may be, they are, in fact, innocent til proven guilty. The court of public opinion does not get to decide

    Hooray! True!

    especially since this case has enough unanswered questions big enough to drive a fleet of buses through it . . .

    Well, there are certainly unanswered questions, but I'm not sure how many go to the nature and weight of the evidence against the surviving suspect.

    . . . .much like Sandy Hook.

    Masonic Jews again.

  203. Dan Weber says:

    What fact did I miss that somehow makes my "the streets were too dangerous for citizens. . . but not for donut bakers" wrong?

    Were the Dunkin' Donuts within the specific locked-down area of Watertown open?

    There is a lot of conflating of what was happening in an area of Watertown with what was happening in all of the Boston area. It serves a certain narrative to say that "millions of people were locked down" but in reality there was nothing close to that many people even voluntarily staying home. Being so loose with facts isn't going to help.

    Also, for people not aware, DD is a Boston institution. It was founded in Quincy and its HQ is now in Canton. They stayed open when the Starbucks all closed. (And to hell with those Krisky Kreme bastards!)

    We've seen much worse police action on this blog, or any day of Radley Balko's. Maybe I'm old but videos of cops going door-to-door doesn't even get my heart rate up.

    People who give up essential libertiy in exchange for safety deserve neither liberty nor safety

    You left out some very important key words from this quote.

    Like it or not, libertarians have to live with everyone else. And that "everyone else" are people who are very happy to know that if a bomber is in a 20-block area including their home that the cops will be swarming the place to find him. Trying to convince people that they shouldn't be happy with this, even assuming you were right about that, is a losing proposition that isn't going to encourage anyone to become a libertarian.

  204. Dan says:

    This was a person on the loose who was identified and known to be dangerous, and in a limited area. None of the other examples you offered were like that. Either the gunman/bomber killed themselves shortly after, or the authorities didn't know who it was. This was a pretty unique situation. On the other hand, I definitely don't like police raiding houses with no warrants and being rude about it, but that's a different topic.

  205. JR says:

    Being far removed from the event, my only sources of information were the internets and a muted tv in the lobby kept tuned to Bloomberg. Suffice to say that I now have negative knowledge of the situation and circumstances.

    I would love to hear the stories of those forced(?) to vacate their premises in a such a way that made me think they had been busted running a meth lab. Specifically, did they volunteer to have their home searched? Did they refuse the search and then get subjected to it anyhow? Was their house chosen because of some possible connection the residents might have had with the bombers? Were they being treated as criminals because the officers had, in fact, found evidence of a crime in progress during the search? How admissible would any evidence found by these means be in a court of law? Was anyone charged with a crime? Could they sue for having been humiliated in front of their neighbors? How about violation of 4A?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  206. Sarah says:

    @Malc:

    My "are you local?" wasn't meant to imply that you don't get to have an opinion unless you are, so I'm sorry it read dismissively. I genuinely wasn't sure, because you discussed weather travel advisories, something we're obviously quite familiar with here, but didn't seem to be aware of the severity of the February travel ban.

    "I am very bothered by the twin assertions that various people are repeating…that the storm-based prohibitions are relevant to anything"

    For starters, I think that my discussion of storm-based prohibitions was relevant to your comment, since you brought them up and directly compared them to the language used on Friday. I disagreed with the point you made, and I gave specific examples.

  207. AlphaCentauri says:

    I'm betraying my suburban homeownerishness. I finally watched the video where Clark saw "martial law" and I saw "neighbors getting sweet revenge against the college boys in the party house."

    "Why, no, officer, I don't know who lives in that green house. The people I knew sold it to someone who lives out of state last year. It's zoned single-family, but there are young men going in and out all the time, so many different ones all the time, I can't count how many. There are beer cans all over our front yards Sunday mornings. I assumed they were selling drugs in there, but maybe they're friends of those pot-smoking bombers. I've been calling every weekend trying to get something done about them. I sure hope you check them out."

  208. joe pullen says:

    This was a pretty unique situation. On the other hand, I definitely don't like police raiding houses with no warrants and being rude about it, but that's a different topic.

    Dan, at what point does someone else get to decide for me that it is a “unique enough situation” that an exception to my right not to have police barge into my house without a warrant can be over-ruled. Is this the “we are scared” exception, also commonly known as the “public safety" exception?

    I’d argue that police raiding houses with no search warrant is indeed very much part of the topic under discussion.

  209. Lisa Williams says:

    Clark, the house in the video you post at 12:31 is my house. My name is Lisa Williams and my house is about 300 feet from the site of the shootout where the older brother was killed.

    My house is large, creaky, has a three car garage and more trees than most houses on my block combined. It would have been a good place to hide.

    When I learned from a neighbor that the police wanted to search it, I called the police myself and gave them the entry code to the front door (we have a keypad entry system).

    Since I was the first one who was able to get back to our house, I felt much safer knowing that it had been thoroughly searched.

    So I'm afraid your thesis doesn't quite hold up — I would have invited them in if I was there, and since I wasn't I called and gave them the electronic "keys" to the place.

  210. Lisa Williams says:

    (Just to clarify, mine is the large gray house, the second one they enter, not the green house, the first one that the police approach).

  211. Lisa Williams says:

    (That is, at least in the case of my house: although the police went in, I invited them to do so).

  212. Joan Arnold says:

    Terrorism is now a part of life in America. Not all terrorists are foreign or brown-skinned (McVeigh, Kaczynski, Rush Limbaugh :) ). Besides the tragic and senseless death and injuries, here is what else is sad about this situation. The mob mentality – beating a young mother because she is Muslim. The gun nuts on FB using this as yet another lame reason why they should own assault weapons. All due to the FEAR that shut down an entire city and affected the rest of the country (and the world). I am not ragging on the people of Boston…I would be afraid too. My point is, FEAR is the most successful weapon of a terrorist.

  213. Judith says:

    This is a fascinating discussion! The varying experiences of Bostonians adds personal dimension to the news stories.

    As a side note, I'm interested in the outcome of any lawsuits filed that allege unconstitutional searches in Watertown. An article I read suggested that since police weren't concerned with finding admissible evidence, any unconstitutional searches were irrelevant, but lawsuits are filed against the police fairly regularly. (I foresee a potential class-action lawsuit by the ACLU with the potential for millions in emotional distress and punitive damages.) However, it may fall under the public safety exemption. Any thoughts?

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2013/04/boston_bomber_manhunt_is_the_watertown_door_to_door_search_by_police_for.html

  214. Paul E. "Marbux" Merrell, J.D. says:

    @ Dan Weber: "Maybe I'm old but videos of cops going door-to-door doesn't even get my heart rate up."

    Spent too much time watching violent TV action flicks? Or has life in American big cities actually degenerated to the point that such events are are old hat? I'm old too, but had what happened to the residents in the video Clark linked happened to me or my family, our civil rights lawsuit would already be filed along with a motion for expedited discovery to get the particular cops' names. And the demand for punitive damages would seek an order barring the officers from being indemnified. My goal would be to execute judgment on their own homes. The sanctity of the home from warrantless invasion is one of the bedrock principles of American freedom. That principle's exceptions for exigent circumstances does not extend so far as those Boston police took it.

    Perhaps the difference between us is that I spent 27 months plus one day as a combat troop in Viet Nam. No one gets to point a gun at me without retribution unless they kill me. Bullets and the threat thereof is no joke. And pointing them at people is just asking for an accidental pull on a trigger.

    In that video, I saw a cop banging on a window — not the door itself — hard enough to break most windows and a micro-second lapse between the time a young man answered the door and his being forcibly yanked outside. Obviously there was no request to enter the premises to search. What happened was warrantless, forcible paramilitary invasion of a home with its residents ordered out as found and frisked, with forced raising of their hands behind their heads, then being forced to sit with their hands still behind their heads under the guard of more cops waving guns at them.

    Now we can wait and see if the Boston PD complies with the requirement that a search executed in exigent circumstances be promptly followed by the police obtaining a retroactive warrant.

    While I normally attempt to avoid strong words in my writing, your willingness to sacrifice my liberties on the altar of your own perceived safety is nothing short of cowardly. But it is a cowardice purposely imposed by those who practice the politics of fear:

    The PSYOP [Psychological Operations] aspect of the PRC [Population & Resources Control] program tries to make the imposition of control more palatable to the people by relating the necessity of controls to their safety and well-being. PSYOP efforts also try to create a favorable national or local government image and counter the effects of the insurgent propaganda effort.

    — US Special Forces, Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces, FM 31.20-3 (2003) (Wikileaks).

    As a former practitioner of the craft as a combat loudspeaker "psywarrior" team leader, I state unequivocally that techniques of precisely the type described above surround Americans in their daily lives.

    As said by Edward R. Murrow, ""We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home." Benjamin Franklin expressed similar sentiments when he wrote that "[t]hose who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." And Helen Keller topped it off by observing: "Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."

    The politics of fear is the dominant political meme of our time. You either reject it or you live your life in constant fear, as intended by those who use their lies to wield power over you.

    In my opinion, of course.

  215. JR says:

    @Lisa Williams and the other Bostonians that have commented

    Thanks for taking the time to comment and shed a little light on the matter for those of us that weren't there. I'm still concerned about the treatment of the people in the first house searched on the video. I've seen a few drug busts in person and they looked a lot like that.

  216. Paul E. "Marbux" Merrell, J.D. says:

    Sorry about the faulty hyperlink in my last post. I wish this blog enabled comment previews.

    I also retract my statement that a follow-up warrant is required. I had intended to delete that after doing some research that contradicted the statement but forgot to. (Note to self: don't hit the send button while chatting with the wife.)

    @ Ken and his wish to "read and explore more" before taking a position, that was what the skeptic in me shrieked when news of the bomb blast crossed my radar the first time. Investigative journalists have begun to probe the official version of events, with an eye toward whether the Tsarnaev brothers were patsies. Some relevant context you won't find on CNN:

    Pepe Escobar, The FBI Boston-Chechnya Charade, Asia Times (22 April 2013) ("inter-galactic holes in the story of the Tsarnaev brothers").

    Id., Orwell does America, Asia Times (23 April 2013) (eleven questions about the bombing in need of answers).

    Sibel Edmonds, USA: The Creator & Sustainer of Chechen Terrorism, Boiling Frogs (19 April 2013).

    Daniel Hopsicker, Was Boston Bombers ‘Uncle Ruslan’ with the CIA?, Madcow Morning News (22 April 2013).

    David Lindorff, Who's investigating the FBI investigators?: Something's Rotten in Boston, This Can't Be Happening! (22 April 2013).

    That's only a sampling. But certainly enough to suggest that the Dzhok Tsarnaev defense lawyers may have to cope with a wall of state secret privilege claims if it's a real defense.

  217. Lisa Williams says:

    I know all the people in the first (green) house, of course. One of them is my tenant (my house is a two family). She did not want to be alone and went to our neighbors in the green house, where everyone moved into the basement for safety.

    They did not open the door immediately because they felt the basement door was not secure and had put items in front of it. What the police heard in response to their knocks was muffled shouting and moving of boxes and furniture — they thought it was a hostage situation.

    Also, regarding the Dunkin' Donuts shop that was open — someone upthread said something like "well, they made the shop owner drive through an area that they said wasn't safe for anybody except law enforcement." Also not true; the franchisee lives within sight of his shop. All he had to do to get there was cross the street, and he did that when there were plenty of police already there. He wasn't asked to volunteer — he called up and offered to do it.

    No one in the neighborhood was charged with anything, nor was anyone in the neighborhood taken into custody.

    It seems as though some people are a bit eager to see something that validates their personal political beliefs. The problem is that I and my neighbor — private individuals who own the homes that you're all using as fodder for water-cooler talk — know that what happened doesn't support much of that speculation.

  218. Seawolf68 says:

    What the heck's going on here? Just the way some of these questions are posed misrepresents the facts. Yes, Boston and Watertown's PD's wanted civilians off the streets but it was highly advised yet voluntary. The overwhelming majority of the people complied and let the pros do their work. The very moment the situation was in hand, the "martial law" was lifted and the people swarmed the streets, not cursing their captors, but thanking the many law enforcement agencies and telling them "Well done!" Was it a bit disconcerting seeing such a strong police presence, so quick, so strong? Of course, as it should be. But let's step back and realize that along with the relief of their captures, now comes the healing. Let's focus on that instead of woulda, coulda, shoulda.

  219. Clark says:

    Yes, Boston and Watertown's PD's wanted civilians off the streets but it was highly advised yet voluntary.

    So the guy in Watertown who was found out on the street by the cops during the "voluntary" lockdown, arrested, stripped naked, and paraded in front of TV cameras – that didn't happen?

    The very moment the situation was in hand, the "martial law" was lifted and the people swarmed the streets

    No, wrong.

    De facto martial law was lifted when the cops gave up, having failed at their task.

    …at which point, yes, citizens went outside…and immediately found the suspected terrorist.

    not cursing their captors, but thanking the many law enforcement agencies and telling them "Well done!"

    Most people are sheep.

    That doesn't undercut my argument in the least.

    But let's step back and realize that along with the relief of their captures, now comes the healing.

    What these words mean I don't even.

  1. April 20, 2013

    [...] security theater, martial law, and a tale that trumps every cop-and-donut joke you've ever heard | P… __________________ [...]

  2. April 20, 2013

    [...] has another perspective on [...]

  3. April 20, 2013

    [...] by cojoco to Bad_Cop_No_Donut [link] [1 [...]

  4. April 20, 2013

    [...] Popehat, Clark explains why the security theatre response to the Marathon bombers was a lot of show, but not [...]

  5. April 20, 2013

    [...] THOUGHTS: Via Popehat, I learn that the 5-0 allowed the Dunkin Donuts to stay open. The stale jokes about fresh donuts [...]

  6. April 20, 2013

    [...] I went on record yesterday as being unopposed to the Boston lockdown, but Bruce Schneier linked me to an excellent argument against: [...]

  7. April 20, 2013

    [...] Do go read the whole thing. It is typical Popehat brilliance. [...]

  8. April 20, 2013

    [...] other day–about how the only time you really let terrorists win is by being terrorized. Sauce: security theater, martial law, and a tale that trumps every cop-and-donut joke you've ever heard | P… [...]

  9. April 20, 2013
  10. April 20, 2013

    [...] have found this piece by Clark over at Popehat to be the most illuminating yet. I can't excerpt the good parts because the whole thing is [...]

  11. April 20, 2013

    [...] He was ultimately caught without any further loss of life, and so, 24 hours later, suddenly the knives are coming out. tl;dr – the lockdown was unnecessary, just a bunch of security theater which [...]

  12. April 20, 2013

    [...] First, a good article via haiku: [...]

  13. April 21, 2013

    [...] narrative of the events.  Instead, I prefer to call your attention to this essay in which Clark of Popehat discusses Boston's massive exercise in security theater which used the bombing as an excuse, and to the first of Radley Balko's four links above the [...]

  14. April 21, 2013

    [...] Blogger Clark [NLN] at Popehat argues that Friday's unprecedented lockdown of commerce, transportation, and public events in Boston imposed a vastly greater cost with no commensurate benefit to public security. Clark points out that Washington DC, Kileen TX, and London recently experienced terrorist attacks with two, three, and 10 times greater fatalities respectively, but authorities did not impose civic paralysis. [...]

  15. April 21, 2013

    [...] (More on this from Popehat.) [...]

  16. April 21, 2013

    [...] agree with this take on how the terrorists won in Boston. This sort of irrational risk aversion is the theme of my book. [...]

  17. April 21, 2013

    [...] large percent of the reaction in Boston has been security theater," writes Popehat. "'Four victims brutally killed' goes by other names in other cities. In Detroit, [...]

  18. April 21, 2013

    [...] the Boston Police Department would not have told everyone to stay home unless they worked at Dunkin' Donuts, in which case those places needed to stay open so the police could [...]

  19. April 21, 2013

    [...] large percent of the reaction in Boston has been security theater," writes Popehat. "'Four victims brutally killed' goes by other names in other cities. In Detroit, [...]

  20. April 22, 2013

    [...] Read the full article @ PopeHat.com. [...]

  21. April 22, 2013

    [...] Security Theater in Reinstform, findet unter anderem Popehat: [...]

  22. April 22, 2013

    [...] Popehat, Clark dissects the unprecedented, expensive and ineffectual lockdown of Boston and the western [...]

  23. April 22, 2013

    [...] it more adeptly than I in a posting on POPEHAT.COM that ended with this perfect little nugget: The government and police were willing to shut down parts of the economy like the universities, soft… And they were right. Full article [...]

  24. April 23, 2013

    [...] Read More [...]

  25. April 23, 2013

    [...] not in Reason: A righteous rant at [...]

  26. April 23, 2013

    [...] police force in America: they puffed up with pride everytime the TV cameras were on them, took the unprecedented move of shutting down an entire city to find the suspects, and then exchanged gleeful emails of Tamarlane's horrendously butchered [...]

  27. April 23, 2013

    [...] As one blogger put it: [...]

  28. April 23, 2013

    [...] "security theater, martial law, and a tale that trumps every cop-and-donut joke you've ever hea…" in which Clark wrote about the enormous waste involved in shutting Boston down for a whole day (except, apparently, Dunkin Donuts, which was explicitly asked to stay open to provide the police with food). [...]

  29. April 24, 2013

    [...] police force in America: they puffed up with pride everytime the TV cameras were on them, took the unprecedented move of shutting down an entire city to find the suspects, and then exchanged gleeful emails of Tamarlane's horrendously butchered [...]

  30. April 24, 2013

    [...] a major American city may have increased safety some small bit, but it was not without a cost,” writes one blogger at Popehat.com. Arbitrarily "keeping somewhere between 2 and 5 million people from work, shopping, and [...]

  31. April 24, 2013

    [...] police force in America: they puffed up with pride everytime the TV cameras were on them, took the unprecedented move of shutting down an entire city to find the suspects, and then exchanged gleeful emails of Tamarlane’s horrendously butchered [...]

  32. April 24, 2013

    [...] 1/ The boat, whilst in Watertown, was just outside the lockdown perimeter. [...]

  33. April 24, 2013

    [...] a major American city may have increased safety some small bit, but it was not without a cost,” writes one blogger at Popehat.com. Arbitrarily "keeping somewhere between 2 and 5 million people from work, shopping, and [...]

  34. April 25, 2013

    [...] crisis was so serious that hundreds of millions of dollars of wealth was destroyed but coffee slingers and donut bakers were free to serve the FBI and Boston PD…so safety [...]

  35. June 11, 2013

    [...] shutdown of Boston, which was the biggest overreaction, also protected Dzhokar Tsarnaev from being caught all [...]

  36. June 12, 2013

    [...] Torch, quoting Popehat, pointed out something I'd missed.  During the lockdown the cops asked everyone except [...]