An Entire City Locked into a Police State Freeze

and now our Ruling Classes are seizing the opportunity cow us into abandoning our rights to due process in panic over two guys.

As of this writing, the bomber, an American citizen, was apparently not read his rights.  If Obama does nothing about that, then fascists like the Rubber Hose Right will cheer, lefties will offer mealy-mouth excuses and we will have taken another step toward a lawless police state.

Panic is a really bad basis for major constitutional decisions.  If this stands and an American citizen is denied all due process because state fascists want to dispense with the rule of law, the damage men like this suspect is accused of doing to America will be infinitesmal compared to the damage Obama, McCain, and Graham do.  Those in our government who want to obliterate due process to get after the devil are far greater dangers than this lunatic, because they wield far greater firepower.

Update: The was apparently seriously wounded and so not fit to hear his rights. Fair enough. However, McCain and Graham’s remarks are still ominous and we will see if Obama decides to indefinitely detain him as an enemy combatent.

What McCain and Graham are effectively doing is turning every serious crime into an extension of the war on terror. If that stands, all crime can be redefined as “terror” and the criminal redefined as an “enemy combatant” and not a citizen with rights. Give that ridiculous approach it’s head and you eventually get to the day where the state is declaring a shoplifter and “economic terrorist” and depriving people of their rights as part of the “war on terror”. These men are dangerous police state totalitarians.

Upperdate:  The Feds are “suspending” his Miranda rights by invoking some anti-terrorism law that lets them “temporarily” do that.  We’ll see.

  • Nick R

    At least they didn’t shoot any innocent civilians this time (that I’ve heard of), unlike the LAPD.
    For this we’re probably supposed to be grateful.
    Terribly inappropriate humor: http://i.imgur.com/927PZw4.jpg

    • Mark S. (not for Shea)

      Had this happened in Los Angeles, I suspect the police would have just started shooting at anyone in white baseball caps.

  • Desi Erasmus

    Irony: the second suspect was located when the homeowner in whose boat he was hiding strolled out into his own back yard after being given permission by the gendarmes…. and noticed something amiss with the boat cover. Zounds! A trail of blood, and blood on the cover!

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      Yeah, that’s what I was thinking when I heard that last night. They might not have caught the guy so soon had they not finally given permission for the citizenry to go outside. Ironic indeed.

  • R. Howell

    Nothing in constitutional law says the guy has to be “read his rights”. The supreme court has only ruled that if he’s not read these rights, the things he says can’t be used in court against him.

    No constitutional question even arises unless they try to use testimony given pre-Miranda as part of legal proceedings to convict him of a crime. I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure this is the case until I see commentary from a real constitutional law expert that says otherwise.

    • R. Howell
    • The True Will

      But police will usually “say the magic words” anyway, rather than face having to explain the above to someone shouting “I know my rights!”

      Of course, since a combattant is someone engaged in combat, than once he is declared “enemy combattant” (apparently “anybody we say is one”), the President has the authority to kill him with a drone strike, according to the Attorney General.

  • The True Will

    No, lefties will cry about the War On Islam.

  • Ray Marshall

    It’s interesting that all those incredibly liberal residents of the Boston area meekly submitted to these police state fiats. True to form, of course, the word “Muslim” rarely appears in the reporting on the event. Because “everybody” knows that Islam is a religion of peace and Christianity is the cause of the world’s ills.

    • Benjamin

      “True to form, of course, the word “Muslim” rarely appears in the reporting on the event.”

      What planet are you living on? It’s mentioned in every single article I’ve read on the act. They constantly point out they’re Cechen and Muslim. What more do you want? Do you want them to go all Drudge on everyone and scream BOSTON JIHAD in 19 point font on the front page of the NYT?

  • Tim in Cleveland

    Apparently the guy is in critical condition, so reading him his rights won’t do much. I don’t even think Mirandizing an unconscious suspect “counts” in a court. (I’m assuming this guy was unconscious from the news reports I read). He certainly wouldn’t have the capacity to waive those rights. The suspect has to acknowledge he understands those rights.

    Maybe the police will read him his rights once he comes to.

  • TheElic95

    Wait, i thought he came here with a green card?

  • John

    The story seems to be that large scale surveillance, shutting down the city, the use of citizen’s electronic devices, the use of helicopter based thermal imaging and a general attitude of we need to do absolutely anything in our power, has brought about another great success in the ongoing struggle between the wonderful protector state over the horrors of those who might harm us.
    Yes, we need the means of peace and security, but at what cost?

    • Jon W

      Seriously. Far more “terror” was caused in the process of trying to bring these guys down than was caused by the original bombs.

      • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

        What’s your measure of “terror”?

        • Jon W

          I don’t know. I totally admit that I might be wrong. It just looked like people were freaked out over from the terror caused by having police swarm all over their neighborhoods, when the initial bombing was pretty minimal. The next day a suicide bomber in Baghdad killed 26 people in a cafe.

  • John

    So, if these guys are enemy combatants, how long before any crime, violent or not, can be deemed to be the act of one who is an enemy of the state?

  • Leslie Fain

    Mark, and here is the movie scene to go with your post:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9rjGTOA2NA

    • Newp Ort

      Love that movie, nice comment!

      There’s no law against that.

      There is, God’s Law!

      Then let God arrest him.

  • Thomas Tucker

    Uncharitable post and series of comments. Gratitude is the order of the day.

  • George

    As a Boston resident, I wonder what the commenters and Mr. Shea would offer as an alternative solution.

    These guys were throwing homemade grenades out of a stolen car. Was requesting that people remain inside really over the top?

    • Charles E Flynn

      Thank you.
      There was no alternative. The government did something right.

    • Oregon Catholic

      It was absolutely the right thing to do. One can only speculate, but I wonder how many killings of innocents by freaked out citizens were prevented by not having people out and about while the search was on.

      I also think the all out intensive effort to identify and capture these two sends a vital message to other would-be terrorists that they WILL NOT GET AWAY WITH IT. And for those of you on here sneering about who will be defined as a terrorist next, I think you come as off as beyond paranoid. If these two cannot be defined as terrorists, regardless of motivation, then I don’t know who can.

    • Oregon Catholic

      It was absolutely the right thing to do. One can only speculate, but I wonder how many killings of innocents by freaked out citizens were prevented by not having people out and about while the search was on.

      I also think the all out intensive effort to identify and capture these two sends a vital deterent message to other would-be terrorists that they WILL NOT GET AWAY WITH IT. And for those of you on here sneering about who will be defined as a terrorist next, I think you come as off as beyond paranoid. If these two cannot be defined as terrorists, regardless of motivation, then I don’t know who can.

  • Elias Crim

    The writer Rebecca Solnit uses the term “elite panic” in her terrific, must-read book, A Paradise Built in Hell. Here’s a link explaining the term a bit: http://boingboing.net/2013/04/14/elite-panic-why-rich-people-t.html

  • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

    The first priority is to find what, and perhaps who, is behind this atrocity. That is most urgent. A trial of the suspect would seem to be not nearly as urgent, and in any case might take place years from now. We don’t have years.

    Coincidentally, I just read quote from Beria, in Anne Applebaum’s book about Eastern Europe post-WWII (paraphrasing): Of course, we can torture someone and get him to admit anything we want, that he’s an American spy or a British spy. But we will never get to the truth that way.

  • Benjamin

    Requesting that people stay off the streets when the authorities are searching for a couple of mass-murdering lunatics armed to the teeth with guns and explosives doesn’t seem entirely crazy to me.

    • Mark Shea

      Shutting down the entire city when a fugitive on foot is in a small geographic area is plenty crazy.

      • Benjamin

        Yeah, you can make a case it shouldn’t have been extended to all of Boston. But shutting down Watertown and Cambridge made sense. Who the hell would WANT to go out in that kind of situation in any event? I’d have no problem taking off a Friday if there were guys in my city hijacking cars and tossing bombs out of windows.

        • Mark Shea

          Of course it made sense to shut down the local area.

      • Jamie R

        They didn’t shut down the entire city. When it come to something that matters to cops (donuts) the cost-benefit analysis pointed strongly in favor of having people come into work anyway. http://www.boston.com/businessupdates/2013/04/19/cops-request-dunkin-donuts-stays-open/a981LXWXrfuZAAgnIM1YjL/story.html

  • Benjamin

    Oh, and he’s not going to be declared an enemy combatant. He’s not going to Gitmo. He will be read his rights when he’s in a state of mind to hear and understand them. He won’t be treated any differently than McVeigh or any other criminal suspect.

    None of this would be the case if Romeny or especially McCain were President. This is worth noting the next time someone makes a glib handwave about both parties being the same.

    • The True Will

      And the authorities have assured you of this?

      • Benjamin

        My own common sense and observations of the differences in policy and governing between the two parties have assured me of this.

        If you feel differently, come out and say it. Say he’ll be waterboarded, or Gitmoed, or indefinitely detained or whatever. We’ll see who is right shortly, won’t we?

        • Jamie R

          If Obama doesn’t believe he has the power to detain people without trial, why would he sign a bill giving him the power to detain people indefinitely without trial, and then have his DOJ defend that bill in court? When it matters to him, as in DOMA, the President is willing to pull the DOJ back. But for indefinite detention? Even on the off-chance Tsarnaev is given his due process rights, it doesn’t alter the fact that our government detains people indefinitely without trial, and claims it’s legal to do so.

          cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedges_v._Obama

          • Benjamin

            It was stuck inside the yearly defense bill. That made it impossible to veto. Congress handed him a power he didn’t ask for and has said he won’t use (and hasn’t used). We have more than one branch of government, you know.

            • Jamie R

              Then why is the DOJ defending it? Is the DOJ part of congress?

              • Benjamin

                The Department of Justice is, primarily, a law enforcement organization, and one with enormous institutional/bureaucratic mandates and imperatives. Federal law enforcement filed a brief in favor of broader powers for law enforcement organizations, because law enforcement organizations want the courts to grant them as much latitude as possible.

                • Jamie R

                  So the President isn’t charge of the AG or the USAs that are defending the NDAA? Obama couldn’t tell them to stop or fire them? Thanks, I didn’t know that.

                  • Benjamin

                    “So the President isn’t charge of the AG or the USAs that are defending the NDAA?”

                    Not in the way you’re thinking of, no. The DOJ is a bit different from the other departments. It’s extraordinarily difficult to tell them to stop when they’re all speaking with one voice and want to defend the policy. That wasn’t the case with DOMA–but law enforcement agencies love bigger powers for law enforcement agencies.

                    • Jamie R

                      By “extraordinarily difficult” you mean that Obama doesn’t have the power to just fire Holder and all the USAs? I was unaware that the President did not have the executive power, but that it was instead vested in his subordinates whom he can’t control or remove.

                    • The True Will

                      Yeah , poor Obama is helpless against the determination of the Justice Department. Just like Nixon was helpless against the determination of the Justice Department…. Uh, what was that about a “Saturday night massacre”?

                • Jamie R

                  That’d really suck to be the named defendant in a trial, want to lose, and have to let your employees (who are more powerful than you) fight a lawsuit against your wishes. Poor guy. Times like this I really feel bad for Obama.

                  • Benjamin

                    It’s all pretty academic since he’s not actually using this power, isn’t it?

                    Let me know when he actually, you know, detaines someone indefinetely. You might be waiting a while. Like, you know, forever.

                    • Jamie R

                      Just like the folks at Guantanamo.

                    • Benjamin

                      Obama never sent anyone to Gitmo.

                    • Jamie R

                      Even if, arguendo, Obama isn’t going to use this power, our government isn’t based on how much we trust our politicians. That’s just stupid. The president shouldn’t have any power that I wouldn’t be comfortable giving to the worst human being in the world.

                      If you want Obama to have a power, you want Rubio / Graham 2016 to have that power in the future. If you think it’s good for Obama to have a certain power, you think it would have been good for Bush, Nixon, Reagan, etc. to have had that power. When Obama’s DOJ fights for that power, he’s fighting for whoever uses that power, whether it’s Obama or one of his successors. Unless you’re more confident than I in the personal goodness of all future Presidents, you’re supporting the right of bad presidents to use that power.

                      If there’s one time people need to most loudly be championing the rule of law against our police state, it’s during apparent “emergencies” like now.

                    • Benjamin

                      I DON’T think it’s good for that power to exist and want Congress to revoke it.

                    • Jamie R

                      So, you think Obama’s wrong for fighting to defend his right to detain people indefinitely?

                      If Obama gets credit for refusing to defend DOMA, he gets blame for choosing to defend indefinite detention. You can’t have it both ways. Either he has discretion here or he doesn’t.

            • Mark Shea

              Bullshit. Congress handed him that power and he complained that it was not total *enough* and demanded more power:

              http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-december-7-2011/arrested-development
              http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-december-7-2011/arrested-development—one-way-train-to-gitmo

              Your embarrassing apologias for poor helpless Obama, passively forced to accept powers he doesn’t want, is total bullshit. Take some responsibility for supporting this tyrant. Watch the second video. Stop making excuses for him.

          • Benjamin

            Congress in general has been far more problematic in the last five years than the Executive. Congress not only stuck the indefinite detention law into the defense bill but also blocked all efforts to close Gitmo (using the power of the purse to prevent federal funds from being used to transfer prisoners to the States). This was done at the behest of both parties, BTW, overwhelming majorities of Senators blocked any effort to close Gitmo.

            • Jamie R

              That’s mostly false. The senators blocked efforts to move the people we’ve been illegally detaining without trial to US facilities. The problem with Gitmo isn’t that it’s in Cuba. The problem with Gitmo is that we’re holding people there for no reason at all. Efforts to close gitmo by transferring the prisoners to other facilities do no good whatsoever. That’s like your wife offering to change which friend she cheats on you with. That doesn’t solve the problem.

              • Benjamin

                “The problem with Gitmo is that we’re holding people there for no reason at all. ”

                No, we’re not holding people there for no reason at all. Not entirely. There are several categories of people there. There are some that shouldn’t be there at all. There are some that did commit terrorist actions and are part of Al Qaeda and could be tried in a real court. There are some that COULD have been tried in a real court but now the evidence is inadmissible because it was gained through torture.

                Then there are two categories of innocents–those that weren’t dangerous, but now are radicalized, and those that aren’t and still aren’t.

                Bush/Cheney left a real sticky wicket to deal with.

                As to moving them to the US, that’s the first step towards getting them a civilian trial. They tried getting KSM a civilian trial ,but Congress (once again) threw a hissy fit as though KSM is some super-villan with magical powers rather than just a terrorist.

                • Mark Shea

                  An excellent apologia for Obama’s betrayal of his constituency and continued indefinite detainment of prisoners charged with nothing. You serve your Master well. Extra points for shifting blame to Bush for Obama’s continuation of his policies.

                  • Benjamin

                    He is not continuing Bush’s polices. He’s not torturing anybody and has sent no additional prisoners to Gitmo nor sent anyone into indefinite detention.

                    The rest of your comment is just some posturing mixed with a superiority dance. As i said upthread, let me know when he actually declares someone an “enemy combatant” and detains someone indefinitely.

                    The Boston bombers seems like the perfect test case of whose observations of the political system on this point are more accurate, no?

                • Jamie R

                  It isn’t sticky. If they’re innocent, we don’t have the authority to hold them. If they’re criminals, they’re entitled to due process, or we don’t have the authority to hold them. If we don’t have evidence against them, and we can’t try them, they’re innocent, and we don’t have the authority to hold them.

                  I wasn’t aware the congress also had the executive and judiciary powers.

                  • Benjamin

                    “I wasn’t aware the congress also had the executive and judiciary powers.”

                    It has the power of the purse and it has used it. No federal funds can be used to transfer prisoners, ever.

                    • Jamie R

                      THEN GIVE THEM A TRIAL OR SET THEM FREE. Those are the ONLY legal and moral choices. I don’t care if it has to be a trial in Cuba. Continuing to hold them is the option our president has chosen. Nobody has to be transferred anywhere.

                      That’s not hard. No federal funds have to be used to just unlock their cells and walk away.

                    • Benjamin

                      Set them free WHERE?

                      Nobody will take them! You realize they’ve tried repetedly to get the home countries of these men to take them and they’ve constantly and consistently refused, right?

                      You want to set them free and let them go to the mainland US? Guess what? You need transfer funds. What do you want to do? Open the gates and tell them to swim?

                    • Benjamin

                      Set them free WHERE?

                    • Benjamin

                      Seriously? That’s your plan? Unlock the gates and tell them to swim home?

                    • Jamie R

                      I don’t care where we set them free to. If we don’t have the right to detain them, where they go after we set them free isn’t really our problem, since we have no right not to set them free.

                • John

                  So, its Bush/Cheney’s fault…what they did in 8 years cannot be undone…they made it permanent and Obama and congress had not power, ability or authority to change anything that the Republicans did. Obama would really really love to reverse everything evil that Bush did but he can’t because Republicans…blah, blah, blah…Obama awesome-Bush evil

                  • Benjamin

                    Bush and Cheney didn’t originally open Gitmo and send people there?

                  • Benjamin

                    Congress has the power to fund prisoner transfers so innocents can be released and others given trials…and has refused to do so.

                  • John

                    And while we argue about which side of the sham duality is more or less good or evil they continue to chip away at us in favor of what suits them.

                    • Benjamin

                      I do not find the difference between torturing and not-torturing, and the difference between sending people to indefinite detention and not doing that to be a “sham” difference.

                    • John

                      I will reply to myself since Ben has seen fit to cancel any chance to reply to his assertion below.
                      “I do not find the difference between torturing and not-torturing, and the difference between sending people to indefinite detention and not doing that to be a “sham” difference”
                      I am talking about he sham duality of the powers that be in this country being two opposing and mutually exclusive groups. Part of the sham is the advertised and publicized differences regarding the use of power and force.
                      The real powers that be like us to be distracted and arguing among ourselves…it makes it easier for them to amass power and wealth from us

  • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

    I think we have to suppose they knew what they were doing when they shut the city down.

    • Benjamin

      I think they may have been afraid they planted bombs elsewhere and were going to detonate them.

    • John

      I think that it is fair to assume that they knew exactly what they were doing…and that is when I start to get worried

  • Kirt Higdon

    I’m generally hyper-sensitive to abuses of police power, but about the most I’ll say in this case is that they slightly overdid the lockdown. Restrictions of movement in the event of criminal activity, catastrophe or epidemic are not exactly unprecedented. Had LE not done a lockdown and the suspect escaped, they would have been blamed for that. This doesn’t come close to Katrina style abuses which included instances of confiscation of firearms, forcibly evicting people from their homes, and even one instance of preventing black refugees from a dangerous area from finding safety in an adjacent white area.

  • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

    What laws did the police and city officials break? What Constitutional principle was violated? I mean, are the Cops never able to do this? I’m thinking of the US grounding every flight after 9/11. Did we complain then? Unless there was some horrific law of the land violated, I think it was not only the right thing, but a great thing since it prevented further innocents from being killed. Though I don’t live in Boston or have anyone I love near the place, my hat’s off to the boys and girls in blue who risked their lives to prevent others from being killed.

    • Mark Shea

      Ah! Legalism. Yes, no laws were broken. Technically, the government of Boston can order a citywide lockdown anytime it likes. However, “this is not illegal” does not really exhaust questions of prudence.

      Aside from the fact that we had no idea how many other plane were hijacked, while they knew they were only dealing with one guy on foot in a limited area, your analogy is flawless. I’m glad the cops got him. But this was major civic overkill in paralyzing the whole city for this one guy.

      • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

        Why do you think they knew they were dealing with one person and one risk? You have some inside information?

        • Mark Shea

          If they thought there was some city wide danger posed by confederates, why did they immediately lift the lockdown when the guy was apprehended? They knew they were dealing with these two guys.

          • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

            I don’t know. Neither do you.

      • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

        So better that we take a chance on more innocent people dying than possibly break a non-existent law? Really? In our neck of the woods if the weather gets too bad in the winter, you know what the government does? It issues a Level 3 Snow Emergency. That makes it illegal to travel unless you are an emergency or healthcare worker or it’s an issue of life or death. A government lock down you might say. Stay in your homes or else. They’ve been doing it for decades (though where we live, usually only gets to a Level 2). It happens. In this case, it looks like it was a good thing, since more innocent people didn’t die and apparently no laws or constitutional principles were violated. More than a fair trade I’d say.

        • Mark Shea

          No. Better that we exercise common sense and not close down an entire city when the perps are confined to a small area.

          • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

            Did we know that though? I mean, did the young fellow send an email and tell them he was going to stay in the area? Did we know we had it completely cordoned off? I assume you have loved ones in Boston. I don’t. It’s hard for me to err on any side that doesn’t involve their safety, since I don’t have a loved one there. If they knew, beyond a doubt, that he was in one area and would only stay in that one area, and they knew 100% that there was no other option, then yeah. You’re probably right that they overreacted. But otherwise, again, no laws violated, no constitutional principles trampled that I can see, other than the desire to keep more innocent people from dying. And unless the above is the case regarding our perfect knowledge of his plans, I think it was a job well done.

            • Mark Shea

              He was on foot. The area was sealed. He had no access to any transportation. There was only a limited distance he could travel. And when it came to inconveniencing the cops, they permitted Dunkin Donuts to stay open. This was Security Theatre far in excess of what was needed.

              • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

                You cannot deduce your way into an understanding of this situation. This is not a crime novel under discussion.

                But if you are charging the authorities with “Security Theater”, whatever that is, bring out the evidence, such that it would convince an impartial jury. In effect, you are accusing the authorities with malfeasance and misuse of public funds and assets.

              • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

                That he was on foot is irrelevant. How easy is it to evade capture, and move from place to place on foot in the tangled jungle of urban settings. Unless they *knew* 100% that he was contained, assuming he wasn’t contained seems to be prudence, and nothing more. And for what the consequences could have been, the trade off appears to be more than worth it. Folks in Boston are back to their normal lives, no laws or constitutional principles were violated, and no other innocents were killed. Yes, we all got the donuts dig. Point is Mark, there is no reason to object to how this was handled. Nothing urgent was compromised, no innocents were hurt, only kept safe, and the perpetrator was apprehended without being killed outright, as many were predicting it would go down. Again, quite a victory and a definite thumbs up to folks in Boston, the authorities, and the police. All well done, IMHO.

                • Jamie R

                  The donuts issue doesn’t just point to a great cop stereotype. It really points to something far more pernicious.

                  When weighing the risks of having people go about their lives, the cops decided it was too risky to let non-cops go to work. Why? The $300M cost of shutting down a city won’t be born by the cops. For the cops, it’s a comparison of the risk that they’ll get blamed on the small chance something goes wrong weighed against nothing. As for Dunkin Donuts, however, the analysis is different. There, they’re weighing the risk they’ll get blamed if a Dunkin Donuts employee gets blown up against the cost of not eating donuts. Again, it’s a no-brainer for the cops.

                  This is a great illustration of public choice doctrine. When a cop (or any governmental decision maker) has to make a choice, the cost-benefit analysis is done only in terms of costs and benefits that will be felt by the cop (or any governmental decision maker), rather than by the public. For the Greater Boston public, the $300M cost of trying to catch one guy who committed 3 murders isn’t worth it – otherwise, they’d spend money like that on everyone who commits 3 murders, which they don’t. For the cops, the cost of giving up donuts to catch one guy also isn’t worth it, but making millions of other people lose hundreds of millions dollars is, since the cops don’t feel that cost.

                  • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

                    I take it you live in Boston or have loved ones who live there.

                    • Jamie R

                      No, so what? Is that an argument?

                      If Deval Patrick asked his voters to approve a $300,000,000 tax increase to catch precisely one guy, do you think anyone would be stupid enough to vote yes? Because that’s exactly what the cops imposed on the people of Boston. So why should the cops be able to impose that cost on the people of Boston anyway? Why would they, unless they cared more about their own interests as cops than about the interests of the people of Massachusetts? That’s public choice.

                    • Jamie R

                      Or are you saying that the people of Boston were actually in $300,000,000 worth of danger, but the lives of Dunkin Donuts employees don’t matter?

                    • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

                      So what? So you’re playing pretty fast and loose with the safety and lives of people who you have no interest in. Basically you’re saying, in addition to the usual anti-police stereotypes about donuts, that you’re willing to risk someone else’s loved ones getting it in order to maintain your principles and ideals about the way things should be. I’m saying the price tag was worth preventing another Martin Richard. Some, apparently, feel that there’s a financial cap on such thinking.

                    • Jamie R

                      It’s not my fault the cops wanted everyone but the Dunkin Donuts employees to stay home.

                      And if you don’t there’s a cap on that, you’re lying.

                      Would you support a ban on pressure cookers? What about on nails? Banning pressure cookers (and similar devices, like crock pots, stock pots, and dutch ovens) and nails and ball bearings (and similar items, like screws and staples and marbles) will prevent another Martin Richard. Do you think it’s worth it? Are you an evil nasty callous SOB that’s willing to play fast and loose with others’ lives? Can you put a price tag on preventing another Martin Richard, even if that price tag means people have to glue houses together? Why do you hate children?

                      We put that price tag on everyone’s life, every day, every time any one does literally anything. When we let the cops determine the cost-benefit analysis for us solely in their favor, as they did when they told everyone but the donut sellers to stay home, we’ve made a serious error as a society.

                    • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

                      So you’re running with the cops and donuts thing huh? I have a feeling at this point that getting you to come back to earth would be like going to the Friendly Atheist and trying to convince certain readers that not all priests rape kids. If you’re against something, you’re against it, no matter what the outcome. If instead of celebrating that no other innocents died, the suspect was captured alive, no laws were violated, and the town is able to get on with life, you’d prefer to criticize and complain and point out faults and flaws, then there’s little hope that anything I say will change your mind. So I’ll not waste my time trying. I’ll rather focus on celebrating the fact that no other innocents died, the suspect was captured alive, no laws were violated, and the town is able to get on with life. Call me old fashioned, but I’ll reserve my lofty ideals for when they directly impact me and my loved ones, not when the possibility of being wrong will only impact some other person and his or her loved ones.

                      BTW, you are right about something. If someone drowns, I’m definitely against the government calling for a global ban on all water. Since that seems to be your take on things, I thought I’d clarify that one.

                    • Jamie R

                      So you recognize that you can do a cost-benefit analysis when it comes to saving lives? That’s a big step for you. Even though little kids drown all the time. A global ban on water would save a lot of little kids. Why do you want little kids to drown? What makes death by drowning amenable to a cost-benefit analysis, but not death by bombing?

                      I’m not the one who decided to go with the cops-donuts thing. Boston police decided to go with the cops-donuts thing. If I could’ve asked them to give me something that wouldn’t make me sound like I was engaging in a lazy stereotype, I would’ve. Let’s, for the sake of argument, pretend that Dunkin Donuts only makes sandwiches. Would that make you feel better? That cops decided that the people of Boston were in $300,000,000 worth of danger, but it’s worth it for them to have sandwiches? That if cops have to bear the costs of not having sandwiches, then they’ll have people risk getting exploded, but they don’t mind making the rest of Boston bear $300,000,000 worth of loss?

                      If there was a murderer loose in my area (which there certainly is, depending on how broadly we define “area”, just like there are certainly still murderers on the loose in Boston, because catching every murderer isn’t worth the cost), my position would still be that cops shouldn’t be able to make non-cops bear the costs of cops’ decision-making. I don’t like the idea of public servants resolving every cost-benefit analysis in their favor, and not in ours. Which they will, if people don’t stand up for their “lofty ideals” of thinking that public servants are our agents, not our principals.

                    • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

                      Again, I’ll celebrate what I want to celebrate, you criticize what you want to criticize. I’m glad the thing didn’t turn into another Newtown. You were willing to take the chance rather than your ideals be compromised. At least in a hypothetical world you say you’re willing to risk your loved ones. That’s something.

                    • Jamie R

                      In the real world, I’m willing to risk myself and my loved ones rather than let cops treat us as their agents, instead of the other way around. If my choice is life in a police state or letting a criminal blow me up, I’d rather get blown up. It’s not even a hard choice.

                      I’m glad no one else got hurt. But that doesn’t change the fact that when it came time for cops to decide what risks were worth taking and what costs were worth bearing by whom, they decided it was worth it for the people of Massachusetts to bear $300,000,000 worth of loss, but not for the cops to forego free “sandwiches.” I can’t think of a clearer illustration that cops, like all government actors, don’t make decisions with the public’s interest in mind. Cops, like all government actors, will always resolve the cost-benefit analysis in their favor, unless we make them resolve it otherwise.

                    • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

                      I guess there are two types, those who say, “Hurray! They cured cancer!”, and those who say, “I’m not saying it’s bad that they cured cancer, but…” Count me in the former. Could there be a cost? Sure. Could we look back in hindsight, like after the funerals, and decide it wasn’t done as well as I could have done it? Yeah. That’s about par for modern American discourse. Could there be ramifications? Yeah. As it was, the authorities did what they thought was best. Of course, in an age where the motto of America is ‘why accomplish something when you can bitch instead?’, that would never be good enough. For me, since I’m just not hearing the outrage from the people of Boston, I’m going with the celebration that nobody else had to die. Maybe once the bodies have been laid to rest, I’ll start looking to see how this can be a point with which to win arguments about my ideals.

                    • Jamie R

                      You’re already trying to win an argument about your ideals. Your ideal is “let’s defer to the authorities.”

                    • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

                      No, my ideal is don’t play fast and loose with innocent people I don’t know in order to show my disdain for the authorities I would have had disdain for anyway (suggested strongly by the famous cops in a donut shop stereotype). Since everything turned out OK, I’m happy to celebrate. By all means, continue to complain. I’ll reserve critiques and any criticisms of those who were there and actually had to do more than talk about until after the funerals.

                    • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

                      By the way:

                      “Across the rattled streets of Boston, churches opened their doors to remember the dead and ease the grief of the living.”

                      From one of many articles today. That’s where my mind should be right now. Yours may venture where it will.

                    • Jamie R

                      If anyone is showing disdain for cops by embracing the cops-donut stereotypes, it was the Boston cops who asked dunkin donuts to stay open. I didn’t make that up. I can’t do anything about it. Just because it’s a stereotype doesn’t mean Boston cops thought (1) Tsarnaev posed enough of a risk to the people of Boston to ask everyone in Boston to give up $300,000,000, and (2) cops did not think Tsarnaev posed enough of a risk to keep Dunk Donuts’ employees safe at home.

                      But let’s take the cops at their word. If you think it’s wrong to play fast and loose with innocent lives, and you’re deferring to cops who think everyone would be safer staying home, then why are you (and the cops) willing to play fast and loose with Dunkin Donuts’ employees’ lives? If you take the cops at their word, they’re saying that Dunkin Donuts’ employees lives are worth risking. Why do you want donut sellers to die? Why are you willing to play fast and loose with their lives?

                      If there’s anytime to express disdain for cops and other government actors who love demonstrating public choice doctrine, it’s during a crisis. That’s where cops’ and other government actors’ preference for themselves over the public is most harmful, and where they’re most likely to get away with it, thanks to people like you who think deferring to the cops’ is somehow apolitical, but criticizing them is “playing fast and loose” with innocent lives.

            • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

              We don’t know that they over-reacted. We only know what we saw and heard on television.

              • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

                I don’t think they overreacted at all. For my part, quite a safe distance from the action, knowing that no other innocents were killed, and the people of Boston are now free to go on with their lives, it looks to me like a job well done.

          • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

            If you know that there were only two persons, then one, to be considered, the authorities are likely to be most interested in your information.

            If anything is obvious, it’s that streets with few people in them are easier to survey than crowded streets.

            It was not only that Boston was shut down – travel within and outside was also closed down. That could not at any rate be continued for more than a short period of time. The reasons should not be difficult to imagine.

    • Jamie R

      14th Amendment Due Process. You can’t put one person, let alone an entire city, under house arrest without some sort of due process. (However, so far as I know, they didn’t arrest anyone for being outside, so there’s nothing to adjudicate).

      • Benjamin

        It actually was a request and not an order in any event. Some people did in fact venture outside to take eery pics of empty streets.

        • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

          That’s a good question. Was this a ‘indoors or we’ll shoot’? sort of thing, or was it just what you imply: we ask that you stay in doors for safety while they hunt the fellow. Since I saw people driving on the roads during the chase without being arrested or shot at by police, I assumed it was more of a ‘let’s all work to get this guy’, but then I wasn’t there.

  • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

    If there was some kind of marvelous crystal ball which enabled the authorities to survey the entire country so as to ensure that there as no danger from anyone else and no connection to any other party, this incident would not have occurred in the first place.

  • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

    The Daily Telegraph now has it that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was questioned by federal authorities in 2011 and was considered not to be a threat.

    Do you think they had full confidence this past week that they were aware of every possible threat?

    • Jamie R

      Think about how many threats they could prevent if they just had mandatory “shelter-in-place” every day! Unless you have some sort of marvelous crystal ball, how can you say that wouldn’t save more lives?

      • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

        Are you suggesting that if something is not always prudent, then it is never prudent?

        • Jamie R

          I’m suggesting the “we’re not aware of every possible threat, therefore, let’s hide” argument is stupid.

        • Jamie R

          Or rather, we would actually save more lives by just all staying home. There are a lot of dangers out there, and if we all sheltered in place, we’d be safer. You don’t have to worry about strangers hitting you with their cars, or mugging you, or raping you, or exploding you. If you leave the house, your’e exposing yourself to a lot of risks.

          In our everyday life, we balance those risks against the value of leaving the house naturally, with minimal reflection. But when something that isn’t everyday happens, as in Boston, we have people suddenly forget how to do math, and act as if there’s no precaution that isn’t worth taking. That’s just stupid. There isn’t actually anything special about the Boston attacks. People are killed and maimed every day, but not typically on live TV or by bombs. But that doesn’t fundamentally change the cost-benefit analysis. If you’re not willing to engage in that analysis, you’re lying, because you’re engaged in that analysis literally every time you do literally anything. Just imagining an infinitely large risk from bombers doesn’t do any good.

  • Thomas Tucker

    Sheesh.
    What an incredible amount of knee jerk, armchair analysis from experts who weren’t there, weren’t involved, and aren’t responsible for public safety. I doubt many of them have any particular education or experience in law enforcement or counter-terrorism.
    Unbelievable. I can’t wait for everyone’s analysis of the lead article from The New England Journal of Medicine next week.

    • Jamie R

      If the New England Journal of Medicine said everyone needed to be put under house arrest to keep from getting sick, I think we’d be correct in criticizing that as well.

  • Thomas Tucker

    @Jamie: I’m sure you would criticize it, without even having the read the article and having full command of the facts. And yet, one can envision a terrorist situation such as the airborne release of a lethal pulmonary pathogen, in which that might indeed the best thing to do. My overarching point is, however, don’t judge and criticize until all of the information is available, and until you have some minimum level of expertise with which to make informed judgments. Until then, you are simply blowing hot air.

    • Jamie R

      One can also envision a situation where a small threat is blown out all proportion. Excessive deference to authority isn’t a neutral position. If we defer to cops till all the information is available, it’s too late to do anything about it. What can be done after the fact? Are the cops gonna pay back the $300,000,000 they made the Greater Boston area waste? It’s your obsequious attitude that leads to abuses like the Japanese internment camps of WWII. If the government wants to overstep its bounds, or even come near overstepping its bounds, it needs to be criticized. If not, we literally no longer live in a republic.

      Also, why in the world is an alert about an airborne pathogen being published in an academic journal? I would assume that it would be more urgent than that. But I’m not an expert.

      • thomas tucker

        The point about the medical journal was that you apparently like to bloviate about things that you are not expert in.
        The point about the airborne pathogen was that there may well be an occasion in which authorities advise people to stay indoors to prevent disease transmission.
        But none of it really matters since we are all obviously on our way to internment camps now. I hope mine is in Hawaii. Aloha.

        • Jamie R

          Which is more likely – an actual airborne pathogen that threatens to kill us all, or some petty bureacrat inflating a threat beyond all proportion or reason and ordering people to obey him, just cause he can?

          Even apart from all the policy reasons not to be overly deferent to self-declared experts, I like my odds.

        • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

          You are correct that such a circumstance may happen. All the more reason to come down like a ton of bricks on self-important idiots who make that call when it’s not warranted because it ruins the chance for widespread obedience to the call when it actually does count.

  • The Deuce

    The irony here is that McCain and Graham are two of the Senate’s biggest proponents of weak to non-existent immigration and citizenship laws, and they often preen as open-minded and morally enlightened for doing so.

    And now these thuggish clowns would rather strip the Constitutional protections proffered by citizenship of any meaning to get around the inconvenient consequences of a terrorist getting citizenship he never should have been granted in the first place, rather than reexamine the broken immigration enforcement policy that they have supported, and which makes it easier this sort of thing to happen in the first place.

    Odds are good the two of them will use this as fodder to promote involvement in another war as well, and they’ll want more Constitutional rights sacrificed for that too.

  • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

    Mark, I think you are seriously misinformed about the legal status of being read your rights and what is going on. This legal misinterpretation is leading you to sound like a fool. Consult a lawyer to educate yourself better. If a suspect is not read their rights, the eventual trial judge may exclude all their confessions and evidence they gave once in custody from presentation before the jury. This is garden variety american law. If the state can achieve a conviction based solely on evidence obtained prior to capture, the post-capture conversation ceases to be of interest in trying the suspect and the intelligence question of whether they were part of a team, are there other bombs floating around on timers, all that becomes much more valuable and suspects get handed over to the intelligence people in order to improve the chance to save lives in other possible terrorist plots.

    I believe that they had both of these people dead to rights with video showing them placing their explosives, possibly reinforced by other evidence that is not public at present. Not letting a defense attorney in to spoil the intelligence gathering is not a tyrannical act so long as none of the evidence gathered by this stage of the proceedings ever makes it in front of a jury.

    The McCain/Graham remarks are more troubling. Decided wrongly, they could actually be an early step towards tyranny. The problem is, however, that we have never properly come to grips with the dividing line between war and criminal conspiracy in a world where westphalianism is dying. This is a debate that we have to have. Westphalianism was new when the US became independent and the US seems destined to outlive it. We have to re-examine our assumptions and properly handle a new era. I think that McCain/Graham are wrong but I think they’re committing a public service by forcing the conversation forward. The answers on war or crime are really not that easy once you go beyond the westphalian framework.


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