Why Do I Worry About the Massive Overkill of the Response in Boston?

Reader Ye Olde Statistician describes the strategy behind such attacks:

“However, to bring down America we do not need to strike big. In such an environment of security phobia that is sweeping America, it is more feasible to stage smaller attacks that involve fewer players and less time to launch and thus we may circumvent the security barriers America has worked so hard to erect. This strategy of attacking the enemy with smaller, but more frequent operations is what some may refer to the strategy of a thousand cuts. The aim is to bleed the enemy to death.”
– the late* Samir Khan, explaining “Operation Hemorrhage,” (Inspire, Nov. 2010)
(*) late: encountered a US missile in the Yemen.

Regarding the cheapness of pressure cooker bombs:
‘In his October 2004 address to the American people, bin Laden noted that the 9/11 attacks cost al Qaeda only a fraction of the damage inflicted upon the United States. “Al Qaeda spent $500,000 on the event,” he said, “while America in the incident and its aftermath lost — according to the lowest estimates — more than $500 billion, meaning that every dollar of al Qaeda defeated a million dollars.”’

In that address, [Adam] Gadahn put his finger on an important insight that AQAP is now reiterating: Even failed attacks can help the jihadists by “bring[ing] major cities to a halt, cost[ing] the enemy billions, and send[ing] his corporations into bankruptcy.” Failed attacks, simply put, can themselves be successes. This is precisely why AQAP devoted an entire issue of Inspire to celebrating terror attempts that killed nobody.
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, “Death by a Thousand Cuts” (Foreign Policy, November 23, 2010)

As William Anderson notes, we did not lock down Dallas after JFK was murdered, nor DC while the sniper was running around. But in the past ten years, the National Security State–in union with a media whose response to news is to run in circles screaming and shouting–has managed to create a response apparatus that is every terrorist’s dream. Two guys with a couple of pressure cookers can cost the city of Boston millions in paralysis and send a nation into hyper-defensive mode. Despite the prattle of politicians bravely lying that Americans cannot be intimidated, the actual message it sends is “Explode more cheap little bombs in public areas and the Giant will exhaust himself with massive police state over-response and keep closing whole cities in his confusion and panic.”  Multiply this by a few well-placed eager beaver jihadis making a few cheap IEDs in a number of major cities around the US and, unless we learn to respond with more common sense, we are looking at Gulliver among the Lilliputians.

Our response to 9/11 was to plunge ourselves into an economically ruinous war.  We cannot afford to keep fighting stupid.  Because our enemies are not stupid.

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  • Spastic hedgehog

    Mark, I disagree because I think it’s easy to say its overkill in hindsight. When the shelter in place order was given, it was after a car chase through Cambridge and Watertown that involved the suspects throwing grenades and other explosives out the windows. There was no way to know at that point it was just two idiots with a kitchen- made arsenal. The shelter in place order for the city was voluntary for everywhere but Watertown and Medford (I believe). People were out and about in other parts of the city and NPR even interviewed some folks milling around the Pru (which was closed). No one was arrested for “violating” the shelter in place order and from what I’ve heard from friends in the area, everyone was just happy to be out of the way and let the cops do their business.

    I think it’s an impossible job to be a state or its executive and to feel you have to weigh the safety of the city (and the possibility of lawsuits if something horrible does happen) against the rights of the populace. Early Friday morning, I really do believe the situation looked more dire than it ended up being and with that it was a close call for those in charge. In the wake of last week, everyone in the local media has talked about what an extraordinary week this has been and the common conclusion that this whole series of events was a once in a lifetime thing.

    If we start seeing cities shut down and military vehicles patrolling the streets in the wake of more common crimes, I will gladly eat crow. I prefer mine baked in a pie.

    • Harpy

      “…and the common conclusion that this whole series of events was a once in a lifetime thing.”

      I’ll be happy if that speculation is true, but I fear it is not. Hindsight phenomena aside – one of the (many) problems with the militaristic response is now every individual with a bent to cause mayhem knows they can shut down, not just a major city (and all its suburbs) – but a nation.

      To maintain liberty and freedom every single one of us needs to be willing to assume risk and not just delegate it to those people who *want* to assume that risk. Additionally, if the reports and videos I have been seeing aren’t intentionally misrepresenting anything – then a militarized FBI & ATF conducted many illegal searches of innocent peoples homes at gunpoint (indeed – tank-point in some cases).

      Hindsight in this case should tell us what not to do in the future. The slippery slope is a trope, not because it is inaccurate, but because it is. In the end the our nation is becoming inured to a militarized police force that can, almost literally, do anything it wants at anytime it wants because it says so – because we let them.

      • Spastichedgehog

        “Additionally, if the reports and videos I have been seeing aren’t intentionally misrepresenting anything – then a militarized FBI & ATF conducted many illegal searches of innocent peoples homes at gunpoint (indeed – tank-point in some cases).”

        Would you mind pointing to sources that say there were illegal searches? I hadn’t heard that and even the ACLU seems to think that because of the shelter in place order, the exigent circumstances burden was satisfied and the searches were legal. http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/04/boston-door-to-door-searches-legal/64461/

        Also, I’ve heard the argument that “Now they’ll know they can X [shoot up a movie theater/fly a plane into a building/shut down the city!” many times post 9/11 and yet over the last 12 years these incidents remain statistical anomalies.

        “The slippery slope is a trope, not because it is inaccurate, but because it is.”
        Isn’t this a tautology?

    • Andy, Bad Person

      There was no way to know at that point it was just two idiots with a kitchen- made arsenal.

      That’s completely revising what happened last week. Even during the chase, everyone knew it was just two idiots with a kitchen-made arsenal. That didn’t make them less dangerous or anything, but no one was thinking it was more than these two guys at the time.

      • Spastichedgehog

        That’s not how I remember the news coverage at the time. There was still speculation in the media I was watching (locally) that the two guys may have been part of a larger network.

        • The Jerk

          Right, there was information these guys had help from AQ.

          • Andy, Bad Person

            Which is nonsense. AQ would have claimed responsibility precisely five seconds after the bombs went off. It’s what organized terrorist groups do.

            • Dale Price

              They had help from someone. The brothers weren’t living like impecunious asylees from Chechnya.

              • Theodore Seeber

                If they had help, wouldn’t their benefactor have spent more money on better weaponry?

            • Colin Gormley

              I seem to recall that Bin Laden initially denied the 9/11 attacks. It wasn’t until years afterward that he claimed responsibility.

    • Newp Ort

      How can you identify overkill from any other perspective than hindsight? Is anybody looking at things beforehand/during and saying “Let’s totally overkill this one!”

    • http://thecrawfordfamily.net/blog Ken Crawford

      “There was no way to know at that point it was just two idiots with a kitchen- made arsenal.”

      I had the same reaction as Andy. It was immediately obvious to me and everyone I talked to that it was two idiots with a home-made arsenal.

      Going further, even if one was unsure what sort of connections these people had, at least from my perspective an those I talked to, the sort of help they were getting was not the sort that was going to show up around the next corner with re-enforcements. It was the type that taught them how to make the bomb and suggested where to plant it. The sort of help that abandons those boys for dead and finds new suckers to do the next one.

      I don’t know anyone who thought new players were going to jump to those boys defense and increase the carnage that night.

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

    I agree with Spastic Hedgehog (that was weird to write). In hindsight, with no other deaths or mass murders, it’s easy to criticize. But consider what might have happened: another Sandy Hook? The kid breaking loose and bolting into a school the next day? But it went down splendidly, nobody else was killed after, sadly, the first officer, and the suspect was apprehended alive (against what many predicted). Ironically, now we can now go back and say how wrong they were for handling it the way they did. But really, governments shut things down sometimes during disasters or emergencies. If they didn’t after JFK or the DC Sniper, perhaps it’s because they didn’t think it was needed. In this case, two individuals who have already tried to kill as many as possible are running about armed to the teeth with the possibility of killing more? I’ll err on the side of caution everyday, rather than have the response be too little and see added funerals to the list before it’s all over.

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    I recollect an open letter in Partisan Review signed by all the bien pensants of the day (Dewey, dos Passos, Williams, etc.) warning that if FDR got us into a war in Europe, truth and liberty would be irretrievably lost. This was in the days of the Hitler-Stalin Pact and the pravda in the Party was to keep the US neutral.

  • Gary Keith Chesterton

    Of course, how can I disagree with these good comments? You are right. But I can’t help worrying about it. Just the thought — never mind the reality — of a massive police response shutting down a major city and going door to door makes mer nervous.

    And to think that less than a single human lifetime ago it was not unheard of for police officers to go armed only with billy clubs.

  • Mark Gordon

    C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Of all the tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.”

  • Michaelus

    We just learned that the two bombers had one handgun between them (that is why the assassinated the MIT policeman-to get his gun). The entire city was locked down because of one 19 year old with a hand gun and some fireworks (not grenades, not C4, not Semtex, not Claymores – fireworks or at best 15th century bombs).

    The lockdown – like our TSA airport rituals – means that the terrorists won. Its over and we are all so very afraid…..

    • The Jerk

      One dead and one in jail. They didn’t win.

      • Jon W

        If what TOS linked to is correct, they absolutely won. Two guys with crap for brains and homemade explosives wanted to throw an entire nation into a panic. They did. They won.

    • http://redcardigan.blogspot.com/ Erin Manning

      Yes, and the 19-year-old was unarmed when they caught him (his brother had the gun, apparently). I bet the boat owner has questions about the number of bullet holes in that poor boat…

  • Jamie R

    To the extent that the goal of terrorists is to provoke us into reactions like that, when we react like that, we all but guarantee that it will happen again. Even if we set aside the question of whether shutting down the whole area at a cost of $300,000,000 was an overreaction, depending on what the terrorists’ goals are, we may be incentivizing terror rather than disincentivizing it.

    • Spastichedgehog

      But how do you disincentivize it? If the terrorists kill people, they win. If they shut down a locality or otherwise cause us to alter our routines they win. In a universe where you don’t have perfect intelligence on events that are unfolding rapidly but have high risk of continued violence, how do you respond to a threat in a fashion that doesn’t ultimately serve as an incentive?

      • Jon W

        The last paragraph of the article TOS linked to has the answer:

        It is also very important for people to maintain the proper perspective on terrorism. Like car crashes, cancer and natural disasters, terrorism is part of the human condition. People should take prudent, measured actions to prepare for such contingencies and avoid becoming victims (vicarious or otherwise). It is the resilience of the population and its perseverance that will ultimately determine how much a terrorist attack is allowed to terrorize. By separating terror from terrorism, citizens can deny the practitioners of terrorism the ability to magnify their reach and power.

        (Why the Boston Bombers Succeeded, emphasis mine)

      • Kenneth

        I don’t think they won anything in this instance. Yes, they shut down a city for a day, but one or two days out of 365 a year and many more to come ain’t much, and it had to be purchased at the cost of both their lives. The danger to us of terror is not overreaction in the heat of the event, it’s how we let it affect us going forward. After Sept. 11, we went absolutely bonkers with a police state and fortress mentality (and pre-emptive wars, torture etc.).

        I think, or perhaps just hope, that this time is different, both because we have had time to mature and because the circumstances are so radically different. 9/11 was a huge, unprecedented mass casualty event wrought by international terrorist networks whose depth and reach we truly didn’t understand for a while. We did a lot of stupid things to rectify that, but we have a very good handle on that end of the problem. We owe our success in Boston to what we learned. We would not have caught these guys with a pre-9/11 police response.

        This is a different sort of terrorism. It’s just guys who are just lashing out at a world they failed to engage. You can’t invade or torture or wiretap your way out of this sort of terrorism. You can’t put an airtight security cordon around every public place and event. Oh, they’ll implement so no bag rule on transit or at the marathon for some time, but you can’t carry on life if a whole city has to go through scanners to get in or out of any public place. They’ll probably create some new raft of federal paperwork to buy pressure cookers, but there’ s a thousand other designs, and anyway, we’ll never impose any regulation on guns whatsoever, so there will be an infinite source of weaponry and powder for the next guys.

        Maybe I can say this because I’m a long way from Boston, but I don’t feel we’ve grossly overreacted on this one. We’re trying the guy in civilian court. Hopefully we’ll give him the best defense money can buy, and then the needle, or the living death of a supermax prison in which he’ll have virtually no human contact for the 50 or 60 years he has remaining.

        IF we don’t lose our heads going forward, shutting down that city was worth every penny. We can’t stop every act of terrorism, but we can show them that those who attack us will never die in their own beds, ever.

        • Jon W

          We can’t stop every act of terrorism, but we can show them that those who attack us will never die in their own beds, ever.

          I don’t think they care about that.

        • Jamie R

          If they value their lives/freedom less than they value killing 3 people, wounding 178, and making us waste $300,000,000, then it doesn’t matter if we kill or capture them. In their mind, they won. More importantly, it means the next guy who values the attention and the reaction (overkill or not) more than he values his freedom or life has plenty enough reason to do it again. Our reaction this time pretty much guarantees that it’s gonna happen again.

          It’s like we’re playing chess against someone who thinks the only goal is to take both the knights. At the end of the day, we’re gonna win the game, but that’s small comfort to the knights.

          • Kenneth

            It clearly mattered to these two. They ran like hell and fought for their lives. If they were true believers, they would have strapped something bigger to themelves, ran into the densest formation of people they could find, and gone up with their devices. These guys weren’t true jihadis. They were punters who wrote themselves into their own superhero narrative and figured they’d live to laugh about it and tell the tale. We took that away from them. Boston is still Boston. One of them is a bloody pile of meat in an ME’s cold locker, a bigger nobody in death than he was in life. The other will spend the rest of whatever remains of his miserable existence awaiting our decision how and when he will die. They advanced no one’s cause, secured no one’s freedom.

            • Jamie R

              By “ran like hell” I think you meant “hung out in the same town for a couple of days before giving themselves away by knocking over a 7-11 and shooting a cop.” With a US passport and a reasonable amount of money, you can get pretty far in 3 days. You can get much farther than they did. They could have driven to Canada or flown to Russia. That’s not running like hell.

              I don’t know why they would’ve stayed in place, unless they planned on getting caught and/or striking again.

  • Sagrav

    I have to agree. Paralyzing our society is exactly what these thugs wanted, and it is the wrong response. It seems that our society is capable of nothing better these days.

    • Rattlerjake

      It has little to do with paralyzing our society or how much it costs us. Most terrorists do it for the notoriety. They want their cause heard, no matter how mundane, or they just want to make a name for themselves. The media plays right into their need by plastering this on the air 24 hours a day and over sensationalizing it!

      • Jon W

        And if we stop freaking out, the media will, too.

        • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

          Nah, the media see it as their job to freak out over everything.

  • http://www.parafool.com victor

    I guess if their goal was to have the US Military declare martial law and occupy Boston for a day like it had occupied Iraq for years then mission accomplished.

    • Jon W

      That was absolutely their goal. You know there were a bunch of jihadists sitting in their Saudi living rooms, popping popcorn and watching the Boston chaos unfold on Al Jazeera, giving each other high-fives while a couple of morons made an entire nation of 300 million people wet itself.

  • Michaelus

    People have been planting bombs for centuries. The anarchists caused quite a lot of mayhem 90 years ago. The Marxist Lefties bombed police stations and army facilities in the 1960′s and 1970′s before they became Columbia University professors. I was working in a facility that got bombed in 1984 by some jackasses over something in South Africa. Bombs are not new. Lockdowns, pornoscanners, unwarranted searches of persons, luggage, homes etc. – this is all very new.

    • kmk

      And the bombing of the Munich Oktoberfest in 1980, and the Berlin Disco in ’86, I think.

  • JJG

    Oh good grief.

    The purpose of terrorism is to terrorize. Boston responded as a terrorized people would. Therefore the terrorists accomplished their goal. The way to thwart terrorism is to keep one’s wits about himself and respond rationally rather than hysterically. And you don’t need the benefit of hindsight to figure this out.

    But instead we got an over-the-top police-state response, which ultimately proved to be not only unnecessary, but ineffectual, as the surviving brother wasn’t found until the lockdown was lifted, and a civilian, not any member of the security theatre apparatus, made the discovery.

    Doesn’t this ring a bell? Has the flying public’s sexual molestation by the TSA resulted in a single terrorist being apprehended? Or were those apprehensions which did occur entirely accomplished by airline passengers deciding to act in their own self-defense?

    And, no they don’t “hate us for our freedoms”. They hate us because of our unquestioning support for Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians, and for our global exportation of cultural rot. Our choice is to either deal with these realities or opt to continue our policy of embracing self-deluding BS, justifying to ourselves ever more tyrannical governmental actions. Judging by the idiotic chest-thumping pep rally which took place in Holy Cross Cathedral, I’m guessing we’ll continue with the BS.

  • Stu

    It wasn’t overkill.

    Extremely dangerous men on the loose. The best way to attack the problem is to “clear the decks” of everyone not involved and make it easier for the authorities to capture the perps quickly and with decreased risk to innocents. Much better than a long and drawn out situation.

    Besides, do you really want to be out on the streets during such an adrenalin charged situation and weapons involved?

    • Jon W

      Extremely dangerous men on the loose.

      I think I disagree with this. They were dangerous, but not extremely dangerous. When a bomb goes off in a crowd of people and only kills 3, when the shrapnel is things like ball bearings and nails, when the target is about the easiest thing for any moron to access in the entire city of Boston: that all screams “amateur with a grudge and an internet connection”, not something that might endanger an entire city of 600,000 people. The FBI must have ways – how could they not? – to categorize this kind of thing and respond with an appropriate level of action. Instead, they were spurred on by the collective panic to call in every SWAT team for miles and inspire an entire city with the feeling that SOMETHING BAD might happen at any moment.

      • Stu

        By the nature of the crime, whether effective or not, they are extremely dangerous. People who engage in such activities are not exactly “rational” thinkers.

        The shelter in place wasn’t so much for the safety of the people from the bombers as it was to clear the decks and allow the police to systematically search for these guys without having to sift through every Tom, Dick and Harry. And again, if and when the shooting starts, you don’t want to be there.

    • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

      Firs time I’ve totally agreed with you Stu, but I do.

      Not only did we not know what was involved, we still don’t know.

      • Jamie R

        Why did we ever left shelter in place? There could still be more guys out there. Better safe than sorry.

  • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

    Mark, you are off the wall on this one.

    And yes, there is a disproportionate balance of forces involved. It is a difficult problem. We will have to deal with it.
    There is the Russian method, which they could apply because there was an ethnic focus to attack – war without pity in which they killed, razed, terrorized, slaughtered, tortured, isolated, and made the rebels disappear into hell holes. They brought in special forces that would terrify most of us even in broad daylight when we were doing nothing to provoke them. I’ve seen them on patrol in a great city.

    They set up a human guard dog in the area in question who is as terrifying and unpredictable as his patrons.

    We cannot and will not do that. But this global war is by no means over.

    Perhaps, Mark, you feel relatively safe in your Seattle suburb. Many of us are more exposed to hazard.

    • http://www.parafool.com victor

      Was it Benjamin Franklin who said (and I am paraphrasing here) “whoever gives up the Fourth Amendment to find one injured kid hiding in a boat deserves neither”? Maybe I’m misrembering that saying, though.

    • Observer

      Pavel, the problem originates from the home. The two sons were in no way living with their father (no real family union; a unit; a foundation), and both were children (one was 6 and the other was 14) when they were sent and brought to the US. The big distance and rift they had – which goes for any family situation – any – is the peculiar separation following the same trend of a divorce culture, and children born of out of promiscuity in America, and is present everday: divorce and children born out of wedlock from unmarried men and women having a fling; children born out of promiscuous relations where there is not a father and no mother, but children left with no bond of love, hope, and mercy. That all stems from the very fact that about 50% of married people, in America, are divorced. Do you know what lends to gang members, and to their gangs, and all their violence and evil? To drug cartels? To terrorists? To abuse and abusers? The cause: divorced and broken homes; distressint, ruining, and eliminating the family.

      All that these men represented was a childhood destroyed, the inner resentment they couldn’t deal with because of the darwinian like mentality of an Islamic system where women and children are nothing more than property as mule, sheep, and oxen. That barbarious construct which is exactly what we are prone to, and fail at defending against. And that is because the home is left undefended and broken down. Thus, you have a disaster of a state which not only adopts a culture of no-fault divorce, contraception, and even aborshun, but brings about it’s own worse cause for raising national security in a state of panic. Yes, the US, and it’s brilliant government has tried to institutionalize a culture of death through what it deems as freedoms, and what it declares legal and illegal through it’s laws: a moral relativist state. And that is the consequence of a country which has no moral grounds, and no moral foundation, and no moral courage and love, hope, and response in freedom in charity: loving and caring for people, and treating each person with their dignity; because, that which is attacked, that charity, which is attacked by the state, and broken down and devoured by criminals as the basis and foundation of society, which now ceases to be established upon being the primary established unit of the home; the unit of the family for which all laws ought to be established and modelered after, and to safe guard has been ruined and destroyed. Not a unit in some numerical scheme. But, a unit in the distinction that human members of society are born to a man and a woman who become a mother and a father: an essential foundation; a unit. That relationship, for that particular soul, and those children must have and know their mother and father, and have a relationship and bond with them in love, and fidelity. Or, they will try to find some belonging; some misplaced common bond among men; and that bond shares in the most shattering experiences as abuse of children, terrorism, drugs and addiction, substance abuse of any kind, alcoholism, and anything which men and women, be it from the failing and ruined foundations since their childhood, can try to fill a void to mask the mistake that they feel which they had never been born. Children, in all reality stemming from their actions, demonstrate and believe they were mistakes, and in order to deal with that resentment, that void, they try to become fitted to what belonging and ties they can have in the face of their disordered and disoriented view of society, not being loved, but to be hated. And in particular, a moral relativistic society and culture, one which promotes and justifies a domestic culture of death, without a true and warm, honest and genuine upright respect for life of the human person, only continues to breakdown. And all these men did – these two brothers – was to tell us incidently what’s wrong with our culture. They, as people who contract an illness, tell us our culture is breaking down and falling apart: telling what is ailing us.

      Either people stop utilizing one another, stop abusing and using each other, and stop promoting a deep narcisstic selfishness (then we can truly be outraged), or were really the source of the problem giving every opportunity and avenue to devalue life: even our own. Particuarly our outrage is really a result of not what’s wrong with the culture. Rather, our outrage is: “how can this happen in our culture?”: the slumber of moral relativism.

      When the light shines on the illness as divorce, broken homes, and a promiscuous society endorsed by the state, nobody will admit in some sense a mea culpa, not one. You have rather the outrage that these men shouldn’t have done anything what they had done in a morally promiscuous culture. Our moral outragei, thus, becomes misplaced instead of being at ourselves, in the end; but, rather, wants to place the blaim on those men, alone.

      Our fault; our mea culpa’s, which ought to be raising to heaven, as of now, asking God to help us secure our families in love and fidelity, and our homes against a criminal sect in society – which becomes a larger a mastisized cancer cell – which that mea culpa, in soceity, is now becoming suffocated and muted.

      Thus, – as a cure for the cause of the illness – our life is to be secured in mercy, love, and justice. That is, a justice which deals with the problem and doesn’t aide it in anyway (in charity: Caritas est Veritate.) Thus, by truth in charity, people need to stop giving their freedom away to the terrorists, and to the state. People need to stop living lives of adultery and fornication. Or, we’re defenseless, and our will is asleep when these men, and other crooks alike will take advantage of our slumber in a moral decadent society (both the state and criminals.)

      Our guard, then, is to keep the evil out of our hearts, our minds, and out of our souls by humility and obedience in love and charity. Charity that does not rob the soul of it’s worth (as terrorists do, gangs do, statists do, abusers do, and any other criminaly charge of men in society set out to accomplish under the name of charity destruction of the human soul); rather, we need that charity knowing the full worth and value the person has in society, which is invaluable. However, once that invaluableness becomes bankrupt, you lend to the invaluablenes the soul seeks to ruin, and what it’s left with: pride and death.

      As the angel said when Mary raised her hand, “Penance, penance, penance.” That’s the cure to the problem.

    • Mike in KC, MO

      “Perhaps, Mark, you feel relatively safe in your Seattle suburb. Many of us are more exposed to hazard.”
      - I am so sick of this damned, stupid saying (and yes, my words were chosen carefully there).

      Here’s the problem: no one is safe anywhere if you want to get right down to it. There is nothing, not even turning the United States into a 100% TRULY fascist police state, will ever eliminate any measure of danger. The number of soft targets out there is LEGION. There really is no way to stop anyone from hitting ANY of it.

      Unless of course we stop our empire expansion which is feeding this terrorism business. But no, we can’t stop that, can we… At the same time, I don’t remember the exact stats, but you have a much better chance of being struck by lightning than dieing in a terrorist attack.

  • The True Will

    Is anyone going to apologize to the “Saudi national” who was nabbed for “looking suspicious” in some fashion which was, as usual, unspecified?

  • Terence M. Stanton


    “And, no they don’t ‘hate us for our freedoms”. They hate us because of our unquestioning support for Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians, and for our global exportation of cultural rot.”

    I would respectfully disagree. They hate us because Islam tells them to subjugate or kill non-Muslims… over and over again. I’m no fan of Israel or our delight in exporting contraception to the ends of the Earth, but let’s be clear-eyed about what Islam actually teaches.

  • Ye Olde Statistician
  • Theodore Seeber

    There is another overreaction to fear.

    So far, this is a couple of Chechen Islamics working alone. The mosques they attended even refused to have a funeral for the older brother. This isn’t jihad, this isn’t part of some bigger AQN scheme.

    BUT- if we execute the younger brother, we will trigger a Chechen blood debt. THEN we might see what happened in Russia in the late 1990s.

    There is good reason not to overreact. But I fear that many of us are already *overreacting* by linking this to the larger narrative when it isn’t a part.

    • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

      I think it is probably a part. Why else did Tamerlan spend six months in the Caucasus? Why did the Russians alert their US counterparts?

      • Theodore Seeber

        But that indicates a Chechen larger narrative- lone wolf, not AQN.

        Which, as I pointed out, might make it more dangerous yet.

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

    Am I missing something, or am I just glad that nobody was killed beyond the three victims of the bomb and the poor officer who was killed by the suspects? Maybe I’ve just seen our governments shut down at different times in the past, and given the proximity to Sandy Hook, I can see why there was an err on the side of caution mentality. Personally, if what Boston did would have prevented Sandy Hook, I’d certainly have supported it. And for all we know, it did. We only know how it turned out given what happened. Any other speculation is just that. And since with the exception of the four who died, no other innocents were killed, that’s an ending I can live with.

    • Jamie R

      If shutting down Boston, letting the cops impose martial law while going door to door taking people out of their houses at gun point, etc. is what terrorists want us to do, then by reacting the way we did to Tsarnaev, we’ve encouraged others to do likewise. Which means more innocent lives lost.

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

        I have a feeling we’re doing pretty much what the terrorists were banking on as far back as 9/10/2001: spending all our time fighting each other. Instead of celebrating the arrest of one of the bombers and the authorities keeping any other innocents from being killed, what do we do? What we’ve been doing for years, we proclaim the modern American mantra. Like I tell my boys, the only thing that unites America today is the belief that America sucks, but it’s everyone else’s fault. And it didn’t take Boston to shut down for it to happen. It’s been happening all along.

        • Jamie R

          Who said America sucks?

          If what terrorists want is to goad us into reacting like this, then the cops haven’t kept other innocents from being killed. They’ve guaranteed it will happen again. When you give someone what they want, you give them reasons to do it again. As little as people like the Tsarnaevs value their own lives and freedom, shutting down Boston for a day is a great deal for them. 4 million man-days of labor lost, when the Tsarnaevs between them gave up less than 50,000. $300,000,000 in economic damages, for maybe a few hundred bucks spent by the Tsarnaevs. That’s a great bargain. No doubt their ideological or psychological counterparts will take us up on the offer in the future.

          • Mark Shea

            Dave always puts “America sucks” in the mouths of people who offer any suggestion that America is less than perfect. It’s the perfect conversation killer. Dave: America is perfect and great and got that way all of her citizens always praising her and never questioning her. Praised be America, our Savior.

          • Mark Shea

            Dave always puts “America sucks” in the mouths of people who offer any suggestion that America is less than perfect. It’s the perfect conversation killer. Dave: America is perfect and great and got that way by all of her citizens always praising her and never questioning her. Praised be America, our Savior.

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

            Who says America sucks? Where have you been? Bitching about America is about as American as apple pie. It always has been. We Americans have never been afraid to trash a little America. That’s not the problem. The problem is the divisions and disunity rampant today. That’s the problem. There’s no sense of unity, nothing is able to bring us together because everyone laments where we’re heading, but everyone seems to think it’s everyone *else’s* fault. I mean, who says America sucks? Need you ask? Everyone does. Just look at this. Let’s not give out any horse shit about this being because of the whole shutting down of the city. People were bitching and criticizing and complaining within hours. Fingers were being pointed, accusations made. Sides were being blamed. Ideological points were being scored. All that happened long before the city was shut down. There were some on this very blog who, before this all went down, predicted that our donut eating butchers in blue would just gun down the suspects, since that’s what servants of fascist states do. When they didn’t, and actually captured one alive? Just go onto the next thing to criticize.

            It’s not as if this is some bold or unique revelation on my part. We just don’t know how to stop, or how to bring things back together. 9/11 didn’t do it. Sandy Hook didn’t do it. Hurricane Katrina didn’t do it. Nothing does. Oh, we may have a few days after the really bad things in which we put aside differences (or at least refuse to comment), but gone are the days when we would come together for any meaningful accomplishment or attempt to turn things around. This little Boston incident simply illustrates it. We are, and have been for some decades, a hopelessly divided society. You must be able to see that. As must Mark (yes Mark, I read your little dig, and ignored it as it should be ignored).

            • Jamie R

              Local cops aren’t America. The FBI isn’t America. The President isn’t America. The Army isn’t America. The government isn’t America. America is America.

              So, when someone criticizes the cops or the government, even if they go so far (much farther than I would) and just unqualifiedly said “cops suck” or “the FBI sucks” or “the President sucks,” they have not in any conceivable way said that America sucks. We’re a republic, which means the government acts on behalf of the nation. This isn’t like a monarchy in a Shakespeare play – where the King of France is just called “France” or the Earl of Kent is just called “Kent.” We call the President Obama, and not America.

              So, no matter how harshly one criticizes our government, it isn’t, in any conceivable way, a statement that America sucks. Even if the Boston cops demonstrated that they’re just a bunch of donut-eating fascists, that isn’t a statement about America, except insomuch as America seems ready to tolerate the creeping slide towards fascism.

              • Stu

                “donut eating fascist”

                Displaying such ignorance sucks.

                • Jamie R

                  That was Dave’s term, not mine. I’m pretty clearly not saying that all or even most cops are donut eating fascists.

                  On the other hand, any governmental agency that has and uses the power to shut down an entire city, except the donut-shops, is drifting pretty close to earning the label “donut eating fascists.”

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

                Jamie, trying to argue that America isn’t bitterly divided and that somehow we haven’t become overly critical of our nation is like arguing that Rush Limbaugh needs to stop being a partisan Democrat. Like most things, when people speak of it, we usually mean ‘it’s everyone else’s fault.’ I admit, I’ve been guilty of the same at times, and have tried for the last few years to change that. A nation of armchair quarterbacks, almost proud of their inability to suit up and solve problems or have solutions, but long and wide in their unending criticisms of everything to do with our nation: the people, the government, the economy, the military, the police, the culture, and on and on, is not a nation that has much of a future. As our dwindling place in the world would demonstrate. Again, America has always had a healthy amount of dissing on itself as part of the American character. But like all things, it can go too far, be too much, and happen in ways that are not healthy. As it is now. The Boston Bombing debates illustrating this point nicely. Am I worried about the growing lack of freedoms in our nation? Yeah. But I firmly believe that one of the things making it possible is the divisive, overly critical nature of Americans today.

                • Jamie R

                  “overly critical”?

                  Elsewhere I linked to a news video covering the police response. My favorite lines from the video were “as another family is rescued at gunpoint” and watching women who’s just been pulled from her house, with an assault rifle shoved in her face, treated more like a suspect than a potential victim, proclaim that she’s just glad the cops are doing their job. Overly critical? Are you kidding me? 98% of Americans in the last election voted for a candidate who supports drone strikes and indefinite detention w/o due process of Americans accused of being “enemy combatants.” You’re telling me America is too divided and overly critical? Unless you’re taking myself and Mark Shea as being somehow more representative of America than the 98% of voters who voted from Obama or Romney, I have no idea what makes you think Americans are overly critical of their government. To be fair, sometimes, we’re overly critical of specific government actors, but in a completely trivial way (e.g., morons caring more about Obama’s birth certificate or how long it took him to describe Benghazi as an act of terror than about indefinite detention and blowing up children in Pakistan). But on important questions, especially the question of whether we’re okay with continuing to corrode our due process rights, there’s pretty widespread agreement.

                  If you can point me to the wardrobe that lets me get to a world where Americans are overly critical, rather than obscenely, vulgarly deferential, of their government, I would appreciate it.

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

                  That’s my point Jamie. As for our fascist police state, I’ve been hearing that for decades. Way back in high school (it was around the year 1984 in all fairness), I heard Big Brother, police state, fascists as they applied to our country, our government. Americans? Dolts. Each and every one. The Cold War held some of it together, that’s true. But once that was done, all that was left was for America to start eating itself. As we have done. Everywhere we turn, Americans are lamenting how horrible things are, how things are going, and what the problems are with…everyone else.

                  The pitfalls are twofold: first, a complete lack of ability to come together for anything, as the criticisms of Boston indicate. As such events as 9/11 and Katrina indicate. Again, it isn’t as if we were all together and then suddenly Boston shut down and, wow, we have to say something. People were a’bitchin from day one. Pointing fingers, blaming, accusing, making accusatory predictions about how the butchers in blue would just gun down the suspects rather than capture them, etc. People were still dead in the hospitals when the first ‘this sucks and it’s their fault’ began to emerge.

                  The second problem is, of course, the boy who cried wolf syndrome. I’ve been hearing Big Brother, police state, evil country, stupid Americans most of my life. I remember in the early 80s, whew. The problem is? We’ve been hearing it so long we’re numb. So when there is a legitimate concern, there is reason to worry, I’m sorry, most Americans under 50 have heard it a million times before. Just like this. This is a molehill being made into the Himalayas by the bitchito ergo sum generation. Stories of millions displaced, of collapsing economies, mass starvation, detainment camps and out of control goose stepping police fall on deaf ears when most people are glad no more innocent people died. But the purists will complain Just as they will the next time. Just as other purists will about things we support. There will be no unity. No coming together. No waiting for a mourning period. It will be hie to the bitching! And as our country does lumber toward becoming a nation sans liberties, I firmly believe one reason is just because of what we’ve seen here. It’s symptomatic of the disease that is going to get us just to where we don’t want to go in the first place, as all veering off the path and going overboard tends to do.

                  • Jamie R

                    We should have done some bitching when, e.g., we put all the Japanese in internment camps. But hey, it prevented another Pearl Harbor (or maybe it had no causal connection, but let’s just come together and be happy no innocents were killed).

                    We actually have detainment camps. It’s a real thing. Not just back in the day. We have people being held in Guantanamo who have never been accused of any crime at all, and whom the DOJ has decided are actually completely innocent. But we’re just holding them.

                    We have the largest incarcerated population of any civilized country.

                    We have publicly adopted the policy that torture is permissible, with absolutely zero political repercussions for the people who support it. We have publicly adopted the policy that any child we kill in Pakistan or Yemen is defined as a combatant.

                    We sent thousands of US soldiers to die in Iraq for no apparent reason. We sent thousands to die in Afghanistan to catch Osama bin Laden, who was in an entirely different country. We killed tens or hundreds of thousands more civilians in those two countries.

                    In what world is complaining about the abuses of our government bitching or crying wolf? If I were an African-American, and half the people in my neighborhood had been sent to prison for small levels of drug possession following illegal stop-and-frisks, I bet I’d wish there were more people bitching about our government. If were a Yemeni civilian, and I lived in constant fear that I’d get hit by a drone strike, I’d want more Americans to bitch about their government. If my brother in the army had been killed or wounded when he was in Iraq for discernible reason, I’d want more Americans to bitch about our government.

                    Unless you have literally no empathy for the victims of our government, many of whom are American citizens, unless you’re completely soulless or off in your own little Pollyanna world where the government never does anything wrong, you should be bitching. At this point, it isn’t crying wolf.

                    • Jamie R

                      In sum, we are all in this together. At the end of the day, my sympathies are with the people our government is abusing, and not with the abusers. I would only tolerate these abuses if we weren’t all in this together, and I didn’t care what we did to the poor or to Blacks or to foreigners. It is only because we’re all in this together that I have so little patience or respect for the obsequious little rats that are willing to kneel before the cops.

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

                    Jamie, and at the end of the day, there is not a thing wrong with pointing out the faults, errors and failings. Just like pointing out the failings of the Church during, say, the abuse crisis. Who wouldn’t? But it can go too far, and become too much. Tell a kid he’s done wrong and that’s one thing. Do nothing but tell the kid he’s doing nothing but doing wrong, and that’s another. Tell a kid he’s a loser most of his life and you might just get what you say. Should we ignore the problems? No. But keep it in perspective. Right now, the hilarious thing is that we are heading toward just where everyone who complains about our country is warning against going. A clever person would rethink the tactics. But as the immediate and continued responses to Boston showed, we’re far past that. All we can do is look at our country, whip out the same old sins and failings (like people who point to the Catholic Church and constantly say: abuse crisis! Crusades! Inquisition!, the American equivalent being: Slavery! Screwing the Indians! Interment Camps! A-Bombs!), and go back to insisting the real problem is everyone else. Want to doom the country? By all means, let’s keep doing what we’ve been doing, it seems to be working like a charm.

                    BTW, I notice for all the fussing, you haven’t really said how wrong I am when I notice that nothing, not Sandy Hook, 9/11, Katrina, or even the Boston Bombing is capable of uniting our fractured and faltering nation. But then, what could you possibly say?

                    • Jamie R

                      We came together for 9/11. That gives us the AUMF that has resulted in thousands dead in Afghanistan, and a campaign of torture, illegal detention, and blowing up little kids.

                      If I lived in Louisiana, I would thank God every day we didn’t similarly “come together” after Katrina.

  • obpoet

    We just dont understand how to fight back. Cut off their access to Madonna and Jacko and they would be on their knees begging us to lift our inhumane sanctions.

  • Elmwood

    I heard something like 9,000 law enforcement types were in the Boston area to capture these evil mooslims. That’s crazy and stoopidly over reacting to the situation, kindof like GWB when he invaded Iraq after 9-11 which killed at least 66,000+ Iraqi civilians and 4,500 US troops. Now I’m reading how his popularity is surging and he’s going to open a library in his name.

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

      “I heard something like 9,000 law enforcement types were in the Boston area to capture these evil mooslims. That’s crazy and stoopidly over reacting to the situation…”

      What is a sane number, then? 400? 7?

      All of you who know how to run a law enforcement type response to the circumstances in Boston last week ought, of your charity, to write it down and send it around, so that next time they’ll do it right.

      Personally, I’m interested in the derivation of the obvious operating point on the tanks/city vs fatalities/day response curve. And an appendix on the official way to keep score in the Game of Terrorism would be helpful, too, since my own homegrown attempts show that Al Quaeda clearly won 9/11 and John Allen Muhammed clearly won October 2002.

  • Jamie R


    This is not a society that has a proper attitude towards law enforcement. This is not a society where the cops think they’re agents of the people, rather than the other way around.

    • Stu

      In your professional opinion, how would you have captured the suspects. Please provide specific steps in you systematic plan of attack.

      • Jamie R

        I’m not a professional. Which is fine, the burden’s not on me. The burden is on cops to treat us like their bosses, and not like their subjects.

        What I would not do would be shut down an entire city, lock down an area the suspect was not in, and raid a bunch of houses the suspect was not in.

        Once the first suspect was dead, and the second suspect was on foot, the police should have established a perimeter. Anyone going through that perimeter would be stopped to make sure they weren’t Tsarnaev. This could be accomplished by looking at them. Maybe you’d have to check people’s trunks. The cops should also go door to door and ask people if they’ve seen or heard anything. Since someone seeing something while having a smoke is what caught the guy anyway, this would’ve accelerated things. (Of course, it isn’t fair for me to rely on that, since I have the benefit of hindsight. On the other hand, shutting down all of Boston and raiding a bunch of homes in Watertown was not what caught Tsarnaev, so with the benefit of hindsight, the cops’ method was not ideal).

        There’s no reason for pointing guns at people that the cops know weren’t the suspect. There’s no reason for making people the cops knew weren’t Tsarnaev evacuate their houses. There’s no reason for treating innocent neighbors like criminals. The cops have absolutely no excuse for pointing a firearm at anyone that wasn’t Tsarnaev.

        • Stu

          “I’m not a professional.”
          Thanks for admission. I would submit that your recommendations thereafter should be weighed accordingly especially since you weren’t part of the operation and don’t have the information (right or wrong) that they were dealing with at the time (which you have admitted).

          I do speak with some experience in such matter from my military experience with exposure to security in such situations and knowledge of tactic involved in finding and prosecuting (killing) a hidden enemy.

          You assert, “The burden is on cops to treat us like their bosses, and not like their subjects.”
          No. Their number one priority in such a situation is to avoid putting themselves and bystanders at further risk. This is not a time for pleasantries. It’s a time for rapid clearing of areas and moving on. I can say from both shipboard experience and flying out of AF bases, security forces responding to such a situation don’t care “what rank you are” or “who you are” when carrying out their mission. You get in their way, you will “eat pavement (or deck).” It’s isn’t time for exchanging pleasantries or “asking nicely.”

          Second, part of finding someone in hiding is to quickly establish “where he isn’t.” This better refines your area of probability and allows you to focus forces in a more effective manner. This is a standard tactic in such situations and it does work. Now obviously you can’t do this forever and when the trails starts to grow cold, you do have to return to a normal posture. But so be it. You change your tactic according to how the situation develops.

          Lastly, having a firearm pointed at you in such a situation is to be expected. Just because you look nice doesn’t mean you aren’t a threat. Again, lots of unknowns during the entire sequence of events. Better to keep a secure posture up for everyone involved. This wasn’t Andy Taylor looking for Otis the Town Drunk. It was a hunts for terrorists who had detonated a bomb a killed a police officer. Those aren’t the kind of people you take chances with and you certainly don’t assume that they are working alone.

          • Jamie R

            The principal-agent relationship between the people and law enforcement isn’t a pleasantry. It’s the nature of the cops’ authority to do literally anything. If a cop isn’t the agent of the people, he’s nobody. He’s just a random guy running around with a gun and worthless piece of metal that looks like a badge. If cops act on their own authority, rather than as agents of the people, we literally live in a fascist police state. I would rather get blown up by a million Tsarnaevs than live in a world where cops don’t know their place.

            • Stu

              You aren’t responding to my points nor are your alternatives presented above reflective of reality.

              This was an isolated situation with extremely dangerous and unpredictable individuals on the loose and it was unknown how many were involved. Sometimes being an “agent of the people” is to quickly and forcefully get them out the way to carry needed actions.

              • Jamie R

                1. needed for whom? How many of the people in Watertown needed to get kicked out of or locked in their own homes for their sake, rather than for the sake of their employees?

                2. If the cops were trying to quickly move people out of the way danger, why not evacuate Watertown? If you think everyone in town is at risk of someone whose $300,000,000 worth of dangerous, why wouldn’t you want them to evacuate? This Tsarnaev guy was apparently so extremely dangerous and unpredictable that the best course of action was to make the guy who actually found him hide in his house all day, outside the police perimeter. You can hardly justify the police conduct here based on risk to the people of Watertown, since, if Tsarnaev had had a bomb, the only people put at risk was the non-cop who actually found him.

                3. Your argument that they were just doing what needed to be done would be stronger if Tsarnaev had been found by a cop, rather than by one of his bosses, who found him by walking outside to have a smoke. The police state response delayed finding Tsarnaev by about 8 or 9 hours, since the cops spent all day playing commando when the guy who actually found Tsarnaev was stuck in his house, and wouldn’t find him till he was able to walk around his backyard, like a free man.

                • Stu

                  Having a mass egress would be silly. That would give the perp a much more easier way to escape AND create wider panic which would cause more problems.That would be the PR response that a terrorist would want. Best thing to do is clear the streets and let the professionals work towards a rapid clearing of areas. It was an orderly prosecution.

                  Your last assertion that because a civilian discovered him, it means the police tactics were flawed is just…well…flawed. The police response limited his ability to move. Being injured (which they knew) made it more likely that he would continue to get weaker over time. The lockdown and systematic search made it far likelier that he actually be found and in a weakened state.

                  • Jamie R

                    The lockdown and systematic search found zero Tsarnaevs. Some random guy having a cigarette outside with his dog found 1 Tsarnaev. Cigarettes > Cops.

                    Is it about getting the children out of the way to make things easier for the professionals? Or is it about keeping the people of Newtown safe?

                    • Stu

                      It’s about all of the above.

                      I don’t think you are tracking. The finding of the last brother was not done in a vacuum. The events and search leading up to it are all part of the prosecution.

              • Jamie R

                man, I’m just going crazy w/ typos.
                out of the way of danger
                who’s $300,000,000 worth of dangerous
                the only people put at risk was the non-cop who actually found Tsarnaev and his family and neighbors

          • Jamie R

            2nd, because cops are our agents, if their #1 priority is protecting themselves, rather than us, then those cops need to find another line of work. If they’d rather protect themselves than their principals, they should be in another line of work. At that point, they’re just citizens running around with guns for their own private protection.

            • Stu

              No. They protect themselves so that they can protect you. They can’t rightly protect you if they are dead. Similar mindset of a parent putting on their o2 mask in a depressurized aircraft before that of a child.

              • Jamie R

                I appreciate that you finally came out with paternalism that belies your way of thinking.

                • Jamie R

                  sorry, underlies. Not belies.

                • Stu

                  Actually, it’s just plain good tactical sense. If it coming across as paternalistic offends you, I can’t help that.

                  • Jamie R

                    It isn’t a tactical argument. It’s a principled one. If our cops are willing to ignore that principle that they’re our agents, that they are cops solely for our sake; if cops would rather treat all innocent bystanders like threats rather than employers for tactical reasons, then they should go find a new job. If, as a society, we’re willing to tolerate it, and praise them for treating us like threats instead of like bosses, we need to rethink what we’re doing as a society. Tactical considerations can never override principled ones, and the moment they do, we’ve stopped being a republic. If cops are going to ignore the principle that they’re our agents, then we should ignore the cops.

                    • Stu

                      They didn’t treat everyone like a threat. They treated them like “unknowns” until such discriminators indicated otherwise. Smart thing is to keep your guard up or you (and others) may get killed when a perp gets the jump on you. Even the two brothers looked like ordinary citizens. You just can’t tell.

                      Good luck with ignoring the police in such extreme situations or any other time for that matter.

                    • Jamie R

                      In videos of the house-to-house raids, the cops are clearly pointing guns at cooperating residents even while they’re far away from their house with their hands on their heads.

                      There’s no way you can honestly look at a video of the way the cops were treating the residents of Watertown and tell me the cops were just worried about Tsarnaev getting a jump on them. Much of their conduct can only be explained as pure assertion of authority against the people the cops are ostensibly agents of.

                    • Jamie R

                      And again, the tactical consideration of the cops keeping their guard up can not ever, under any circumstances, justify setting aside the fact that cops only have authority to do anything at all due to being agents of the people. If that principle is ignored, the only thing the cops are tactically justified in doing is staying home.

                    • Stu

                      You haven’t been in such a situation. It is evident.

                      You don’t let your guard down just because people look nice are seemingly complying. (You might have hear of the expression “playing opossum.” Any of these people could have been a part of it and already one police officer had been killed. There was no doubt that the enemy, which was undefined, would use deadly force. Only a fool would have let their guard down to provide such an opening.

                      Nobody is classified as a “non-threat” until they are thoroughly vetted. That’s why in a hostage rescue scenario, the entering team subdues EVERYONE with force and keeps them bound UNTIL everything can be sorted out.

                    • Jamie R

                      And again, the tactical advantage to such an approach means literally nothing if the principal-agent relationship that exists between cops and their employers is not observed. Without that principal-agent relationship, cops have no business doing literally anything to gain a tactical advantage, since a cop who isn’t an agent of the people has no more authority to shove a gun in someone’s face than Tsarnaev did.

                  • Stu

                    And again.

                    You clearly have not been in any tactical even in your life where life and death is on the line.

                    • Jamie R

                      If the cop’s choice is risking his life or treating his boss like his boss, then he should stay home.

                      The source of the cop’s authority is prior to any tactical decision. This should be clear. Without the authority to act in the first place, the tactical question doesn’t come up. Which means that any tactical decision that goes against the source of authority is right off the table, since the cop plainly has no authority to act against his authority. Cops, like all government actors in a democratic republic, have no authority on their own. Only in a fascist state or a monarchy do government actors have their own authority, neither of America is. Cops only have authority given to them by the people. If cops act against the interests of the people and in the cops’ own interest, they’re not morally different than any random person with a gun.

                      The only interest that should matter is the public’s. Any tactical choice has to be justified by reference to the public’s – and not to the cops’ – interest. So I don’t give a rat’s tail what the cops thought was tactically necessary for the cops, unless they also legitimately thought it was tactically necessary for the interests of the people of Massachusetts.

                      What does it matter that I’ve never been in any tactical event where life and death was on the line? Would that knowledge somehow tell me that the interests of the people of Massachusetts were best protected by wasting $300,000,000 in a lockdown? That even once a non-cop found Tsarnaev, the cops were justified in “rescuing” the neighbors at gun point?

                      In a republic, as between any government actor’s interest, and the public’s interest, only one of those interests matters. If we forget that, we literally live in a fascist state.

                    • Stu

                      It matters, because you don’t have the knowledge base to make your assertions. It’s clear that you aren’t even tracking on the points I am making. That’s why you don’t give a “rat’s tail.” You don’t understand what you are talking about. We don’t employ police officers to be reckless when it comes to carrying out their duties. Yes, they are called to risk their lives but not in a foolish and carefree manner like you apparently would. You want to call this fascism. Well, that’s even more evidence that you just don’t know what you are talking about.

                    • Jamie R

                      If your tactics override your principles, you don’t have principles.

                      And you’re saying that the use of force by state actors doesn’t need to pay attention to the principle that the state is an agent of the people, and that the public’s interest is less important than the cops’. That’s literally fascism. That’s what the fasces represents.

                      The only people whose lives were at risk during the house to house raids were the innocent people the cops were pointing guns at.

                    • Stu

                      The tactics didn’t override the principles.

                      That is the flaw in your thinking.

  • Bryan

    Fascism??? C’mon, folks…it could never happen here.