To think the police in Boston are taking a lot of credit...

(102 Posts)
PuffPants Sat 20-Apr-13 18:27:11

...for catching that bomber, when actually a bloke poking around in his garden found him. Tanks, helicopters, every police officer in the Western Hemisphere cruising the streets (a small suburb) and they don't think to look in a boat?

Harrods bomb - 6 dead. Warrington -2. 7/7 - 52 dead. Brighton bomb - 5. Belfast - I shudder to think.

We don't close whole areas down but we have our share of bombs. I do think the Police reaction was huge. Possibly because they have so little terrorism compared to us. Possibly because 9/11 was such a shock. Possibly because their attitude to terrorism is different.

I talked to DH about this last might and commented that the whole point of terrorism is to scare, disrupt and inconvenience as many people as possible with the least initial act. Costing Boston $1 billion, closing down whole areas, stopping public transport and flights. That's a massive effect for 3 tragically dead people.

It's not that I don't feel for the victims and their families, I do. It's just that I think one of the points of this kind of act (both the terrorists and the government) is to try to make us lose our critical faculties.

MrsDeVere Sat 20-Apr-13 22:05:54

That is a very good point.
Its a bit like paying out ransoms. It means the act has achieved exactly what it set out to and proved that it works.

Look at the terrible events we have had in London. Even bombing the tube didn't shut it down.

I am discussing this, not making any real judgement. Its so far out of my experience I wouldn't do that. It just seems so extreme.

I don't know much about Boston but it must be a very large place. How the hell do you lock down a city? What about all the people who are not living conventional lives? Homeless people etc. What happens to them?

Surely they become suspect if they are wandering about without a bloody clue what is going on.

What happens if some good citizen decides that some poor bloke with MH issues and a drug problem looks like a suspect because he is roaming the streets instead of staying in like everyone else?

I am just trying to get my head round how you lock down a city.

Portofino Sat 20-Apr-13 22:07:00

Locking down the whole city was an extreme measure I can never recall being put in to place anytime ever. And yet the police searched all the houses in Watertown and never found him, what with the blood and all. Some poor policeman is going to be canned over this,

Earlybird Sat 20-Apr-13 22:11:01

I think the police did the right thing - and that they should take/be given a lot of credit for it.

They tracked down the culprits quickly, and apprehended them. No members of the public were hurt in the apprehension. The immediate crisis is over now.

I think they locked the city down to keep the public safe, but also so the perpetrators could not easily escape. The strategy worked, so what's the problem? Why the criticism?

Oh, and MrsTerryPratchett - the carnage wreaked was much deeper than 3 dead. It is actually 4 dead (including the policeman), and as I'm sure you read, many suffered severe and life-changing injuries. Please do not minimise what transpired.

Portofino Sat 20-Apr-13 22:13:16

My only criticism is why they did not find him earlier. Watertown was the initial search area. Someone fucked up.

MrsDeVere Sat 20-Apr-13 22:13:18

I don't think MrsTerry was doing anything of the sort.

Earlybird Sat 20-Apr-13 22:14:18

And before you all jump in - yes, it was a member of the public (not the police) who actually found the man in the boat.

chartreuse Sat 20-Apr-13 22:15:53

I read that the house with the boat was just outside the zone where they had done house to house searches

I'm not minimising. I didn't include the Police Officer that was killed in the chase. You could also count the older brother as dead. I meant the initial act. It was meant to maim a lot of people. Nail bombs do, they are horrible. Believe me, I don't lack empathy. The doctors talking about how many amputations they were having to do. It's horrifying.

However, the outpourings do worry me. Them and us, the USA chanting. These acts are supposed to divide us. One of the things that made me feel more secure after the London bombs was lots of Londoners saying the same thing, "they won't affect us". There was a young woman in a headscarf on the news, I remember. Presumably Muslim. She was talking about how her, and her fellow Londoners, wouldn't act any differently.

I can, at the same time, be shocked, saddened and appalled by the violence but also understand how terrorism works. On a basic level, if disruption and fear was what they were aiming for, they achieved it.

TheChimpParadox Sat 20-Apr-13 22:21:01

CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.

The above a tweet from Boston Police Dept earlier today.

I did rather snort when I saw it , can't imagine one of our police forces tweeting something like that.

I know that the events at Boston Marathan were horrific but I suppose for many of us in the UK over the number of bombings we have had by terrorist organisations and the lone nutter we see our police act in perhaps a more restrained manner but still get the job done - one way or another.

I think lock down was OTT.

KeatsiePie Sat 20-Apr-13 22:22:20

The point of the lockdown was to keep the 3 tragically dead people from becoming 30 or 300. It was done b/c the police were not going after two people who had just killed a police officer: from the first moment the MIT officer was shot, it was strongly suspected, with reason, that they were the Marathon bombers. There were reports, though unconfirmed, that the MIT officer found them planting explosives, and the firefight in Watertown confirmed that they had explosives, so the assumption had to be that they posed an active and much larger risk than the usual armed and dangerous suspect. That's why the lockdown.

It was very unusual. It may not have been necessary. But at the time, it looked necessary: the guy couldn't have gone far, no one knew what weapons/explosives he had on him, and Watertown is dense and busy. To keep everyone inside so that movement would be noticed and then look for him house by house made sense. I would have been enraged if I still lived in Boston and the police failed to do what was necessary to find a man who was running around my neighborhood right then with a bunch of bombs.

And the thing is, it worked. If there'd been no lockdown, the suspect probably wouldn't have still been in that boat by the time the homeowner happened to look at it; he probably would have been able to move out of Watertown concealed by normal traffic. It would not have made sense to me for the police to do differently. But I'm American and a former Bostonian and I do think we look at bombings/threats differently.

xkittyx Sat 20-Apr-13 22:22:40

Completely agree with MrsTerryPratchett.

KeatsiePie Sat 20-Apr-13 22:32:29

I think that there is a lot of fear here (America) that we will become a country vulnerable to bombings. We had long thought of ourselves as invulnerable to terrorist acts at home. And that fear is backed by an old, long-valued cultural defiance that could be phrased as "we will not be touched" -- Americans have always had a very very strong reaction to anything that happens "on our soil." E.g., Pearl Harbor. Of course a nation should have a strong reaction to something like Pearl Harbor, but my point about where this reaction comes from is, we're a geographically large country and we're across an ocean from the countries that, when this cultural attitude was developed, posed a threat. So we have long thought of ourselves as safe from this kind of thing, and from the first moment when that was not true (Pearl Harbor) that safety began to be seen as something that must be defended at all costs. It's a great big thing for us, so a giant no-tolerance reaction comes up out of everyone, I think -- I am by no means comfortable with how police operate here and I was very, very moved by the Police Commissioner's speech and by the cheering of the departing officers and agents.

KitchenandJumble Sat 20-Apr-13 22:33:47

I'm not sure that this sort of action would be advisable or even possible in future terrorist incidents. But I do think it worked rather remarkably well in this case.

I don't think that any nation has really figured out the best way to cope with terrorism, TBH. The UK, the US, Israel, Russia, etc. have all struggled to find the most effective methods to respond. The sobering truth of the matter is that when people are ready to sacrifice their lives in terrorist attacks, there is very little the authorities can do except try to contain them and minimise the damage as much as possible.

Earlybird Sat 20-Apr-13 22:34:57

It has now come to light that the younger bomber worked out, and went to a party (among other things) in the few days after the event. He posted on Twitter and visited his Facebook account. He appeared to be resuming his 'normal' student life. It was only after their photos were made public and an appeal issued that they robbed a store, shot one policeman dead and seriously injured another - and everything else unfolded.

Question for those of you who think the Boston police/FBI over-reacted and that a lockdown was OTT: what do you think should have been done instead?

I think you are probably right, Keatsie. The problem is that the reaction is expected to be shared by everyone. All the countries all over the world are expected to be more shocked by the bombs in Boston than, for example, the drones in Pakistan. Anything done with US money or my US personnel is OK. Anything done on US soil is dreadful and a military act (hence why the suspect is being denied Miranda Rights currently). It makes me worried and uncomfortable.

I remember when George Bush said that an attack on one was an attack on all. It wasn't when the IRA/Sinn Fein were collecting on the streets of New York and, dare I say it, Boston.

Now, the victims are in no way culpable for that and I feel that any person murdered like this is a terrible thing. However, the reaction of the US to domestic terrorism plays right into the hands of extremists.

Also, this is still a suspect, not a murderer or terrorist... yet. He has the right to a fair trial which I suspect is impossible.

Well said MrsTerryPratchet, exactly what I was thinking but couldn't put into words.

KeatsiePie Sat 20-Apr-13 22:55:23

MrsTP I completely agree with you that America has always seemed to expect to be seen and treated differently. This again comes I think from the idea that America was different -- defiantly untouchable, as I said before, but also better. I think there was a feeling that we weren't going to have your problems; we had formed a country with superior methods of governance and so on. And so I think there is a feeling that America should be seen by everyone as the purest place, as representative of all that should be held dear, and so an attack on it should be seen by the world as an attack on democracy and fairness and so on. I don't mean this is what people go around consciously thinking, but I think it's a long-ingrained cultural attitude that many people now feel but are not entirely aware of feeling.

This I remember when George Bush said that an attack on one was an attack on all. It wasn't when the IRA/Sinn Fein were collecting on the streets of New York and, dare I say it, Boston. is an excellent point and is frankly shaming.

I also feel very worried and sad about the trial. I was thinking, when the hunt was still going, that I hoped he would die while they were trying to capture him. I knew that would not be best for finding things out but I feared that incarceration and a trial would lead to human rights violations and allow for a lot of manipulation of the public sentiment wrt. our policies on terrorism at home, which already frighten me.

LadyBeagleEyes Sat 20-Apr-13 22:56:33

YY MrsTerry.
I thing home grown terrorism in the US seems to be more important globally than anywhere else in their view.
And yes, Irish Americans were the biggest fundraisers when the UK had so many terrorist bombings, but that was fine, it wasn't on their soil.
I do keep remembering that 8 year old boy at the finishing line, and then look at that 19 year old boy who laid the bomb and just think WTF, I'll never ever understand.sad
And the shouts of USA, USA, stuck in my craw.
This was not a sporting competition.
Have some fucking dignity.

KitchenandJumble Sat 20-Apr-13 23:05:43

I also dislike the raucous chants of "USA, USA." But please do not think that the people chanting this represent all Americans. And please, for the love of all things holy, I beg of you, don't take George Bush as a representative American voice. Many Americans thank our lucky stars every day that he is out of office, clearing brush on his ranch. smile

Too true Kitchen and Keatsie. I know a few Americans as friends and family so I know not everyone is a Bible-bashing, Republican, gay-hating, racist. Actually, I often say that I have yet to meet an American I didn't like or one that was less than polite, friendly, helpful and considerate. Which may be why I am so shocked that as a collective, the USA can suck so badly.

Why do people who are so nice, elect such knob-heads and allow their hard-working, brave, young soldiers to commit atrocities? It's a mystery to me.

KeatsiePie Sat 20-Apr-13 23:29:27

Re this allow their hard-working, brave, young soldiers to commit atrocities -- it's an oversimplification but one area I blame for it is our (pre-university) education system, which is a disgrace. This may seem to go a bit far afield but critical reasoning abilities, the value of integrity over conformity, the development of personal ethics, the responsibility of the social contract, etc., should be part of the backbone of how our students are taught, but are not.

KeatsiePie Sat 20-Apr-13 23:42:46

Ps. MrsTP not to worry, I did not at all get the impression you thought all Americans were Republican Bible-bashers etc. smile

SpanishFly Sat 20-Apr-13 23:48:47

Op I totally agree. Yes the police/FBI were great BUT why didnt a heat seeking helicopter find him? God, the police helicopter on Police Camera Action find people hiding in gardens all the time, and they're just neds who stole cars, not bombers

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sun 21-Apr-13 01:34:43

I am British but live in the US. I think that there are many cultural differences between the UK and here, which are often forgotten as people assume speaking the same language means holding the same values.

The police here operate differently from the police in the UK. Americans (in general) are a lot more vocal about supporting their country - and so the chants of 'USA, USA' can't be seen in the same way as they would be in a British context. Media style tends to describe most things as the worst/biggest/best - sensationalism is rife. When read by a Brit, this can often appear over the top, sometimes ridiculously so.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's very hard to judge another country and its systems without a good deal of knowledge about the cultural context in which events take place - what people in the UK would see as 'baying for blood', for example, isn't necessarily what all US citizens were doing.

Keatsiepie - you said all this way better than I could.

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