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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?

KeatsiePie Mon 22-Apr-13 02:54:49

I also don't find the thread distasteful; I think the discussion has been for the most part very respectful.

And have never before thought, really, about what a terrorist's goal(s) might be, so I find it interesting to consider that there might be this much satisfaction for a terrorist simply in paralyzing a city; I have always thought that a high death toll was what a terrorist was after.

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 22-Apr-13 02:44:16

So are the Boston police also supposed to have solved the problem of all terrorism worldwide, MrsTP? I don't see how you can expect that of them.


No, they are supposed to assume that these are not the only terrorists and act accordingly.

Snazzynewyear Mon 22-Apr-13 01:59:44

So are the Boston police also supposed to have solved the problem of all terrorism worldwide, MrsTP? I don't see how you can expect that of them.

It is very hard if not impossible to entirely prevent terrorism. What was the IRA's statement after the Brighton bomb? 'We only have to be lucky once; you will have to be lucky always'. You seem to be expecting fairly superhuman things of the authorities concerned if that's the standard you are holding them to.

And after any terrorist attack there will always be the notion put in the mind of other groups that they can copy those tactics. Maybe looking to London is an idea as someone on here has said the security required to participate running water stalls etc was very thorough.

Seems like it's the FBI specifically here who have questions to answer about why they interviewed the elder Tsarnaev brother previously but didn't seem to consider him a problem. That's where I would be directing criticism, not the Boston police or the lockdown.

LinusVanPelt Mon 22-Apr-13 01:55:47

They won't pass a law to background check people who want a gun but they will lock down a whole city after a terrorist attack.

I understand that you're referring the pathetic, shameful failure of the Senate to pass gun control legislation earlier last week, MrsTerry, but given the fact that your focus seems to be on the practical response of the FBI and Boston PD during this particular incident, it's not really a relevant point.

The agencies involved in the decisions you're criticising ("locking down" the city) have no say in gun control (or any other kind of) legislation, and the Republicans (and four Democrats) in the Senate who voted down the measures had no say in the response in Boston.

It's not as if one cohesive group of people made the lockdown decision in one instance, and rejected gun control in the other confused.

Even in terms of public reaction, poll after reputable opinion poll has shown that between 85 - 90% of the American public supported the measure that the Senate shot down. Certainly a majority of people in liberal-leaning Massachusetts would have supported it. It's a disgrace that their elected representatives ignored their wishes in favour of the gun lobby's.

FWIW I think the "lockdown" was not disproportionate, for the reasons that others have already outlined. I think that great credit is due to the people of Boston and surrounding towns, for complying with it calmly and voluntarily, ensuring that the city was not thrown into chaos and the death and injury toll (from vigilantism, panic and confusion, mistaken identity etc.) did not rise during the search for suspect #2.

MrsTerryPratchett Sun 21-Apr-13 23:37:01

Was it MrsDV who likened it to ransom payment. They apprehended and killed the suspects. However, if I want to work out how to paralyse a US city, I know how. These two are not the only terrorists in the world. If they were, fab, that would have dealt with the situation.

Earlybird Sun 21-Apr-13 23:11:29

Yes, life in Boston was disrupted for a short period so for that brief time the terrorists 'won'. But I imagine it would have been far more frightening and disruptive if the perpetrators had never been apprehended - and certainly every day life would have been abnormal for a much longer time.

Once the incident was over, I imagine there was a surge of activity (economic and otherwise) as a result of relief/celebration and pent up demand because people needed/wanted to go out for essentials and non-essentials.

MrsDeVere Sun 21-Apr-13 22:39:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Snazzynewyear Sun 21-Apr-13 21:18:14

No problem with critically assessing responses to terrorist incidents. I am not at all impressed with the denial of Miranda rights to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, for one thing. Nor do I like the continuing denial of the danger within the US of its (lack of) gun controls.

However, I really don't have an issue with the lockdown of Boston for the time period it lasted - which was what, 24 hours? Certainly less than 48 hours? So I can't agree, MrsTerryPratchett, that the terrorists 'win'. After the 7/7 attacks all the talk was about how it wasn't going to change the way people lived; it wasn't going to change things for Londoners long-term. Undeniably it did in the immediate aftermath, and I don't see how it couldn't; but very quickly it was clear that the suspects were no longer out there, and then things returned to normal, people went back to travelling on the tube and so on. I think Boston is actually in a pretty similar situation. The city was paralysed for a day or so - as London was after 7/7 - and how the suspects have been apprehended (and of course killed in one case) the city can return to normal.

On the subject of the loss of $1 billion, what is that: businesses losing money through being closed for a day? Not ideal, no, but better than them losing money longer-term because no-one was ever caught for these attacks and people fear coming to Boston. Also, I don't think there were any great options for the Boston authorities: they were going to be criticised whatever they did. Had they not ordered the lockdown for reasons of cost, and then more people had died, they would be being slammed right now for putting businesses' profit before people's safety.

I'm perfectly happy to differ on this, of course, but I just wanted to state my view and to also state that it doesn't go hand-in-hand with being uncritical of the authorities and their handling of terrorism.

TheChimpParadox Sun 21-Apr-13 20:20:05

I think this has been a very interesting thread with view points form both sides of the 'big pond' as to how each country is perceived to deal with these incidents .

MrsTerryPratchett Sun 21-Apr-13 19:25:36

I don't think it is distasteful to critically assess terrorist responses. I think that we all have a duty to examine what governments and their agents do in our names. I think we need to assess what we think about the effect terrorism has on all of us. We are all supposed to be affected by these acts, that is their nature.

I can do that at the same time as being very sad for the victims and their families.

WishIdbeenatigermum Sun 21-Apr-13 19:06:22

Incredibly distasteful thread.

MrsTerryPratchett Sun 21-Apr-13 18:07:35

I'm not nitpicking. I'm trying to say, obviously poorly, that the point of terrorism is to disrupt, scare, terrify, cost money, inconvenience and affect as many people as possible. The Boston bombings did exactly that, partially because of how the city, government and Police handled it.

How many armed robberies and carjackings are there normally? Actually Boston is relatively safe for a US city. However, the US has an astonishingly high number of violent, many gun related deaths every year. This article is saying what I am trying to. They won't pass a law to background check people who want a gun but they will lock down a whole city after a terrorist attack.

Earlybird Sun 21-Apr-13 17:53:08

It was the most sensible thing to tell people to remain indoors:
- the two suspects robbed a convenience store at gunpoint
- carjacked a vehicle, with a citizen inside and forced him to drive to 3 separate bank ATM machines to withdraw cash (they released him unharmed - and told him they were the bombers)
- shot a policeman dead
- gravely wounded another policeman
- shot at, and threw bombs and grenades at the police pursuing them
- when finally apprehended, the younger suspect drove a car directly at police who were trying to handcuff his wounded brother and ran over and dragged his brother some distance as he made his escape
- the older brother had explosives and a triggering device strapped to his body, so reasonable to assume the younger brother could also have the same devices.

Seems to me it was completely appropriate to advise people to stay inside their homes and not go out - especially when they found the car abandoned and knew the wounded suspect had escaped on foot.

It is astonishing that people want to nitpick and criticise a successful outcome. It wasn't a perfect operation, but perfect only happens in the movies.

MrsTerryPratchett Sun 21-Apr-13 17:47:43

The big deal is that it cost $1 billion or thereabouts to close down Boston. On 9/11 airplanes were crashing into buildings killing thousands of people. It looked like the start of a war. Sad and horrifying as the Boston bombs were, they were nail bombs not planes and they killed three people not thousands. It is still horrible but we are talking about a proportional response.

Were I a terrorist, I would be pretty pleased that my homemade nail bombs managed to close down a whole city and cost that much money.

Snazzynewyear Sun 21-Apr-13 16:37:04

It seems like common sense to me that if an armed person is out and about who will be pretty desperate and who is suspected of already doing harm to the general public, that you'd advise people to stay indoors too.

stopgap Sun 21-Apr-13 12:17:51

On a much smaller scale, I recall that Cumbrian police urged local residents to stay indoors when Derrick Bird went on his shooting spree. I don't see the big deal about the orders issued by the Boston PD.

sashh Sun 21-Apr-13 10:30:12

They had an active fugitive who was considered armed and dangerous. I don't think they had the city locked down until after that was established (the firefight at MIT). Locking the city down was something I'm sure they knew they could get public support on

Exactly, it was an appropriate response to that situation.

It was like 9/11, get every legitimate flight to land and what's left is your target.

On 7/7 it was suicide bombers, not much use locking down once the bombers are dead.

Different cities and different countries and people react differently.

After 9/11 there were attacks on Sikh men wearing turbans because many Americans associate them with Islam.

Also I have no idea of gun ownership or laws in Boston. If you keep people at home you don't have anyone wanting to be a hero either shooting or being shot. Very few people have guns here.

Sparklingbrook Sun 21-Apr-13 09:54:41

He was caught because Boat man wanted a fag. confused

SpanishFly Sun 21-Apr-13 09:43:56

He was caught by sheer luck. I have no clue why helicopters weren't following him when he escaped or why heat seeking equipment wasn't used in their search area. Virtually nobody was outside so a body in a boat would've been obvious. Afer the man saw him, the heat seeking equipment was THEN used to confirm there was someone inside.

Sparklingbrook Sun 21-Apr-13 09:32:37

I have read this morning that the man had gone outside to have a cigarette, not specifically to check his boat.

Altinkum Sun 21-Apr-13 08:58:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Isityouorme Sun 21-Apr-13 07:54:17

The bombers have links to extreme Islamic groups and who knows why else they had planned. However, it is probable that the police/CIA/FBI know lots more than what as been released.

Chants of USA USA are them being patriotic -good for them.

Well done to the police and Boston.

Squarepebbles Sun 21-Apr-13 07:42:08

Really interesting thread.

I grew up in the 70s and 80s Britain with a forces father who often checked under his car just in case before driving.Due to the abundance of bombings in the news as a child I'm still not keen on large crowd situations even now and get twitchy in London.

I remember my dad's fury at the IRA fundraising in the USA and lack of thought towards the many victims, he has never visited the US as a result.I guess the Thatcher funeral in the same week highlighted this for me and how far we've come as a nation.

It is ironic that today British runners quite rightly will raise money and think about innocent citizens of a wealthy country who contributed towards funding terrorism and bombing ours in a very similar way.

It is so sad and also slightly ironic that innocent people could be bankrupted over medical bills even when they have insurance and British citizens who many Americans view as mad in having an NHS will make a positive contribution towards US medical bills.

Not a US bashing post,my dp has US family and I really like the country and it's people.I just hope US kids today don't now grow up with the same fear British kids did decades ago.

< slight hijack>

Re the op I think the Boston police did a good job,the city must be huge and if they had escaped so would a lot of info.It was a terrifying week with a city in shock,can't have been easy for the police who won't have been used to this kind of thing.

wreckitralph Sun 21-Apr-13 03:07:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KitchenandJumble Sun 21-Apr-13 02:59:25

Why do people who are so nice, elect such knob-heads and allow their hard-working, brave, young soldiers to commit atrocities?

Well, as to the first question, many would say that the knob-head wasn't actually elected but appointed by the Supreme Court initially. And there were certain shenanigans regarding the 2004 election as well. But even if one believes GWB was elected legitimately, he held the slimmest of majorities and there was tremendous opposition to him.

My friends in the UK are wonderful people, and yet the UK has also had its share of appalling Prime Ministers over the years (e.g., the late Margaret Thatcher, horrible Tony Blair, et al).

As for the second part of the question, the sad truth about human nature is that placed in the wrong circumstances, many people can behave very badly, up to and including committing atrocities. For a more benign example, see the Stanford prison experiment. For a glimpse into some of the worst of human nature, there's a brilliant book called "Ordinary Men."

If the institutional culture allows for and even approves of violations of the most basic rules of human decency, people will follow suit. After 9/11, the US government made some very dangerous and truly appalling decisions, and we still haven't really come to terms with them as a country. But I don't think that those decisions had anything to do with nationality. Americans are no better and no worse than the citizens of any other country.

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