That tweet from the mayor of Boston on Friday night finally put an end to the terrible events of April the 15th. In the end, one suspect was killed the other captured after a weeklong investigation and a daylong manhunt. I commend the tireless work of the investigators and all those that worked to finally put an end to that week of terror and tragedy. To all law enforcement agencies, I say thank you.
But…. Yes, unfortunately there is a but.
My problem is with how it all went down. What I saw playing out on the streets of Boston was scary on Friday. Don’t believe me, do a google image search for the Boston Manhunt or click here, I did it for you.
I had the ability and time to watch live streams of the local Boston stations all day on Friday. I listened and watched as reports of house to house searches were underway. I watched the streets fill up with law enforcement dressed more like soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan than a major American city. I listened as people were told to stay in place, don’t go out, stay in your homes and lock the doors. One could almost say, an entire city was put into house arrest for a day.
I heard one news reporter on, I believe it was the CBS affiliate, relate a story of a man who was stopped and frisked by police just for being out. He didn’t fit the description of the suspect, he was just out, according to the reporter. There were other reports of people being stopped and asked for IDs if they were out.
There were house to house searches. Police in tactical gear coming door to door, getting people to leave their homes and then going in and searching it. I can’t say if the house to house searches that were conducted were voluntary, although from some of the ones I saw on the news feeds it didn’t look like it. I wonder if anyone was allowed to say no. Were there search warrants? You can do some YouTube searches and see individual videos posted of some of them as well.
The whole day went like this, the city in lockdown, law enforcement out in force on the streets with automatic weapons and driving around in what looked like armored vehicles. As I said, it was a like a scene from a movie, like The Siege. Ironically enough though, they finally got a lock on the suspect when the people were once again free to leave their houses. It wasn’t long before a homeowner found the suspect cowering on his property, hidden away in a boat. Is it possible they could have captured him sooner if they hadn’t had the lock down? Might the homeowner in question have noticed the suspect there hours earlier? There’s no way of knowing.
I’m no expert on anything like this. Maybe all this was necessary. Maybe the suspect was much more of a threat than we know. So far I haven’t seen any comments in the news one way or the other. There hasn’t been much talk overall about the actual lock down of Friday. But, I think we really need to have that discussion.
Now that the suspect is caught and is going to have his day in court, I reall think we need to look back on that Friday. Granted, it is easy to look at things like this in hindsight and say with certainty that nothing happened. No citizens were injured, there was no major threat because the suspect was wounded and in hiding. At the time, they didn’t know that. At the time, the threat was real and deadly. At the same time though, it seemed that the Constitution took the day off in Boston
Was the suspect capture, yes and thank god. Was it worth the cost though? That’s a question we might not be able to answer as simply.
Originally published April 23, 2013