Police State on Display
The Boston Marathon bombing has already demonstrated the best and the worst of America for all the world to see.
First, let’s talk about the best. When the bombs detonated, despite the shock and the horror of the blown-off legs and arms, and the blood on street and sidewalk, and without knowing what else might be coming, ordinary citizens jumped into action to try and help the gravely wounded and the dying. Average people with no experience in this kind of mayhem stepped up without hesitation to care for strangers, applying tourniquets, carrying people who couldn’t walk to hospital tents, or just holding a hand and calling for help.
People pored over their cellphone photo records and camera files, looking for photos that could help identify the killers. Without their volunteer actions, the police and federal agencies would have had no clue who they were looking for. With them, it was quick work pinpointing and identifying the two men who appear to have placed the two bombs.
Later, while police failed to catch one of the brothers suspected of having been a bomber, despite placing all of metropolitan Boston under a kind of martial law, it was a citizen who, after the so-called “lock-down” of the city had been lifted, spotted the suspect and alerted police.
Now for the worst.
Let’s start with the martial law. Okay, it wasn’t a declaration, but with police and the Mayor ordering everyone in Boston and its suburbs to stay inside and lock their doors, “answering only to police,” it was virtually the same thing.
Cops, FBI, ATF and DEA agents were everywhere, and the streets were being patrolled too by National Guard troops and armored personnel carriers equipped with machine guns -- this in pursuit of a single wounded 19-year-old on the run on foot! Talk about overkill. We’re lucky that police in this amped up man-hunt didn’t gun down anyone who might have been unaware of the “stay-inside” order, or who decided he or she needed a beer or an ice-cream and ventured outside. Look what the LAPD did to the Latina mother and daughter newspaper delivery team when they thought the pick-up they were driving was the truck of the rogue cop they were hunting -- peppering it from behind without warning with over a hundred shots from pistols and automatic rifles. (As it is, the several cops who responded to the 911 call about a man hiding in a boat nearly blew away the chance to question him about his motive by mindlessly blasting away at him though he was pinned down inside the boat, until a federal agent ordered them to quit firing.)