Quick tracking, killing and capture of the killers...yet questions remain
On Monday, April 15th, in Boston Massachuesetts, as the very popular annual Boston Marathon was ending, with the winners having already crossed the finish line and others continuing to do so some time later, two boms exploded. One exploded along the sidewalk a few yards before the finish line, about 12 seconds later, the second bomb exploded a block or two further back along the route.
There was pandemonium and panic. One runner went down as he ran next to where the bomb was exploding. Many other spectators went down in the area near the bombs.
In the end, three people were killed by the bombs, and dozens and dozens others injured...many of them critically. Here are pictures (and a video) of the bombings as they took place (Click on any picture for a high resolution image)
Despite the pandemonium and panic, law enforcement and medical professionals on the scene, as well as many bystanders, which included military veterans, immediately stepped in to help the injured. They moved baracades, they administered first responder care, and they established treament zones to care for the injured and allow Emergency Responders to get to the scene:
During the first two days after the bombings, investigators rapidly gathered information. Invest5igtors indicated that as many as seven bombs were laid, but that only two went off.
Initially, a Saudi national was taken into custody who was injured at the scene. This man was on the terror watch list and it was announced that he was being detained as a "suspect" in the bombings. Later it was revealed that he was related to Royalty in Saudi Arabia, and within 24 hours his status was changed to a "person of interest." A few hours after this he was released, transported to an airport, and deporrted back to Saudi Arabia under a terrorsim provision, although it was indicated that he was no longer a person of interest in the bombing.
The day after this disposition of the Saudi was announced, on Thursday, April 18, the FBI and local authorities released pictures and videos of two men who were seen carrying back packs during the event, and leaving them at the places where the bombs exploded.
These two men were identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26 years old, and his younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19 years old. Both were originally from Chechnya in Russia. Both had been living in the United States for some years and were attending college in the Boston area. The younger brother had become a U.S. citizen on September 11, 2012. Pictures and videos of their activities at the Boston Marathon as well as still pictures of the two were released in an all points bulletin identifying them as armed and extremely dangerous.
American citizens and the world did not have long to wait for events to occur. Apparently, fased and rattled by their quick identification, the two brothers robbed a conviencence store that night to get money. They had tried earlier, unsuccessfully, to withdraw money out of their accounts at an ATM, but all of that had been frozen. A responding Massacheusetts Institute of Technology Police Officer, who responded to the robbing, was brutally killed near the convienence store, shot numerous times.
The borthers initially took this poilce officer's vehicle, but they soon discarded it and car-jacked another vehicle, taking the driver on a 30 minute ride of terror. As police closed in, assisted by SWAT Teams and the FBI, the brothers released the driver, and then were chased through the streets of Watertown, MA. Automatic weapons fire ensured as the brothers shot at their pursuers, and they throw numerous explosive devices from the vehicle in an effort to try and halt the pursuit. Ultimately however, they were cornered after midnight and a large shootout ensued involving a lot of atuomatic weapons fire. In that shootout, the older brother was killed, and the younger brother escaped in the vehcile, and then later on foot.
During the gun battle that took his brother's life, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was able to get back into the vehicle the two had car-jacked and get away, driving over his brother's still living body as he did so. He later left the car and alluded police on foot.
That early morning, Friday, April 19th, the Federal Officials, State Governor, and Mayor of Boston issues several orders. One shut down all public transit in the greater Boston metropolitan area to millions of users, another eastablished virtual martial law in Watertown and surrounding communities, and everyone within Boston was operating under a "shelter at home," order which in essence had all citizens in the metropiltan area of Boston told to stay home that day and not go outdoors.
In the mean time, large numbers of local police, state police, SWAT teams from the various police forces, FBI and Homeland Security officers descended on Watertwon and an intense house to house search was conducted.
By early afternoon, nothing had been found....but then, a phone call, from a resident who claimed he had found blood on the tarp covering his recreational boat parked in his back yard and that someone injured was inside.
Officers and officials then cordoned off that area and surrounded the house, evacuating everyone nearby. Then, in the late afternoon, they attempted to contact Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who had in fact taken shelter in the boat and was continuing to bleed. He responded with a hail of gunfire and a short but very intense fire fight ensued for several minutes. Then, a negotiating team was brought in to talk to the suspect. Ultimately, in the early evening, he agreed to give himself up, and he climbed out of the boat and was taken into custody.
He was suffering from gunshot wounds and loss of blood and was treated there and then taken to the hospital. As he was being taken away, an outpouring of gratitude, thanksgiving, and joy filled the Boston area streets and many areas of the country. Huge rallies in appreciation of the swift and resolute actions of local, state and federal law enforcement were poured out to the officers themselves by citizens who had witnessed the events..
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged with terror crimes against the United States, with intentionally setting of weapons of mass destruction in an attempt to kill and injure many Americans. As an American citizen, he will be tried in criminal court on these charges and many others that will carry either life in prison or the death penalty. He was arraigned over closed circuit TV in his hosptial room.
Great appreciation and thanks must be given to the officers and officials on the ground who investigated this cime, and then so swiftly identified and then brought to justice and apprehension those who carried it out.
So, yes, numperous questions must be answered.. Here is a list of some of the pertinent ones:
These questions, and other similar questions regarding these individuals and our own activities with respect to them must be thoroughly investigated by the U.S. House and Senate, and the answers determined so we can avoid other, potentially much more dangerous events in the future.
In this case, our nation in general, and particularly the people at the marathon, were protected, despite the loss of life and the injuries. Had the bombs been more powerful, or been constructed, armed, and detonated with more expertise and precision, many, many more American would be dead today.
Despite this, and the excellent work of local, state, and federal law enforcement on the ground, these other, behind the scenes issues need to be resolved.
Finally, another troubling aspect of this was the absolute shutdown of an entire metropolitian area as a result of a single terror suspect on the loose.
If our reaction to terror suspects amongst us is to have millions of Americans shelter and cower in their homes when one is on the loose, then we are already surrendering our way of life to them because they can institute a massive impact on our soceity on demand...which is exactly what they want to do. Our leaders, who are elected by the people, and work for the people are not our overlords or masters...even in dire circumstances like these. They still work for us, and need to respect the citizenry as their employers and do all in their power to protect not only our safety...but our way of life and bear true faith and allegiance to the US Constitution as they have sworn. Were there warrants for the absolute search of each home that they conducted? Or, the potential holding of citizens or confiscation of their legal weapons that those searches would have ultimately led to? Are we all to be treated as criminals in order to catch the actual criminals amongst us?
Particularly when the capture of this individual ended up being because of the vigilance of a citizen as opposed to the wholesale restriction of all citizens to their homes to await searching..
Cordoning off an area where there is imminent threat (as they did whenb they located the suspect) is one thing...and understandable and acceptable. But shutting down an entire metroplitan area of millions of people, confining them to their homes, and having so many wait government law enforcement to come to each house is not okay...nor is it acceptable under our constitution and way of life. As has been stated, if we allow government officials to radically change our way of life as a response to these enemies, then we are already surrendering to the enemies, and to those officals, and our libery and way of life will be lost in the exchange.
April 24, 2013
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