Boston Was Shutdown Today. Should It Have Been?

An American city was essentially shut down today. Was that the right thing to do?

Boston Bridge

Among the more shocking developments of this morning as the search for Dzhokhor Tsarnaev came early in the morning when the police issued what they called a “Shelter In Place” advisory asking residents to stay at home, lock their doors, and only open them for a uniformed police officer until further notice. Additionally, businesses were asked to stay closed for the day, or at least until police determined that the situation was safe. Initially, this only applied to Watertown and several surrounding communities and nearby areas of Boston as this was the area where Tsarnaev was, and as of right now still is, believed to be holed up. Around 9:30 in the morning, though, Boston’s Police Commissioner appeared at press conference and stated that, due to information that law enforcement had recently received, they were extending the advisory to the entire City of Boston:

The entire city of Boston was put on lockdown Friday morning by the Massachusetts governor as police searched for the second of two men believed to have been involved in the marathon bombings earlier this week.

Gov. Deval Patrick said people should shelter in place as authorities engaged in a “massive manhunt” – an extraordinary order that affected nearly one million people.

The second suspect was shot and killed.

Police searched the Watertown neighborhood door to door on foot and in patrol cars early Friday morning. Residents were asked to call 911 if anyone other than police came to doors in the neighborhood.

All services on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority were suspended authorities announced earlier on Friday.

All Boston Public School activities were canceled. All city employees were told to stay in place and not come to work. If they are already at work, they have been asked to stay in place.

Trial courthouses and offices in Cambridge, Brighton, Newton, and Waltham were closed until further notice. Jurors for courthouses at the Suffolk Superior Court and Brooke Courthouses were told to stay home.

People waiting for buses or other transit services should head home and stay there, police said earlier on Friday. No vehicular traffic was being allowed in or out of Watertown, where police engaged in a shootout overnight with men armed with explosives. A no-fly zone was instituted over the Watertown area, the Federal Aviation Administration announced.

Designated portions of the MBTA system might open up again later on Friday, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency undersecretary Kurt Schwartz said.

All Amtrak service coming into and departing from Boston’s South Station was delayed as a result of police activity and Amtrak service was suspended between Boston and Providence, R.I. before all area service was suspended indefinitely around 11 a.m.

In addition, every university in the Boston area canceled classes for the day and sent non-resident students who were on campus home and the city’s taxi service, at least for a short period of time, ground to a halt. In essence, the entire city of Boston ground to a halt. Except for people who were already at work when the advisory was issued, who were advised to “shelter in place” at work until further advised, it was as if the city had been struck by a massive blizzard on a sunny spring day, although Boston is the kind of city that still keeps functioning at some level even through the worst winter weather.  That order was issued early this morning and, as I write this, it is still in place, although authorities did tell those people who were sheltering at work that they could go home, where they should stay, it remains in effect. The Boston Red Sox and the Boston Bruins have both postponed the games scheduled for this evening, and local Boston media has been announcing other cancellations all day.

Since there’s not much else to talk about today that doesn’t involve unwarranted and baseless speculation on the motives of the bombers and the location of the remaining suspect, I’ve seen a lot of discussion online about both the propriety and the necessity of this decision. On the propriety side, I’ve seen many people, mostly on the right, compare the “Shelter in Place” advisory to Martial Law, but that analogy only works if you forget that it’s called an advisory and not an order, and if residents who decided not to stay home ended up getting arrested or otherwise detained by the police. In reality, there hasn’t been a single report of anything like that happen and, indeed,more than a few anecdotal reports of people who were traveling from one place to another in the Boston area (other than those areas blocked off by police because of the search) and no reports of anyone who has been subjected to police harassment for doing so. Officials from the city and the state have stated numerous times today that this is really a voluntary advisory for the vast majority of citizens that are impacted by it, and the fact that they told people where are work that they should go home indicates precisely that fact it would seem.

On the necessity side, many have wondered why the advisory had to be extended to all of Boston when the police seemed to be assured that Tsarnaev was in the Watertown area. As the day unfolded, it became apparent that part of that reason revolved around two facts. First, law enforcement had obtained information that indicated that the Tsarnaev brothers may have had one or more accomplices. If that were true, then there may have potentially been others out there who could be threats to people gathered in public places. Second, at some point during the night last night, the police recovered evidence that there may have been more than two “Crock Pot bombs.” Given this, there was at least an arguably threat to public safety. Additionally, it seems clear that there were really two justifications for the advisory depending on the area. For the area around Watertown, the advisory is primarily for the purposes of public safety. There is apparently a dangerous suspect in the area who had hours earlier engaged in a massive shootout with police that included the use of pipe bombs, and there are reports of possible explosive devices at various places in the neighborhood. Certainly, under these circumstances keeping people in their home is the most rational course of action both for personal and public safety. For the rest of the Boston area, part of the justification seems to be that limiting the number of people on the streets allows law enforcement in the  area to concentrate massive force in the search for Tsarnaev.

Is this a sufficient justification to essentially grind a metropolitan area of nearly a million people to a halt? That seems like a hard question to answer. Even without the advisory, today would hardly have been a normal day in the Greater Boston area. Parents likely would have been loath to send their children to school even if they weren’t in the immediate Watertown area. Many people likely would’ve just decided to stay home anyway, a fact that seems to be indicated pretty clearly by the fact that pretty much everyone in the Greater Boston area decided to comply with the advisory rather than test its limits. Would things have been worse had the advisory not been expanded to Boston? I honestly don’t know and neither can anyone else, but it strikes me that it represents an appropriate degree of prudence under the circumstances.

On Twitter, Michael Cohen raised a different objection to the “Shelter In Place” advisory:

Essentially, Cohen is arguing that Boston’s response to this manhunt is going to encourage future terrorists to undertake actions that will cause other jurisdictions to act in a similar manner. In the end, though, I’m not sure what that’s going to accomplish for them. Unless he’s part of some cell that law enforcement is completely unaware of at the moment, it seems clear that Tsarnaev will eventually be caught. Indeed, for all we know he may have been injured in the overnight firefight to such an extent that he really can’t move from where ever he’s managed to find a safe haven. In the end, what will he have accomplished? He will still be a murderer, either dead or in custody, and if in custody he will face the full force of the American criminal justice system. The same can be said of anyone who would dare to try to replicate his stunt.

Yes, essentially shutting down a major American city was an extraordinary event, but it can also be said that the events of the past 24 hours have also been extraordinary. I’m not sure that makes the advisory either improper or a bad idea.

Update: State and local law enforcement have just concluded a press conference at which they have withdrawn the “Shelter In Place” advisory. The search for “Suspect No. 2” has, so far, been unsuccessful.

Photo of empty bridge into Boston found via Twitter

FILED UNDER: Crime, National Security, Policing, Terrorism, , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Crusty Dem says:

    I’m not a fan of the shutdown, but given his possession of a large number of explosive devices, this seems to be what I’d call a “prudent overreaction”.

  2. JKB says:

    It didn’t seem like a terrible idea for the morning but now it is, well not ridiculous, I guess ridiculfull.

    Is there some place the cops haven’t been able to at least give a cursory search in the last 12 hours?

    When might they let the city restart? The economic losses due to this action will have a much larger impact than the actual bombing.

    Watch for the inevitable move to raise taxes by the city and state to make up for “their” loss in income/sales taxes. No reason they should do without even as they push many of the low income earners and small businesses to the edge.

  3. @Crusty Dem:

    That’s probably a good way to put it.

    Of course, the question becomes what happens if, as seems increasingly likely, they don’t find this guy before tomorrow morning. Another day of “Shelter In Place” for the whole Boston area? I’m not sure that’s reasonable.

  4. In many ways (and as you allude) it seems to me that it simply gave some official credence to what would have been a largely de facto situation anyway.

    And in re: Cohen;s tweet: terrorists already know they can go a lot of damage to the life of a major city. See: New York, Madrid, and London for references.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Doug? did not even read anything you quoted or said. In what world did they have a choice????? Ohhh, wait a minute…. the sane world.

    Doug, here is a clue: We do not live in a sane world, I would explain it to you, but why? You already know this world is insane.

    …. as an Arkansas brother likes to say, “Why you botha????” (with a Chinese accent )…

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:


    The economic losses due to this action will have a much larger impact than the actual bombing.

    Ah yes, it is all about the economic consequences…. Isn’t it? JKB doesn’t care if his children are alive afterwards. Methinks if his children were maimed in this bombing, he would sing a different tune.

    What say you?

  7. JKB says:

    this changes it a bit.

    RT @kasie From @nbcnews: Seven (7) IEDs have been recovered in the searches so far, some in Watertown, some at the house in Cambridge.

  8. CSK says:

    It’s well over 2 million people who are affected by this. You can’t drive in or out of Watertown–no vehicular traffic at all. In Cambridge, Brookline, and four other “suburbs” of Boston, you’re not supposed to open your business or leave your home. In southeastern Mass., well away from those areas, the entire campus of the University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth has been shut down because the suspect who’s on the loose is (was) a student there, and they fear he might try to return. Fifteen cops were treated for shrapnel wounds because the two suspects were throwing what resembled pipe bombs from the car they hijacked. The suspects lived about seven blocks away from me. There are reports of the cops planning a “controlled explosion” at a residence in Watertown. I do not know what the purpose of this might be.

    Live from the scene. I’ve never experienced anything like this.

  9. JKB says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Ah yes, it is all about the economic consequences….

    Security is about balance. And if you stop economic activity, you cannot fund society. Remember government has no money that it does not take from the productive activity of its citizens. So while the advisory might be necessary in light of found IEDs, at some point Boston has to go back to work or cease to exist. Tomorrow or by Monday, the losses will be the topic de jour.

  10. Crusty Dem says:


    That is what I meant by “possession of a large number of explosive devices” prior to you bizarre, nonsensical tax rant.

    We are in a situation where the best move was probably not shutting down, but the risk of the suspect boarding a busy train with a bomb vest was slim but politically untenable.

  11. JKB says:

    Just saw reports they lifted the SIP and are reopening transit at a 6 pm news conference.

    Terrorist still on the run.

  12. anjin-san says:


    at some point Boston has to go back to work or cease to exist.

    I think there are plenty of well-to-do hippies out here in the Peoples Republic of California that will be happy to help our fellow Americans in Boston with any financial problems they are encountering due to this tragedy. I am sure a lot of folks in NYC, LA, Seattle, Portland, and so on, feel the same way.

    You, of course, won’t understand this.

  13. JKB says:

    @anjin-san: I think there are plenty of well-to-do hippies out here in the Peoples Republic of California that will be happy to help our fellow Americans out

    Well, Boston seems to be re-opening. But perhaps your well-to-do hippies would be willing to help out your fellow American in Detroit? Or are Detroiters not your kind of people?

  14. Dave Schuler says:

    I don’t think what’s been done under the very peculiar cirumstances.

    There’s more than one reason for trying to reduce the movements of the population, particularly in the immediate area they’re searching. The reason that most people are putting forward is public safety but I honestly don’t think that’s the real primary reason.

    I think the real primary reason for the “shutdown” is that is simplifies the job of sweeping the area they think the guy is in.

    In a brief digression, I think they’d better hope that the kid wasn’t prepared. If he was prepared, he’s already gone.

  15. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    But perhaps your well-to-do hippies would be willing to help out your fellow American in Detroit?

    California is a net exporter of federal tax dollars, we help subsidize lots of places in America that are struggling. I know they don’t talk about that on Fox, but it’s true nonetheless.

  16. rudderpedals says:

    @CSK: Seeing how you live there, what’s your take on the now lifted advisory?

  17. C. Clavin says:

    If they hadn’t you’d be bitching about that.

    15 will get you 20 this kid has bled out somewhere.

  18. anjin-san says:

    15 will get you 20 this kid has bled out somewhere.

    That might be the case, though we can’t make assumptions. I am trying to figure out how the most wanted man in America got away when law enforcement had him in their sights.

  19. JKB says:

    @anjin-san: I know they don’t talk about that on Fox, but it’s true nonetheless.

    So, you are a Fox viewer, are you? Otherwise, how would you know what they talk about on Fox?

  20. C. Clavin says:

    @ JKB…us blue staters are all ready supporting you, bitch.

  21. CSK says:


    I’m not sure. They’re saying it’s safe to resume your life and go about your business now, but they’re not saying why this is so. It could be that the suspect is dead. Or that he’s been captured, and is being transported to an ultra-secure facility. He might be wounded, and in an area hospital under very heavy guard. Or law enforcement and the governor have credible information that he’s out of the area. These are JUST guesses on my part. Repeat: just guesses on my part. I could be totally wrong.

    I do know that the cops swarmed the Arlington Street subway station in Boston this afternoon. The Arlington Street Church in Boston, right by the station, is a famous anti-war and sanctuary church. Nothing happened at Arlington, ultimately.

    I think people here are a little on edge having been told it’s safe to go out, but not WHY it’s safe to go out.

  22. ernieyeball says:

    @anjin-san: I think there are plenty of well-to-do hippies out here in the Peoples Republic of California that will be happy to help our fellow Americans in Boston with any financial problems they are encountering due to this tragedy.

    If any of these MA law enforcement agencies get funds from the Federal Treasury, all of us who paid our Income Tax four days ago are helping our Beantown Neighbors.

    (Years ago the freaks I knew would go out of their way to eschew economic prosperity, usually by avoiding work at all costs. Well-to-do hippie was an oxymoron.)

  23. anjin-san says:

    @ ernieyeball

    Well-to-do hippie was an oxymoron

    People discover, as they get older, that being comfortable is not a bad thing 🙂

  24. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    So, you are a Fox viewer, are you?

    I do watch Fox from time to time, and look at their website for at least a minute or two every morning. What I don’t do is outsource my thinking to them, or anyone else.

  25. ernieyeball says:

    @anjin-san: …being comfortable is not a bad thing…

    “Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.”
    —Freewheelin’ Franklin (Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers)

  26. rudderpedals says:

    @CSK: Thank you

  27. CSK says:


    You’re quite welcome. There are reports now that there was a shoot-out on Franklin St. in Watertown, and that the suspect is “down.” I do not know whether, in this context, that means dead, wounded, or subdued. Apparently he was hiding in someone’s boat that had been stored in a shed. A woman spotted bloody clothing by the open shed door and called police.

    If you knew Watertown…absolutely nothing ever happens there. Until last night.

  28. matt says:

    Absolutely ridiculous on so many levels. Now all a terrorist has to do is set down a pressure cooker in a bag and they can expect a whole city to shut down in response. God help us..

  29. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I don’t think it was excessive.

    First, Boston is a geographically small city. So while it sounds like a lot to shut down Boston, Cambridge, Watertown, and a couple of other inner suburbs, it is the equivalent of shutting down the downtown core and a small number of neighborhoods in a geographically large city like Houston or Jacksonville.

    Second, a huge percentage of people who live and work in Boston either don’t own cars and rely on the T, or take commuter rail into the city core for work. If something had happened later in the day that did actually require them to shut down the T after everyone was out and about, it would have been a complete disaster. Worse than a blizzard, since those are predictable and many people stay home in anticipation or figure out alternatives in advance – and typically in a blizzard the trains can keep running long after the busses need to stop.

    Those are two things that make Boston fairly unique in the US. San Francisco is the only other city I can think offhand that is as geographically small and densely populated and dependent upon public transit. Maybe DC, but I think DC probably has more drivers.

    And, then, finally as someone noted above (which would apply anywhere) keeping people off the streets both drastically reduced the odds of collateral damage to the public and and allows law enforcement greatly dexterity of movement had the suspect become mobile.

  30. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Interesting message being sent here. “There’s a very dangerous person at large in the city. Stay home, lock your doors, and don’t let anyone in unless they have a badge. If anyone tries to break into your home, call 911, hide, and pray like hell that the cops will arrive before the bad guy or guys get to you. And if you have a gun — which you shouldn’t — keep it locked up and unloaded, because the bad guy might take it from you or you might shoot a family member or someone might commit suicide.”

    Maybe you can threaten the intruder with a pressure cooker…

  31. @Jenos Idanian #13: So, you would prefer that police say; get out your guns and shoot anyone you don’t know?

  32. C. Clavin says:

    Nobody is saying you shouldn’t have a gun.
    You should have a background check and prove you are qualified…then maybe you can have a gun.
    Adam Lanza’s mom was a gun nut…she did not control her weapons.
    You act like every gun owner is a super-hero.
    Statistically untrue.
    Most gun owners f**k themselves up.
    You are living in a fantasy world and you are wearing a onesy.
    Own it.

  33. Argon says:

    Hmm… An unknown but presumably large cache of bombs, free movement since Monday while they could’ve planted devices all over the area including a university campus, possible accomplices, and presumably many guns. Sure, let people walk around an area where a bomb could detonate or a firefight could likely break out. How could that go wrong?

    This all was not likely to continue for more than a day. I think it was a logistically justifiable call.

  34. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: The cops said don’t open the door for anyone who didn’t have a badge. (I’ll assume they also meant “people you know.”) And I specifically spoke of someone trying to break into your house.

  35. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Oh, Cliffy, you’re so cute when you aren’t calling for conservatives to kill themselves.

    And I’m not surprised that you’ve already conveniently forgotten this thread, where you were a cheerful participant. The entire point of your comments and many others’ comments were that people shouldn’t have guns.

    And no, there wasn’t an explicit call for banning all guns. But you introduced “ban” into this, not me.

  36. C. Clavin says:

    Jenos…there is nothing in that thread that says what you say it says.
    If you have to lie…then you are a liar.
    It must suck to realize what a loser you are.

  37. C. Clavin says:

    He’s in custody…
    Thank god for the NRA.
    Oh wait…

  38. C. Clavin says:

    I forgot…the NRA probably made this worse.

  39. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Cliffy, Cliffy, Cliffy… do I really need to give quotations from people saying that folks should NOT have guns in their own homes?

    The contempt for people who choose to keep guns in their homes was positively dripping. They’re racist, stupid, racist, dangerous, racist, and stupid, according to you and yours.

    Why can’t you just own it? Oh, yeah, it would require you to be honest and consistent, and you’re not constitutionally capable of that.

  40. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Repeating truth to you is a lost cause, but in case anyone else is reading this: the guy just captured is 19, too young to legally own or possess a gun under Massachusetts law. So you’ll have to find new spank-bank material for your NRA fantasies.

  41. C. Clavin says:

    Look…a bunch of liberals cheering their police, firefighters, ems, nat’l guard etc.
    That reality has gotta kill Republicanists.
    It is completely contrary to their fantasies.
    F’ing cheering in the streets.
    F’ yeah, America.

  42. Anjin-San says:


    The real life Freewheelin’ Franklin was one of my bar customers back in the 80s. I had long since given up smoking dope at that point, but we did shots of tequila on more than one occasion. I heard that he passed away recently, we are losing a lot of guys from the hippie era now.

  43. C. Clavin says:

    Massachusetts….the bluest state?
    Showing you rednecks how to take care of business.
    And they’ll send you red-states money too.

  44. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Look…a bunch of liberals cheering their police, firefighters, ems, nat’l guard etc.

    You see liberals.

    I see Americans.

    You see this as yet another chance to bash conservatives.

    I saw this as an attack on Americans.

    You’re stupid, mean, vulgar, and have only a passing familiarity with truth or decency.

    I’d curse you, but I can’t imagine any curse worse than forcing you to be yourself.

  45. Franklin says:

    JKB, your point about economic losses is acknowledged, but I really don’t think one day is as important as people think. Yeah, some study later (that costs millions to produce) will come up with some non-sense value of the shutdown, undoubtedly in the billions. But that pretends people can’t get stuff done around the house which is actually worth something immeasurable.

  46. C. Clavin says:

    Yeah Jenos…you stupid f’…he got guns illegally…so we should do nothing about that. Because criminals don’t obey the law.
    I cannot imagine what it’s like to be as stupid as you are.

  47. C. Clavin says:

    Jenos…go back and look at how many times you talked about teams.
    You know. You’re a liar.
    I know you’re a liar.
    Everyone that reads this website knows you are a liar.

  48. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Get back to me when you raise a real point. For example, how you checked the voter registrations and political leanings of all those people cheering the public safety officials.

    On second thought, don’t bother. You are officially not worth the slightest bit of energy. I should have realized that when you fantasized about conservatives committing suicide to satiate your sociopathic lusts.

  49. C. Clavin says:

    Awesome show of coordination and force.
    No one that knows the history of Boston cops and the Feds would have predicted it.

  50. C. Clavin says:

    Jenos….if facts don’t fit your ideology…it’s your ideology at fault…not the facts.

  51. Argon says:

    Yay, suspect captured. Residents cheering the police. And Lindsey Graham can go eat a bag of dicks.

  52. C. Clavin says:

    Argon…my money says he does…regularly. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

  53. JKB says:

    @Franklin: But that pretends people can’t get stuff done around the house which is actually worth something immeasurable.

    Unless you count on those hours worked to pay your bills this month. Or one lost day, a Friday in fact, means you won’t make payroll this week.

    People should run so close to the edge but some end up doing it because of life events they have to recover from, others do it by habit. Businesses do it when building or will riding through a downturn.

  54. marginoerra says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Pound sand, dude. Clavin made an observation about the appreciation of the progressive citizens of Watertown for a job well done by local and federal law enforcement. An educated guess, to be sure, but right nonetheless.

    I wonder how many of those cheering folks were blathering to themselves about the tree of freedom needing to be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Yeah…probably none.

  55. john personna says:

    Of course cities can take a day off now and then. In the grand scheme it is no big.

  56. john personna says:

    (Didn’t some east coast cities take blizzard days not too long ago?)

  57. Jim M says:

    Well, mission accomplished, 1 dead terrorist and 1 injured terrorist in police custody. Yes good idea to shut it down. This was about catching a mass murderer and it worked. Star Bucks will just have to sell more coffee tomorrow to make up for the lost revenue. Money can be made back up but lives cannot if those morons would of escaped and caused more mayhem.

  58. Fat Freddy says:

    @Anjin-San: So it was you that sold me that bag of catnip for $20!

  59. al-Ameda says:


    Well, Boston seems to be re-opening. But perhaps your well-to-do hippies would be willing to help out your fellow American in Detroit? Or are Detroiters not your kind of people?

    Three things:
    (1) “well-to-do hippies”? Update your stereotypes, Marin County is one of the most affluent counties in America and ‘hippies’ have nothing to do with that.
    (2) Was there recently a terror act in Detroit that resulted in the death of 3 peopel and the serious injury to nearly 200 people?
    (3) Well, one thing we know is that conservatives opposed the bailout of Detroit’s auto industry because those people are definitely NOT your type of people.

  60. Caj says:

    Better to have been safe than sorry in that situation. The younger one still had weapons and seeing as no one knew where he was it was prudent for law enforcement to do what they did.
    Kudos to all involved in his eventual capture and the fact he was captured alive was great. Terrorism is evil as it comes not only in the form of bombs it also applies to guns!

  61. JKB says:


    (1) well-to-do hippie wasn’t my term. Try to keep up.

    (2) Yes, but the city was held hostage for near 50 years with far more than 2 killed and a few hundred seriously injured. But it was a slow attack at the heart of the very metropolis. Kind of like boiling a frog. The fact the violence wasn’t specifically directed doesn’t mean it wasn’t calculated by those who took over Detroit.

    (3) No, many conservatives opposed the bailout of Detroit’s auto industry because as constituted in Detroit it isn’t a viable entity. If, as was possible through normal bankruptcy, the auto industry was able to restructure its debt and liabilities, then no bailout would have been necessary as it would have been able to compete with more competent competitors.

  62. @JKB:

    Or one lost day, a Friday in fact, means you won’t make payroll this week.

    A major problem with your argument is that you seem to think that the options were A) A normal business day or, B) What happened. Yet, this was not the choice. Even if there had been no SIP request, it would hardly have been a normal business day. Speaking for the part of the world I know and understand: there would have been no sending of children to school on a day in which the streets of my city were filled with law enforcement officers in armored vehicles. I surely would not have had my 16 year-old driving around in such conditions. Further, there it would have been pointless to have class at the university, since a lot of students would have stayed home to watch the news, and those who showed up would want to talk about the events of the day, not have a discussion about variations in electoral systems. There would have been a de facto SIP in any event.

    Plus, once the decision was made to halt mass transit, a move that makes a lot of sense if one is trying to find and stop of fugitive, then there isn’t going to be all that much economic activity to begin with.

    At a minimum, if you are going to argue for your position, make a comparison using a realistic comparison, not the notion that a normal business day was what was lost.

  63. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Before Cliffy injures himself waving the pom-poms for the police, let’s look at a few places they… well, could have done better.

    The older brother was charged with domestic violence in 2009, which could have been grounds for revoking his citizenship and deporting him. We passed on that.

    In 2011, he was named a potential extremist and interviewed by the FBI, but they gave him another pass.

    The cops declared a lockdown all day, didn’t find Little Brother, then lifted the lockdown. Within in hour, a private citizen found him in an area the cops had already searched — and was outside the original cordon.

    The local cops did a damned good job, and should be lauded for it. But there were also several areas where there could have been some improvement.

  64. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Well, I bet the MRA types would have had a lot to say about domestic violence –> deportation.

    And Boston is a SMALL city. It’s surprising how small it is when you start walking around it. Add to that the high reliance of public transportation to get around, and I can see why they did the lock-down.

    Jenos, you would have been bitching entirely out of the other side of your mouth had one of those recently-discovered explosives been carried somewhere else and exploded.

  65. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @grumpy realist: Jenos, you would have been bitching entirely out of the other side of your mouth had one of those recently-discovered explosives been carried somewhere else and exploded.

    I have absolutely no idea what the hell you mean by that. The authorities did a fine job, but only a perfect idiot would say that they did everything perfectly, flawlessly, and couldn’t have been done better.

    Which is why I wasn’t surprised Cliffy immediately went into full fanboi mode — “So impressed by the multi-jurisdictional law enforcement effort. Not a mis-step.” and so on.

  66. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: What we’re saying is that you’re doing your standard Monday Morning quarterbacking. Like usual.

    Look, nothing is perfect. But considering how much stuff these two clowns had available to them I’m just glad that they managed to get both of them with relatively little loss of life. And I don’t see how we could have guarded against the assassination of the MIT police officer unless you had put a much bigger load of manpower onto the streets. Which you would have been bitching about because of waste of money….

    If you want to talk about deaths and injured and stupid actions, talk about that exploding fertilizer plant down in Texas. The one that had 430 tons of ammonium nitrate stocked there and they never told anyone about it. Why aren’t we squawking about that? Given the number of ill-regulated fertilizer plants in rural areas (and the damn stuff getting shipped on rail all over the country), I’m far more likely to get killed by an explosion of this sort than I am by something aimed at me by a terrorist.

    But I guess if you get blown to pieces because a company wants to make money it’s all in a good American cause….

  67. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @grumpy realist: Sigh… I said, they did a good job. A fine job.

    But it could have been bettter.

    In cases like this, you look at what was done and see how it could be improved for the next time. What were the criteria for setting the initial search perimeter? Did the lockdown help or hinder? Should the timing of the release of identifying information be reconsidered? Does giving out the identities of suspects help or hinder?