Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lessons From Boston

Lots of people have opined on last week's events in Boston, with the marathon on Monday to Friday's capture of the 19 year-old second suspect.  I suppose the wimpiness of 21st century America requires I talk about how awful the four deaths and multiple legs and feet blown off is, just like we can't say that these new gun control laws would not have prevented Sandy Hook without saying we don't want to blow up children.  Of course it's awful - that should go without saying.    Here are some of my conclusions:
  • The Government Can't Protect You - this should be obvious.  The Boston Marathon is one of the biggest events in the whole country.  Police were everywhere, bomb sweeps were made, everything they thought they had to do was done, and the kids still managed to place and detonate two low-tech bombs.  In the aftermath of the bombing, during the manhunt, the terrorists walked up and executed a totally uninvolved officer in his car - they couldn't protect him, either, and he was one of them. 
  • The City Lockdown Was an Abject Failure.  Again, it should be obvious.  Despite the wholesale trampling of the fourth amendment, police barging into homes at gunpoint to search for this suspect, they failed to find him and lifted the city "Shelter In Place" order Friday evening before the second suspect was found. 
  • The Police Manhunt was an Abject Failure.  Another face palm-obvious one.  The suspect wasn't found by the helicopter with IR scanners or any high-tech equipment.  The suspect wasn't found by searching door to door.  He was found because a boat owner noticed something wrong with a strap on his boat, went to look and found all sorts of other things wrong.   He had the most interest in and familiarity with his boat. 
(All that constitution tramplin' and nothing to show for it.  How embarrassing.)

All of this leads me to conclude that the City's finest hour was at the bombing, when first responder paramedics and citizens minimized the loss of lives by administering first aid. That leads to some more conclusions:
  • Gun Control Never Prevents Anyone Intending to Harm Others From Getting Guns or Anything.  This is a minor point, but worth remembering.
  • The Reaction to the Attack Cost Far More Than the Attack Did.  Shutting down all commerce in Boston (except Dunkin' Donuts - stereotypically enough) did enormous economic damage.  Boston typically produces about $1 Billion in GDP per day.  The cost will be somewhat less than that because some people will telecommute, but I'll bet over $750 million. 
  • Two Determined Kids Completely Shut Down a Major American City.  Just like Dorner did in LA, they occupied all of the resources of police and national guard, even bringing in units from other cities and states.  Imagine what a determined group could do nationwide. 
  • In a Way, I Admire The Runners Who Kept Running, But...  Get Real, Folks.  When you watched the videos, did you notice how many runners just kept going right by, checking their watches or taking their pulses?  Whether you like it or not, your plans have been changed.  Assuming you're just wearing running clothes and not carrying anything that could be useful, get out of there!  Second or third bombs are extremely common practice. 
  • If Your Life Depends on Police Shooting Well, So Sorry.  You know those practice targets where the bad guy is holding a hostage and the goal is to hit the bad guy, not the hostage?  If you're in that situation, sorry, kiss your ass goodbye.  
A witness to the late night shootout between the brothers Tsarnaev posted pictures he took from across the street and upstairs.  After the shootout, he found this scene in his apartment, across the street and on the second floor.   Most of my readers have enough training to know the axiom (I've heard it attributed to Heidi Smith, Clint's wife) "every bullet that goes down range has a lawyer attached".  The City has an awful lot of damages to pay for - thank God it didn't include innocents being killed by police fire. 
Note the bullet hole through the chair and through the calendar on the wall.  It has been reported the police shot 200 rounds during that late night shooting, and reports are that one police sergeant charged the older brother, Tamerlan, because that officer was out of ammo (and had the chance to charge him).  And these are trained professionals.

You Are Your Own Best Defense And The Only Person You Can Really Count On Being There If There's Trouble.   During the lockdown, what do you think happened to other crime in Boston?  Do you think other criminals suddenly decided to go help out at the orphanage, or did they take advantage of every cop in the city being in Watertown?  What would you have done if one of the brothers had come into your house?  Wait for the police?  This woman "evolved" on the issue in a hurry (H/T Sense of Events)
I realized right then that if I were holed up in my house while a cold-blooded terrorist roamed my neighborhood, I wouldn’t want to be a sitting duck with only a deadbolt lock between me and an armed intruder. There are not enough police and they cannot come to my rescue quickly enough. They carry guns to protect themselves, not me.
Finally, I Just Don't Get Terrorism.  Yeah, I know the purpose of terrorism is to terrify, but it still doesn't make sense no matter how I think about it.  I have no idea what motivated these two douchebags to blow up perfectly innocent people, but I don't understand why any douchebag blows up anybody. Attacks on innocent people make absolutely no sense at all to me. 


  1. Re: not getting terrorism - They're muslims. We live in Dar al'Harb, The House of War. They're supposed to kill us and become martyrs. Clearly, I don't share that belief, but it IS the explanation. I don't have to get it. I just have to defend myself against it.

    Douchebags is right.

  2. Finally, a truism I was taught as a wee child: . . . There are not enough police and they cannot come to my rescue quickly enough. They carry guns to protect themselves, not me.

  3. Steven Den Beste once said that the goal of terrorism is to disrupt the normal order in order to induce a government overreaction against the general populace, spurring sympathy and resources for your cause (you can search the original article on USS Clueless). Where the al-Qaeda brand of US terror diverges from this model is that al-Qaeda has no real base here. There's no way their terror campaign could go anywhere here - they're outsiders to begin with and they categorically fail to gain any sympathy in our population through attacks like this. The only way it could make any sense is to spur American overreaction overseas. Otherwise it's simply "death, just because."

  4. I'll bet armed citizens, who take their shooting MUCH more seriously than most cops, would have used a lot fewer than 200 rounds, and had a better outcome.

  5. -- Finally, I Just Don't Get Terrorism. --

    You don't "get" terrorism. Terrorism "gets" you. The key insight is one that was best expressed by Adolf Hitler, of all people: "The great strength of the totalitarian state is that it forces those who fear it to imitate it."

    The terrorist tactic is the totalitarian method. By exercising that method arbitrarily and without warning, terrorists hope to evoke responses such as the ones in Boston, wherein a city of nominally free individuals was transformed into a prison. This atomizes the affected society and renders it more vulnerable, both to further attacks and to ideological subversion.

    The dimbulbs who perform terror attacks, often sacrificing their lives to do so, might not know that. You may rest assured that those who dispatch them know it very well.

  6. The other day I finally ordered John Robb's book on open source warfare. (he also lives in Boston so what a way for him to confirm his theories!) Then it occurred to me last night that what got the younger brother was a bit of open source law enforcement. i.e. it wasn't the cops who saw him first, it was the boat owner. There is no way centralized government can fight open source warfare effectively. It is like a giant dinosaur plagued by swarms of flying bugs. It can do nothing but maybe wallow in mud. Certainly can't swat them all (or SWAT them all).

    This open source LE was done as well as they could have done it in Massachusetts, since most people there have been disarmed. Had this happened in, say, Idaho or rural Texas, maybe the perp would have been gotten quicker. On the other hand, he might not have been taken alive for questioning.

    I do not think that a breakdown in social order is going to benefit anyone. Some of the more hothead threepers seem to think they can then count coup on their enemies and then restore the Constitution after the die-off. But, some of those threepers don't seem to want Liberty for real, they just want their own fiefdoms. I won't name names.

    I don't think that the state failing, if it does, is going to result in any kind of eutopia for Liberty - Yeah, there might be more liberty with a lowercase l - for corrupt cops, gang bangers and bomb throwing idiots. Everyone else will live in cages of their own making like in Colombia, or in cages of someone else's making.

    That's also why I think there's so much conspiracy theory/research out there right now. Not only has it become necessary for people to do open source law enforcement, it has also become necessary for people to do their own detective work to figure out what the hell is going on, because there's so much jockeying for position and outright abuse of trust going on under the surface.

  7. If you have a chance, read "The Harbinger" by Jonathan Cain. If you want the video version, get the DVD "Isaiah 9:10 Judgment." both very enlightening as to why all this is happening. All the facts presented are true and historical. You can look them up.

    1. Actually, I've seen that video. It is just full of thing I'd never seen or heard of anywhere else.

      Worth a read or view, readers.

  8. Great summary SGB. I just finally got to your blog to read it, but I will be linking to it from my blog in the near future.